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Local By-Elections Preview: December 5th 2013

December 5th, 2013


Riverside (Lab Defence) and Splott (Lab Defence) on Cardiff
Result of last election (2012): Lab 46, Lib Dem 16, Con 7, Ind 3, Plaid 2, Heath Independents 1 (Labour overall majority of 17)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes Elected

Riverside:
Labour 1,731, 1,555, 1,431 (48%)
Plaid Cymru 1,153, 944, 940 (31%)
Greens 294, 272, 189 (8%)
Conservatives 286, 276, 263 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 142, 129, 122 (4%)
Trade Unionists and Socialists 99 (1%)

Candidates duly nominated: Joel Beer (TUSC), Aled Crow (Con), Sian Donne (Lib Dem), Elizabeth Gould (Plaid), Darren Williams (Lab), Simon Zeigler (UKIP)

Splott:
Labour 1,686, 1,624, 1,432 (54%)
Liberal Democrats 1,055, 805, 775 (30%)
Plaid Cymru 250, 197, 167 (7%)
Green 157 (2%)
Conservatives 151, 137, 130 (5%)
Communist 117 (1%)
Trade Unionists and Socialists 105 (1%)

Candidates duly nominated: Elys John (Ind), Daniel Mason (Con), Jamie Matthews (Lib Dem), Brian Morris (UKIP), Edward Stubbs (Lab), Katrine Williams (TUSC)

Riverside and Splott have been Labour heartlands that suffered a Liberal Democrat wobble in the latter stages of the Labour government only to spring back in 2012. Back in 1995, Labour averaged 70% of the vote in the two wards and won all five councillors. Although losing 16% of the vote in the 1999 local elections, all of the councillors were Labour. However in 2004, the Lib Dems made a surge and averaged 29% forcing Labour to just 34% and with Plaid on 24% the Labour domination of the wards was in danger of collapsing and in 2008 that is precisely what happened. Although Labour polled 38%, Plaid won half the seats in the two wards for the first time ever. Of course, as with most urban areas after the general election, the local elections of 2012 saw normal service resume with Labour averaging 51% of the vote and winning all the seats.

South Woodham, Elmwood and Woodville on Chelmsford (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 40, Lib Dem 15, Lab 1, Ind 1 (Conservative overall majority of 23)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes Elected
Conservatives 1,170, 1,145, 1,110
South Woodham Ferrers Independents 914, 887, 807
Labour 222, 211, 197
Liberal Democrats 154

Candidates duly nominated: Derek Barnett (Lab), Linda Denston (Con), Jeni Goldfinch (Lib Dem) Ian Nicholls (UKIP), Ian Roberts (South Woodham Ferrers Independents)

In normal regards you might assume that Chelmsford (right in the heart of rural Essex) would be your typical Conservative bastion defending itself from the Lib Dems and mopping up any local Independents. However that is not the case. Back in 2003 that was true (Con 35, Lib Dem 20, Lab 2) however in 2007 when the Conservatives were gaining councils like billyoh (such as next door Uttlesford from the Lib Dems) in Chelmsford the Lib Dems made 4 gains (two from Con and two from Lab) completely against the flow of traffic. So you think that come 2011 and the rejection of the Lib Dems in the locals the Conservative would become the only force on the council. No, actually. Yes, the Lib Dems suffered nine losses, but only seven of those went to the Conservatives, one went to Labour and one went Independent and when you add in the impact of the self proclaimed “South Woodham Ferrers Independents” who although failing to win any seats came (as in this example) within a couple of hundred of winning a seat with the main opposition nowhere to be seen, the prospect of a gain (especially with UKIP standing for the first time) cannot be ruled out.

Swanscombe on Dartford (Ratepayers Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 31, Lab 9, Ratepayers 4 (Conservative overall majority of 18)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes Elected
Ratepayers 1,063, 1,011, 993
Labour 359, 342, 303
United Kingdom Independence Party 211

Candidates duly nominated: Steve Doran (Lab), Steven Jarnell (Con), Richard Lees (Ind), Vic Openshaw (Ratepayers), Stephen Wilders (UKIP)

Similarily, Dartford may only have 4 Ratepayer councillors (being one of several councils across the UK to have them) but where they get elected they are very difficult to shift but here they could have a problem because of the intervention of an Independent. Could that allow Labour to win or could UKIP slip in and say “We are the non mainstream party of choice!”

