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By-Election Preview : January 23rd 2014

January 23rd, 2014

Motherwell North on North Lanarkshire (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 41, SNP 26, Independents 2, Cumbernauld Independents 1 (Labour overall majority of 12)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,548, 941, 897 (68%)
Scottish Nationalists 689, 572 (25%)
Conservatives 217 (5%)
Liberal Democrats 109 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Bob Burgess (Con), Jordan Linden (Scottish Nationalists), Pat O’Rouke (Lab), Neil Wilson (UKIP)

For details on the background to this election, please visit Scottish Elections at http://www.scottishelections.org.uk/

West Leigh on Southend on Sea (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Conservative 25, Liberal Democrats 10, Independents 10, Labour 6 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 1)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle:
2010: Con 2,541 (47%), Lib Dem 2,060 (38%), Lab 377 (7%), BNP 185 (3%), Greens 170 (3%), Independents 123 (2%)
2011: Con 1,769 (50%), Lib Dem 1,157 (33%), Lab 400 (11%), UKIP 214 (6%)
2012: Con 1,307 (50%), Lib Dem 803 (31%), Independents 278 (11%), Lab 240 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Christopher Bailey (Lib Dem), Tino Callaghan (UKIP), Jane Norman (Lab), Georgina Phillips (Con)

Southend on Sea should be a rock solid Conservative council (especially as Southend’s parliamentary electoral history reads as a who’s who’s of famous Conservatives) however at the local level the Independents have been a right thorn in their side (in fact it was their performance in 2012 that robbed the Conservatives of overall control at the last elections), plus in European elections UKIP have also caused the Conservatives trouble (polling 10% in 1999, 22% in 2004 and at the last elections 22% as well) so given the dreadful start that the Conservatives have had this year losing all of their defences, you do have to think that the momentum is with UKIP.

Cowdenbeath Scottish Parliamentary By-Election (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to Parliament (2011): SNP 69, Labour 37, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 5, Greens 2, Independent 1 (SNP overall majority of 9)
Result of constituency at last election (2011):
Helen Eadie (Lab) 11,926 (46%), Ian Chisholm (SNP) 10,679 (42%), Belinda Clare Don (Con) 1,792 (7%), Keith Legg (Lib Dem) 997 (4%), Mick Heenan (Land) 276 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 1,247 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Denise Baykal (UKIP), Dave Dempsey (Con), Stuart Graham (Victim’s Rights), Jade Holden (Lib Dem), Natalie Mcgarry (SNP), Alex Rowley (Lab), James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance)

It will not come as any huge surprise to read that Labour won here in 2011, despite suffering a 5% swing from Lab to the SNP, when you hear that this seat is the same part of the country represented at Westminster by a certain Gordon Brown MP. When Helen Eadie was elected back in 1999, she had a majority of 8,699 (29%) over the SNP and aside from the intervention of a local hospital candidate in 2003, the direction of travel was always to the SNP but it was the collapse in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat vote in 2011 that allowed Labour to hold on in 2011 and given that in the past two by-elections to the Parliament the average swing to Labour has been 8%, any chance the SNP had of adding this constituency (the only one in Scotland Mid and Fife that they failed to win) must surely have gone.