Local By-Election Preview: September 19th 2013

Local By-Election Preview: September 19th 2013

North Ward on Oxford (Lib Dem Defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Lab 29, Lib Dem 13, Green 5, Ind 1 (Lab overall majority of 10)
Last election in ward:
2010: Lib Dem 1,303 (45%), Con 715 (24%), Lab 489 (17%), Green 413 (14%)
Candidates duly nominated: Time Bearder (Lib Dem), Sushila Dhall (Green), Louise Upton (Lab), John Walsh (Con)

Oxford has been a bit of a disappointment for the Liberal Democrats over recent years, but this wasn’t always the case. In 2004, the council was hung with Labour and the Liberal Democrats seperated by just two seats. That gap was reversed in 2006 and by 2008 it was reversed again (with the gap increasing to seven). This was the start of the downward trend as in 2010 (when the Liberal Democrats managed to lose Oxford West to the Conservatives and failed to gain Oxford East from Labour) Labour gained overall control of the council leading to the current situation we have at the moment. The only party who has been slightly disappointed by their performance of late would be the Greens who had seven councillors in 2004, reaching a peak of eight in 2006 but gradually falling by the way (despite winning the Oxford local area at the 2009 European elections) to their current level of five. So whilst it’s unlikely that the Greens could win this ward, as we saw on Tuesday a massive drop in the Liberal Democrat vote can (and does) happen anywhere, so who knows what may happen?

Four Marks and Medstead on East Hampshire (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 39, Lib Dem 5 (Con overall majority of 34)
Last election in ward (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,729, 1,703
Liberal Democrats 682
Labour 228, 184
Candidates duly nominated: Ruth Duffin (UKIP), Marjorie Pooley (Green), Ingrid Thomas (Con), Janice Treacher (Lab)

East Hampshire has been trending Conservative for the last couple of elections going from a Conservative majority of 8 in 2003 (Con 26, Lib Dem 18) to a majority of 16 in 2007 (Con 30, Lib Dem 14) to the current 34 with therefore suggests that the Liberal Democrats are on a very sticky wicket, but this should not allow the Conservatives to assume that they are home and dry. East Hampshire has a potential double threat that could throw a few spanner in the works. The first is that 34 seat majority (77% of the total seats) and the second is UKIP who we have seen are more than capable to picking up protest and disapproval votes from all sides.

Coseley East on Dudley (Lab Defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Lab 41, Con 30, Green 1 (Lab overall majority of 10)
Results in last electoral cycle (2010 – 2012):
2010: Lab 2.055 (36%), Con 1,590 (28%), BNP 784 (14%), Lib Dem 640 (11%), UKIP 581 (10%)
2011: Lab 1,705 (52%), Con 954 (29%), UKIP 592 (18%)
2012: Lab 1,366 (54%), Con 468 (19%), UKIP 430 (17%), National Front 177 (7%), Green 71 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Clem Baugh (Lab), Becky Blatchford (Con), Star Etheridge (UKIP), Kenn Griffiths (BNP), Kevin Inman (National Front), Julian Ryder (Con)

Dudley has followed the trend of most areas in recent years. Back in the mid 1990’s, Dudley started on a trend of Labour which peaked in 1996 with a Labour majority of 48. However soon that majority started to whittle down with the Liberal Democrats being the main beneficiary (becoming the official opposition in 1999). However after the turn of the millennium, it was the Conservatives who were on the advance and in 2003, Labour lost overall control of the council and in 2006, the Conservatives gained overall control seeing their majority peak at 16 in 2010. And then came the Coalition and Labour started to romp again. They only made two gains in 2011 but in 2012 Labour made 13 gains (to regain overall control), so I cannot see any of the MP’s for Dudley getting too worried about any challenge from the other dominant forces in Dudley (the BNP and the National Front). Back at the 1992 general election, they only polled a miserly 1% in Dudley North. That increased to 2% in 1997 (but was dwarfed by the Referendum Party polling 3% and the Socialist Labour candidate polling 5%). It wasn’t until 2001 that they started to take off polling 5% in Dudley North and in 2005 (now joined by a candidate in Dudley South) they polled 7% across the two constituencies with a saved deposit in Dudley North. Come the 2010 general election however, that vote halved and they didn’t field a candidate in Dudley South. But with three anti establishment parties (UKIP, BNP and the National Front) will the scrabbling for votes allow Lab to dominate Dudley even more?

Seasalter on Canterbury (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 36, Lib Dem 11, Lab 3 (Con overall majority of 22)
Result at last election (2011): Enboldened denotes elected
Conservative 1,681, 1,610, 1,538
Labour 773, 707, 698
Liberal Democrats 353, 292, 275
Candidates duly nominated: Mike Bull (UKIP), Rachel Goodwin (Lab), Keith Hooker (Lib Dem), Russell Page (Green), Annette Stein (Con)

Canterbury may be home to the Church of England, the base stone of the English religion, but the council has only recently become a Conservative base stone. Back in 2003, it was hung (Con 24, Lib Dem 19, Lab 7) and although the Conservatives gained control four years later (Con 29, Lib Dem 19, Lab 2) it was only with a majority of eight with all the gains coming from Labour. But then came the coaliton, and this time instance of the Conservatives feeling the pain as in Dudley, it was the Liberal Democrats who felt the pain making eight losses with seven of them going to the Conservatives and one to Labour. So are the Conservatives home and dry in Canterbury? Not it UKIP have anything to say about it. In the Canterbury district at the local elections this year UKIP made two gains and came within a whisker in a further three seats, but could a UKIP surge help Labour to win a ward? If they can, then Ed Milliband is going to feel very chipper indeed as he arrives for his conference.

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