Why are so many being given a free ride?
We’ll have to wait until the official lists are published tomorrow but the big trend developing overnight in the May 5th local elections is that hundreds of seats are not being contested.
There’s been one comment after another like these on last night’s threads:-
Middle Englander:” Wychavon, Worcestershire: 45 seat council
12 Conservatives returned unopposed and 3 assured compared to just 2 assured in 2007
1 Lib Dem returned unopposed, the same as in 2007 although for a different ward.
1 seat not being contested following the death of the sitting Conservative councillor a couple of weeks ago.”
ASH AND NEW ASH GREEN 2 Con assured
COWDEN AND HEVER Con unopposed
CROCKENHILL AND WELL HILL Ind unopposed
EDENBRIDGE SOUTH AND WEST 1 Con assured
FARNINGHAM, HORTON KIRBY AND SOUTH DARENTH 1 Con assured
FAWKHAM AND WEST KINGSDOWN 1 Con assured
HARTLEY AND HODSOLL STREET 2 Con assured
KEMSING 1 Con assured
PENSHURST, FORDCOMBE AND CHIDDINGSTONE Con unopposed
SEVENOAKS EASTERN 1 LD assured
SEVENOAKS KIPPINGTON 1 Con assured
SWANLEY ST. MARYâ€™S 1 Lab assured
WESTERHAM AND CROCKHAM HILL 1 Con assured
Ashingdon & Canewdon Con unopposed
Barling and Sutton Con unopposed
Foulness & Great Wakering Con unopposed
1 con assured in Clayton Le Dale
1 Con assured in Langho
1 Con assured in Wilpshire
Con unopposed in Gisburn
2 Con unopposed in Mellor
1 Con unopposed in Ribchester”
13 Tories Unopposed. Plus seats where there are guaranteed at least one councillor.
But some Labour interestâ€¦
Lib Dems trying to hold on in Cranleigh East.
Andrea: “NE Derbyshire
Brampton and Walton: 1 Con assured
Clay Cross South: 1 Lab assured
Holmewood and Heath: 1 Lab assured
Unstone: Lab unopposed
Clay Cross North: 1 Lab assured”
No doubt there many many more instances like these and several hundred candidates, mostly Tories, have been elected unopposed.
My guess is that the Lib Dems have, in many cases, pulled back from fielding candidates with the aim of putting available resources into defending the seats where they are incumbents.
On top of that I wonder whether being a councillor is simply not an attractive a proposition as it was – after all, for the foreseeable future their main role will be over-seeing cut-backs.
A by-product of unopposed elections on May 5th looks set to be reduced turnout levels in these places in the AV referendum. What’s going to be the impact of that?