Thursday, 23 June 2011

By-Election Preview (23rd July – English Edition)

This week there are three by-elections and four delayed elections taking place for Councils across England. A further two vacancies will be filled in Scotland and Wales respectively and previews of those will be up in the morning. The Conservatives have the most to lose as they are defending seats in all 7 elections with the Liberal Democrats hoping to hold onto one in a multi member ward.

I'll start in Norfolk where the St Andrews ward on the Great Yarmouth Borough Council is vacant following the death of sitting Conservative Councillor Gerry Cook. He had won his seat comfortably in 2008 but last month Labour gained the seat on a 15% swing from Cook's election three years ago. The 2007 result was a lot tighter than 2008 which would suggest that Cook had a personal vote in the ward that the Tories are going to miss. Having won a seat in this ward just seven weeks ago Labour should have high hopes of gain which would reduce the Conservative's majority on the 39 seat Council to 7.

St Andrews (Great Yarmouth)

By-Election Candidate



Marlene Fairhead (Lab)



Carl Smith (Con)



In Torbay there is a by-election for the Cockington-with-Chelston ward as not only did the Conservative Gordon Oliver win the Mayoral race in the Devon Unitary Authority last month but he also won re-election to his Council seat. Oliver, who was the Tory grouping's leader going into this year's full Council elections, topped the poll in this ward with ease but has had to stand down as combining the two roles has been criticised as 'un-democratic' by opposition parties. As Oliver ran on a ticket to abolish the post of Mayor in favour of a return to a Cabinet led system on the grounds that the current situation was itself un-democratic a by-election was almost inevitable.

The Conservatives will be favourites to retain the seat but the race is perhaps closers than our table suggests. Oliver's personal vote is responsible for this and as the lead Liberal Democrat was just 100 votes short of winning a seat last month the Tories can't afford to be complacent. The Lib Dems candidate for this by-election came sixth in this ward last month. Even if the Lib Dems spring a surprise here today the Conservatives will still hold a comfortable majority on the Council and, of course, the Mayoralty.

Cockington-w-Chelston (Torbay)

By-Election Candidate


Sylvia Faryna (Con)


Mark Pountney (LD)


Leonora Critchlow (Lab)


Thomas Cooper (Grn)


Mark Dent (Ind)


Susie Colley (Ind)


The final by-, as opposed to postponed, election this week is on the Isle of Wight. The Binstead & Fishbourne ward is vacant following the death of the Conservative Councillor Ivan Bulwer. He held his seat in 2009 by just four votes from an Independent candidate Ivor Warlow. Warlow is running again in this by-election and so a Tory Hold is far from certain. Furthermore, there is a UKIP candidate running this time which could also hold back the Conservatives. Even if they fail to hold this ward today they will still hold a six seat majority on the 40 seat Council.

Binstead & Fishbourne (IoW)

By-Election Candidate


Ian Cobb (Con)


Ivor Warlow (Ind)


Tim Wakeley (LD)


Mick Lyons (Lab)


Daryll Pitcher (UKIP)


On to the countermanded elections now and voting in the Deeping St John's ward, South Kesteven DC (Lincolnshire) was delayed following the death of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Ken Joynson, who was seeking re-election. He had represented the ward since 1983 before his untimely death just a couple of days before polling. Joynson came second in the three member ward at the last full Council elections in 2007, which was only contested by four candidates. The main parties were again not fielding a full quota for the original election but the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have found three candidates a piece to contest this ballot.

Some additional trivia; the candidate with No Description, Phil Dilks (who appears to have changed his name by deed poll to 'Fair Deal Phil Dilks'; I just can't bring myself to recognise that in the table though!), stood for Labour here in 2007. In addition, he used to hold the Lincolnshire County Council seat with the same name until 2009 when he failed to enter his nomination papers.

If all goes to plan for the Conservatives today they should extend their already large majority on the Council.

Deeping St Johns (South Kesteven)

By-Election Candidate


Ray Auger (Con)


Mike Exton (Con)

Robert Thomas (Con)

Philip Hammersley (LD)


Janire Morris (LD)

Peter Morris (LD)

N/C (Lab)


Ashley Baxter (Grn)


Michael Bossingham (Grn)


Judy Stevens (Ind)


Phil Dilks (N/D)


In Staffordshire the election for the Seabridge ward on the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has been delayed following the death of the UKIP candidate Paul Gregory 5 days for the poll. The Conservatives are defending the ward which has been trending towards Labour over the past few elections. Peter Hailstones secured over half the vote in 2007 but the 2010 result represented a 7% swing to Labour since his victory.

Labour require a further 7.5% to gain the seat today, which would make a difference on what is by far the most competitive Council holding an election today. Despite the fact Labour hold the most seats a Conservative led coalition with the Liberal Democrats runs the Council. As the coalition currently holds a majority of five seats they could do with hanging on to this seat.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council












By-Election Candidate




Peter Hailstones (Con)




Colin Brooks (Lab)




Hilary Jones (LD)




George Harvey (UKIP)




The final two elections taking place this week are in wards which failed to draw any nominations for May 5th. The sole Conservative candidate nominated for the Stanton ward, Derbyshire Dales DC withdrew his candidacy and the fresh election, for what is hardly the safest Tory ward around, will be contested by all three main parties. The election for the Elmley Castle & Somerville, Wychavon DC (Worcestershire) drew no nominations. The Tories are defending this safe ward against the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives have large majorities on both Councils, so an upset will not alter the balance of power locally.

Stanton (Derbyshire Dales)

By-Election Candidate


Joanne Wild (Con)


Anthony Allwood (LD)


Juile Morrison (Lab)



Elmley C & S'ville (Wychavon)

By-Election Candidate


Roma Kirke (Con)


Jayne Lewis (LD)



Tom Harris



  1. It was actually the LDs who got 40.4% in Stanton last time round, Labour didn't stand.

  2. Pete Whitehead23 June 2011 at 22:15

    "Phil Dilks ...stood for Labour here in 2007. In addition, he used to hold the Lincolnshire County Council seat with the same name until 2009"

    Not just the same name but exactly the same boundaries