Dearne North on Barnsley (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 55, Conservatives 4, Independents 4 (Labour majority of 47)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,179 (58%), United Kingdom Independence Party 752 (37%), Conservatives 103 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tony Devoy (Yorkshire First), Karen Fletcher (Trade Unionist and Socialist), Annette Gollick (Labour), Jim Johnson (UKIP), Lee Ogden (Con)
Whilst it is true to say that Labour have Barnsley sewn up, it is not fair to say that no one can challenge them. Barnsley has a total of 63 councillors, therefore whilst getting 32 councillors gets you a majority, the real benchmark is 42 councillors (two thirds of the total membership) and between 1990 and 2003 that is precisely what Labour clocked up, but then from 2003 to 2010 Labour experienced a problem. And what was the problem? Well, it wasn’t the Liberal Democrats and it wasn’t the Conservatives, it was the local independents and in 2008 they managed to win 24 seats on the council and caused Labour to come within one seat of losing Barnsley to No Overall Control, but then came the coalition, then came Labour’s recovery in local government and then Barnsley became a Labour heartland again.
So if Labour were to suffer a rebellion against the perceived one party state on the council, who might benefit? Well, the obvious answer would be UKIP, as in the four constituencies that make up Barnsley UKIP polled 23% of the vote (up 18% on the 2010 general election) clocking a very impressive 24% in the Wentworth and Dearne constituency but as we have seen UKIP have their own problems, namely being unable to hold on to their vote. So what about Yorkshire First? They fielded 14 candidates in the general election polling 1.04% in those constituencies (the best performance being Hemsworth where they polled 2.4% of the vote), sadly this meant that they lost every deposit in those seats and in Barnsley only managed to poll 647 votes in Barnsley East and despite all of their bluster the Trade Unionists and Socialists have yet to win a council seat anywhere, so with no Lib Dem candidate to demonstrate the fightback against Labour, Labour seem almost certain to win this seat with an increased vote and majority.