Local By-Election Preview : November 14th 2013

Local By-Election Preview : November 14th 2013

Seaton on Allderdale (Ind Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Lab 28, Ind 16, Con 12 (No Overall Control, Lab and Opposition tied)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Independent 1,055, 641
Labour 779, 586
Green 304
Candidates duly nominated: Mike Davidson (Con), Alistair Grey (Green), Mark Jenkinson (UKIP), Andrew Lawson (Lab), Chris Snowden (Lib Dem)

Allerdale is one of those councils where the normal rules of local elections do not seem to apply. In the 2003 local elections, Labour found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place with 28 councillors and the opposition made up of Conservatives, Independents and Liberal Democrats also having 28 councillors. Lab 28, Con 14, Ind 9, Lib Dem 5. The 2007 local elections were (as the last chance for the electorate to cast their thoughts on Tony Blair) a Labour disaster and whilst on the face of it they were a disaster in Allerdale (seven Labour losses, five Conservative gains, three Indpendent gains and one Lib Dem loss), Labour were still the largest party on the council. So when the 2011 local elections came around, Labour were expecting a good night and indeed taking back the seven seats they lost in 2007 was a good night, however because the Conservatives gained seats as well (three gains) as did the Independents (four gains) with the Liberal Democrats being wiped out, the council was back in the same position it was in 2003, completely hung. So the fact that Labour are the main challengers to the Independents in this ward (with a Labour gain resulting in a Lab GAIN from NOC) it’s pretty clear who is going to be targeting this ward with everything they can muster.

Winton East on Bournemouth (Con Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Con 45, Lab 3, Lib Dem 3, Ind 3 (Con overall majority of 36)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 709, 669, 624
Labour 537, 481, 467
Liberal Democrats 441, 394
Green 377
Liberal 268
Independents 221, 219, 180, 167
Candidates duly nominated: Laurence Fear (UKIP), Matthew Gillett (Lib Dem), Mike Goff (Lab), Sandra Hale (Green), Kathleen Mortimer (Ind), Pat Oakley (Con)

Bournemouth is a rock solid Conservative council and a rock solid Conservative council so the fact that Labour came within 80 of winning a seat in this ward at the last elections is something to note. The problem is though that since those elections, Labour has sort of, well, paused, being stuck in a range from 37% to 42% (more or less what they were in 2011). Which brings up the issue of UKIP. Will their influence allow Lab to gain or will they make an gain of their own? One thing is certain, this election in Bournemouth is not going to be like the last one.

Seaton on Cumbria (Ind Defence)
Result of last election (2013): Lab 35, Con 26, Lib Dem 16, Ind 7 (No Overall Control, Lab short by 8)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Ind 520 (33%), Lab 499 (32%), UKIP (25%), Con 74 (5%), Green 41 (3%), TUSC (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mike Davidson (Con), Robert Hardon (UKIP), Frank Hollowell (Lib Dem), Tony North (Ind), Celia Tibble (Lab)

Now, the more eagle eyed of you will be saying “Hold on a second! Mike Davidson is standing as the Conservative candidate for both Seaton wards???”, to which the answer is (in the style of Phineas and Ferb) “Yes, Yes he is!” and in local elections this is actually quite a common occurence. I have a relative who is not only the district councillor for the Fillongley ward on North Warwickshire district council (re-elected in 2011) but is also the county councillor for Arley (re-elected in 2013) however this is the first time that I know of where the same candidate has been nominated for a district and county council by-election (unless Cllr. Boothroyd of Westminster council cares to differ). As to Cumbria, well, let’s just say that it likes to keep it’s options open. Only once since the 1989 county council elections has Cumbria been controlled by a single party (that party being Labour and the election being 1997), the rest of the time it’s been in a permanent state of No Overall Control (usually with Labour as the largest party save for 2009 when the Conservatives became the largest party, short of an overall majority by 5).

Baddeley, Milton and North on Stoke on Trent (Ind Defence)
Result of last election (2011): Lab 34, Ind 8, Con 2 (Lab overall majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservative 1,305, 1,120, 895
Labour 1,247, 1,174, 960
Communist Voice 1,124
Independents 830, 800, 295
British National Party 439
United Kingdom Independence Party 410
English Democrats 253
Liberal Democrats 235, 231, 100

Candidates duly nominated: Candi Chetwynd (Lab), Adam Colcough (Green), John Davis (Ind), Gary Elsby (Ind), Tom Grocock (Lib Dem), Mick Harold (UKIP), Anthony Munday (Stoke City Independents), Liat Norris (Trade Unionist and Socialists), Sam Richardshon (Con), Michael White (BNP)

You are probably all scratching your heads thinking, “Okay, the Conservatives won the first seat, Labour won the second and third seats, with three seats being elected! So why is there a by-election being defended by the Independents?” To which I say “Welcome to the weird and wonderful word of Stoke on Trent elections!”. Stoke on Trent back in 2003 was moderately easy to understand, Labour were the largest party on the council (short by 4 of an overall majority) with 18 Independents, eight Liberal Democrats, five Conservatives, a non party Independent and a BNP. Nothing out of the ordinary there. However, by the time of the 2007 local elections, all that ordinariness had been thrown out of the window thanks to the election of a mayor and what an impact that had. Whilst Labour made three losses as a result, those 18 Independents were replaced by 18 non party independents backed by the mayor and as for the others well, six BNP gains, one Conservative gain and three Lib Dem losses made the 2007 elections one of the more interesting local elections in Stoke’s history. As for the mayor, well, let’s just say this, the electorate who wanted a mayor back in 2002 didn’t want one in 2008 and as well as booting the Mayor out of office (by scrapping the post) they booted out ten of the mayor’s backers, booted out all six BNP councillors, all five Liberal Democrat councillors and very nearly all of the Conservatives as well at the 2011 local elections. But just to show that you shouldn’t discount anything in Stoke, the reason why this ward is an Ind defence? One of the Labour councillors elected in 2011 resigned the Labour whip in 2012! Stoke, the council that just loves to keep on giving!

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