Shettleston on Glasgow (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 44, SNP 27, Greens 5, Lib Dem 1, Con 1, Glasgow First 1 (Labour overall majority of 9)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes Elected
Labour 1,989, 1,415, 852 (60%)
Scottish National Party 1,251, 921 (31%)
Conservatives 294 (4%)
Green 105 (2%)
Glasgow First 98 (1%)
Scottish Socialist Party 63 (1%)
Liberal Democrats 52 (1%)

Candidates duly nominated: Charles Baillie (Britannica), Tommy Ball (SSP), Jamie Cocozza (TUSC), Laura Doherty (SNP), Alasdair Duke (Green), John Flanagan (No to the Bedroom Tax), Raymond McCrae (Con), Victor Murphy (Scottish Christian), Martin Neill (Lab), James Spiers (Lib Dem), Arthur Thackeray (UKIP), James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance)

For more information about the Shettleston ward, please visit Scottish Elections

Riverside on Liverpool (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 72, Lib Dem 10, Liberal 3, Green 2, Ind 1 (Labour overall majority of 56)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle (2010 – 2012)
2010: Lab 3,978 (67%), Lib Dem 1,022 (17%), Con 420 (7%), Green 281 (5%), Liberal 193 (3%)
2011: Lab 2,826 (80%), Con 201 (6%), Lib Dem 198 (6%), Green 196 (6%), TUSC 88 (2%), Liberal 30 (1%)
2012: Lab 2,666 (81%), Green 191 (6%), Con 139 (4%), TUSC 109 (3%), English Democrats 103 (3%), Liberal 66 (2%)

Candidates duly nominated: Peter Cooney (Ind), Michelle Corrigan (Lab), Martin Dobson (Green), Alison Goudie (Ind), Chris Hall (Con), Adam Heatherington (UKIP), John Marston (TUSC), Steven McEllenborough (English Democrats), Kevin White (Lib Dem)

If Cardiff’s Riverside has been a Lib Dem problem, then the Riverside on Liverpool has been a Lib Dem disaster area (and in fact the whole of Liverpool as well). In 1998, Paddy Ashdown travelled to Liverpool and declared “We can win a city” as Liverpool elected it’s first Lib Dem majority council since the 1980′s and in the local elections in the millenium, the Lib Dems seemed unstoppable in the city as they racked up a majority of 39 out of 99 seats. However, having failed to win any of the city’s seats at Westminster in 2001, the Lib Dem bubble popped and by 2008, the Liberal Democrats and the opposition were tied and in 2010, Labour regained control of the council and have never looked back.

Ancoats and Clayton on Manchester (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 87, Lib Dem 9 (Labour overall majority of 78)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle (2010 – 2012)
2010: Lab 2,845 (55%), Lib Dem 1,265 (24%), Con 678 (13%), Green 404 (8%)
2011: Lab 2,202 (72%), Green 369 (12%), Con 278 (9%), Lib Dem 220 (7%)
2012: Lab 1,862 (74%), Green 215 (9%), Con 173 (7%), Lib Dem 100 (4%), TUSC 82 (3%), Pirate Party 75 (3%)

Candidates duly nominated: Caroline Bellamy (Communist), Pete Birkinshaw (Green), Gareth Black (BNP), Alex Davidson (TUSC), Ken Dobson (Liberal), Loz Kaye (Pirate Party), Ollie Manco (Lab), Calude Nsumbu (Lib Dem), Martin Power (UKIP), David Semple (Con)

And for the Lib Dems, Manchester is even worse. Reaching their high point in 2006 with 34 councillors they have truly crashed and burned with just 9 councillors now. For the Lib Dems urban northern Britain has been nothing but a disaster of almost titanic proportions.

Arbury on Nuneaton and Bedworth (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Lab 25, Con 8, Green 1 (Labour overall majority of 16)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Lab 832 (57%), Con 475 (33%), Green 145 (10%)

Candidates duly nominated: Trevor Beard (UKIP), Alwyn Deacon (BNP), Patricia Elliott (Lab), Jeffrey Morgan (Con), Aiden O’Toole (TUSC), Stephen Paxton (English Democrats), Michael Wright (Green)

Another party that has experienced the backlash of the coalition is, rather surprisingly, the British National Party and nowhere is this demonstrated than in Nuneaton and Bedworth. Their first seats come out of the blue in 2008 when making a serious attempt for the first time they not only polled 17% but won Barpool and Camp Hill (from Labour) on swings of over 25% to the BNP. However, it didn’t last long. At the 2010 local elections, the only managed to poll 8% of the vote and in 2012 polled an even less promising 3%, losing both their seats and being outpolled by the Greens who gained Wedddington from the Conservatives. So any chance of a BNP recovery in Nuneaton is not helped by a multitude of parties with the Greens wondering if they can achieve another win in the town (having proved that they are not a one hit won by knocking out the leader of the Conservative grouping on Warwickshire in the locals earlier this year).

Harry Hayfield