Local By-Election Preview: November 6th 2014

Local By-Election Preview: November 6th 2014

Mevagissey on Cornwall (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Independents 37, Liberal Democrats 36, Conservatives 31, Labour 8, UKIP 6, Mebyon Kernow 4, Green 1 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 25)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 391 (30%), UKIP 363 (28%), Conservative 316 (24%), Liberal Democrats 184 (14%), Green 62 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Christopher Maynard (Lib Dem), Katherine Moseley (Green), James Mustoe (Con), Charmain Nicholas (Lab), Michael Williams (UKIP)

This is the fourth by-election to Cornwall council since the locals last year and in those by-elections, the Liberal Democrats have come out on top. Their vote share has increased by 8%, they’ve gained two seats and as a result are now the largest grouping on the council and who has suffered from this Lib Dem increase? Well, the pain has been shared by two parties who, if you believe the national polls, are doing very well indeed. The Independents have fallen 4% since 2013, as has UKIP. Yes, that’s right, the party that won the Cornwall local area count earlier this year has lost 4% of the vote in the by-elections to Cornwall since 2013. So if Labour do lose this ward (and given the marginal status of it, that is not without the realms of possibility) UKIP are not the party who are going to gain it, so could the Conservatives gain it or could the Lib Dems in Cornwall clock up their third gain on the council in around 18 months?

Bilton on Rugby (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 23, Labour 10, Liberal Democrats 7, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 4)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,134, 1,004, 968
Labour 643
Liberal Democrats 397, 373
Trade Unionist and Socialists 299
Candidates duly nominated: Julie A’Barrow (Con), Kate Crowley (Green), Gordon Davies (UKIP), Lesley George (Lib Dem), John Herman (Ind), Pete McLaren (TUSC), John Wells (Lab)

Rugby (especially in the late 90’s) could always bee counted on as being one of the few councils in Warwickshire to be unable to get to a majority and so it should come as no surprise to hear that in 2003, the first year I have detailed data for, that’s precisely what happened. Con short by 7 of a majority. However, as Labour continued to govern, something rather odd happened in Rugby. Labour lost seats (as you would expect) but so did the local Independents as well to such a degree that by 2007 when the Conservatives gained control, not a single Independent was elected. And therefore as a result the Conservatives held the roost, however in 2012 when boundary changes meant that the council lost six seats overall, that marked the start of a change in Rugby and although the Conservatives held their majority, they lost two seats to the Liberal Democrats and the Independents and no doubt they are worried that if the Independents are starting to gain support in Rugby, next year’s elections could see the Conservatives lose control after eight years in the helm.

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