St. James on Kingston upon Thames (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 28, Liberal Democrats 18, Labour 2 (Conservative majority of 8)
Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,250, 1,188, 1,082
Liberal Democrats 729, 719, 696
Labour 598, 494, 485
United Kingdom Independence Party 386, 361
British National Party 100
Trade Unionist and Socialist 34
Candidates duly nominated: Jack CHEETHAM (Con), Stephen DUNKLING (Lab), Alex NELSON (Green), Ben ROBERTS (UKIP), Annette WOOKEY (Lib Dem)
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Kingston (and all the other London boroughs) following the re-organisation of local government in the capital and as a result have become the longest lasting councils in the whole of the UK (having not been touched by the hand of various secretaries of state creating unitary authorities). Back in those first elections in 1964, the Conservatives won control of the council with a majority of 20 but it was not over the Liberals, it was over Labour as back in the mid 60’s the idea of the Liberals winning a seat on the council, let alone controlling the council, was just a mere pipe dream.
It was not until 1974 that the first Liberals were elected, but just four years later they had been defeated and when they came back in 1982 the Conservatives were still solidly in charge. However that all changed in 1986 when the Alliance came within 2% of winning the popular vote and within two of becoming the largest party as they forced the council into a state of No Overall Control for the first time in the council’s history and it stayed that way until 1994 when on a wave of anti Conservative support the Liberal Democrats polled 42% of the vote and won control of the council which lasted for a whole four years before the Conservatives topped the poll by two and forced the council back into NOC, only for the Lib Dems to win it back in 2002 and then hold it in 2006 and 2010 before finally losing control back to the Conservatives this year so will this been seen as a referendum on the first six months of Conservative control of Kingston since 1982 or will UKIP use it to prove that in Liberal Democrat / Conservative battlegrounds such as the Kingston and Surbiton constituency the ward lies in, UKIP will decide who wins.
Ollerton on Nottinghamshire (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 34, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 8, Mansfield Independents 2, Independents 2 (Labour majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,603 (58%), Conservative 594 (22%), United Kingdom Independence Party 549 (20%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ben BRADLEY (Con), Colin HART (UKIP), Michael PRINGLE (Lab), Marylyn RAYNER (Lib Dem)
Nottinghamshire has for decades symbolised the dominance of Labour, you only have to look at some of the MP’s elected from the county to get an idea of this (Geoff Hoon from Ashfield, Paddy Tipping from Sherwood, John Mann in Bassetlaw, Vernon Coaker from Gedling) so it gives you an idea of the disaster that befell Labour in 2009 when, for the first time in it’s history, Nottinghamshire county went Conservative.
The Conservatives polled in that election 39% of the vote (+6% on 2005), Labour polled a miserly 25% (-10%), with all the other parties picking up the remainder and that 8% swing from Lab to Con saw the Conservatives pick up 10 seats and Labour lose 25 seats with the Liberal Democrats doubling their number of seats matching the Independents and allowing UKIP to win a seat.
So you can imagine what a huge relief it was to Ed Milliband that Nottingham was a Labour gain in 2013, and whilst there was a swing of 12% from Con to Lab the fact that UKIP gained some 16% as well gave everyone cause for concern so the question has to be can UKIP top off what has been an amazing year by winning another local by-election from Labour in a part of the world where (if the Euros were any indication) UKIP rule the roost.
The by-elections tonight will be the last of 2014, but that does not mean I can now pack up shop until the New Year, on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I shall be reviewing the year in local by-elections and producing a Westminster forecast based on this year’s local by-elections