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Local By-Election Preview : January 9th 2014

January 9th, 2014

Haverhill East on St. Edmundsbury (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Con 38, Ind 4, Lab 3 (Conservative overall majority of 31
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 834, 664, 662 (55%)
Labour 648, 636 (33%)
Liberal Democrats 260, 188 (12%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tony Brown (UKIP), Pat Hanlon (Lab), David Roach (Con), Ken Rolph (Lib Dem)

This will be the fourth by-election to St. Edmundsbury since the 2011 local elections and if the other three are any guide, it will be the Conservatives who come off the worst. The first one was in Risbygate on the same day as the PCC elections when the Greens won their first seat on the council (helped by the Independents not fielding a candidate), this was followed on county council election day with a Con HOLD in Abbeygate (but with a 15% swing from Con to Green, it was becoming clear that the Conservatives were losing support in the district) and then in September of last year UKIP showed they could be a powerful force in the district by clocking up a 6% swing to them from Con (even with Labour contesting the ward for the first time and achieving 10% of the vote), so with Labour a mere 14 votes behind winning the third seat here in 2011 and UKIP now standing you do have to think that Labour have the chance of their first gain of 2014.

Borough Green and Long Mill on Tonbridge and Malling (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Con 48, Lib Dem 4, Lab 1 (Conservative overall majority of 43)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,522, 1,422, 1,256
Independents 901, 783, 454
Labour 321, 302, 300
Candidates duly nominated: Victoria Hayman (Lab), Stuart Murray (Con), Howard Porter (Green), Mike Taylor (Ind), David Waller (UKIP)

The Liberal Democrats in Tonbridge and Malling never really recovered from the 2007 local elections. In those elections the Conservatives (who were defending a majority of 13) saw their majority treble and the Liberal Democrats collapse from 13 to just seven councillors (with Labour being wiped out from seven) and as we know the 2011 local elections were a complete and utter disaster for the Lib Dems across the country so therefore you would think that the Conservatives would be assured of winning here, however UKIP have shown consistently that when they stand having never stood before they are more than able to influence the outcome and with the lead Indpendent just 355 votes behind the third seat in 2011, a strong UKIP performance could easily flip this into the Independent column (giving them their first seat on the council). It may be the first week of January but if these three are any guideline 2014 is going to be a very interesting year for local by-elections