By Election Round Up
Over the past three months, there have been 29 by-elections in which all three main parties took part. 19 were in seats last contested in 2007, 7 in seats last contested in 2006, (mostly in London), 2 in 2005, and 1 in 2004. In all contests, the Conservatives made a net gain of 3 seats, Labour a net loss of 1 seat, the Liberal Democrats a net gain of 1 seat, and Others a net loss of 3.
Broadly speaking, the results show very little change from 2006 and 2007, despite the fact that individual contests often show very big swings between the parties.
Seats last contested in 2006 show the Conservative and Labour votes rising by 1.5%, and 0.9%, respectively, on average, and the Liberal Democrat vote falling by 2.9%, on average. Contests in seats last contested in 2007, show all three partiesâ€™ votes falling by 1%, on average, largely due to minor parties and independents entering the contests. In addition, the Green Party has fought 7 seats, averaging 9.4%, and holding 1, and the BNP has fought 9 seats, averaging 13.6%, and losing 1.
If one were to project these changes as national vote shares, then, as in 2006 and 2007, one would expect the Conservatives to be on about 40%, and Labour and the Liberal Democrats to be in the mid-Twenties, in percentage terms.
If these figures were to be repeated next May, then the Conservatives could expect modest gains from their opponents, although the most significant event in local politics, next year, will be the London Mayoralty.
These results tell us nothing about the likely outcome of that contest. If Labour are able to hold the Mayoralty, then this will be a significant boost to their morale, and a major blow to the Conservatives. If the Conservatives win, then it will lend weight to the view that the Governmentâ€™s days are numbered.
There were just two by-elections last night, which resulted in two Conservative holds, and one Labour gain.
Castle Point Borough – St Maryâ€™s: Two seats Conservative 509, Labour 480, Conservative 461, Labour 456, BNP 253 and 234. Labour gain one seat from the Conservatives, and the Conservatives hold one. There was a huge swing from Conservative to Labour, compared to May, but this is probably explained by the fact that the two Conservative councillors had resigned following allegations of housing benefit fraud. Labour had no councillors in May, in a council they ran from 1995-2003, so this will be welcome to them. The BNP result confirms that South Essex is good territory for them.
London Borough of Hackney – Springfield: Conservative 1244, Labour 590, Lib Dem 113, Green 85, Christian Party 40, Communist 37. Conservative hold, on a strong swing. The Conservative vote was up by nearly 400, compared to 2006. This is one of Londonâ€™s most heavily Jewish wards, in Stamford Hill, and like most wards with large numbers of Jewish voters, is safely Conservative. The Conservative agent was Peter Golds, who often posts here.
It only remains to wish you all a happy Christmas, and to thank Mike Smithson for hosting this site.
Sean Fear – PBC’s Poster of 2007