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Local By-Election Preview : April 25th 2013 (T -7 days and counting until Locals 2013)

April 25th, 2013

Norden on Rochdale (Con defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Lab 42, Con 13, Lib Dem 5 (Labour overall majority of 24)
Last Electoral Cycle (2010 – 2012)

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Name of party

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Con

1,927

36%

1,814

57%

1,624

68%

Lab

839

16%

846

27%

604

25%

Lib Dems

2,240

42%

511

16%

175

7%

BNP

319

6%

Candidates duly nominated: Bennett Anthony Joseph William (Lab), Colclough Patricia Ann (Lib Dem),Greenwood Peter (Nat Front), Winkler Peter Nicholas (Con)

To describe Rochdale as a roller coaster over recent years would be very unfair to rollercoasters. Rochdale has been another example of the swing away from Labour to the Liberal Democrats when Labour were in office and the massive swing back post the general election. Back in 2003 Rochdale was literally hung (Lab 30, Opposition 30). It was the 2004 local elections that the Liberal Democrat advance started as they ended up with the most seats on the council (Lib Dem 25, Lab 24, Con 11) and in 2007 gained overall control of Rochdale with a majority of 4, this was boosted to six the following year but then the reverse happened. The 2010 local elections saw the Lib Dems lose seven seats (in equal measure to both Con and Lab) but it was the first locals post coalition in 2011 where the damage was inflicted. Thirteen net losses with half of those losses going to Labour. This trend continued in 2012 with another eight losses (this time all going to Labour) and allowing Labour to not only gain control themselves, but dominate the council with 42 out of the 60 seats on the council.

Macclesfield, Hurdsfield on Cheshire East (Lab defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 52, Lab 15, Ind 11, Lib Dem 4 (Conservative overall majority of 22)
Last Election in ward (2011): Lab 526 (47%), Lib Dem 302 (27%), Con 300 (27%)

Candidates duly nominated: BROADHEAD Stephen (Lib Dem), CARTER Steve (Lab), KENNEDY Alastair Crawford (Con), KNIGHT John Anthony (Green), LONSDALE David (UKIP)

Cheshire East was created ahead of the 2008 local elections when it was decided that Cheshire should lose it’s county council and districts and be replaced by two unitary authorities. Cheshire West and Chester (covering the districts of Ellesmere Port, City of Chester, Crewe and Nantwich and Vale Royal) and Cheshire East (covering the districts of Macclesfield, Congleton and Vale Royal). Given how strong the Conservatives were, it was no huge surprise when the Conservatives won both councils although that fact that the Conservatives racked up a majority of 38 in a council with such key battleground seats as City of Chester and Crewe and Nantwich showed how poorly Labour were polling at the time.

Castle on Newcastle and South Heaton on Newcastle (Lib Dem defence and Lab defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Lab 51, Lib Dem 26, Ind 1 (Labour overall majority of 24)
Last Electoral Cycle (2010 – 2012)

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Name of party

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Con

718

14%

476

14%

217

8%

Lab

1,435

28%

1,367

40%

229

8%

Lib Dems

2,451

48%

1,548

46%

1,432

50%

Ind

101

2%

991

35%

BNP

342

7%

Candidates duly nominated: GORDON John It`s Time to Put Newcastle First, JOBE Rory Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, LOWER Philip George Liberal Democrats, NIXON Jennifer Joan The Conservative Party Candidate, RILEY Ben Labour Party Candidate

South Heaton Ward

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Name of party

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Con

289

8%

150

6%

81

5%

Lab

1,735

46%

1,908

72%

1,188

69%

Lib Dems

1,394

37%

311

12%

158

9%

Green

245

7%

293

11%

210

12%

BNP

104

3%

Others

74

4%

Candidates duly nominated: AULD Rachel Sarah Liberal Democrats, BENNETT Katie The Conservative Party Candidate, GILKS Timothy Andrew It`s Time to Put Newcastle First, GRAY Andrew Green Party Candidate,
JONES Denise Labour Party Candidate, PHILLIPS Paul Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, SIBLEY Reg Independent

Given the fact that I am a Liberal Democrat, you might be surprised to hear that I hold Newcastle in quite high regard. I’ll admit that for the last few years being a Newcastle Liberal Democrat has not been the easiest thing in the world (going from a Liberal Democrat majority of 18 in 2004, peaking at 20 in the 2008 local elections, to seeing Labour gain control in 2011) but the Newcastle I remember is that occupied by a certain super powered pensioner in the form of Supergran who would regularly bounce around Newcastle and the rest of Tyne and Wear (doubling for the fictional town of Chisleton) putting paid to the plans of the “Scunner” Campbell and then a few years later when the BBC invaded Newcastle and hijacked a section of the Great North Run for the Look and Read serial “Geordie Racer” (focusing on the dual interests of people in the North East of England of supporting the Great North Run (second only to the London Marathon in terms of participation) and pigeon racing. And yes, I know it is regularly voted as one of the cheesiest pop songs in the world, and I know it is only really supposed to be loved by people from Newcastle itself, but this Welshman still has a fondness for the rendition of “Fog on the Tyne” by Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne and the boys from Lindasfarne.