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Harry Hayfield’s Local By-Election Preview

June 27th, 2013

Billericay East on Basildon (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Con 25, Lab 15, Lib Dem 2 (Conservative majority of 8)

Current Electoral Cycle Election Results

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Conservatives

4,084

61%

2,626

65%

1,502

58%

Labour

737

11%

567

14%

383

15%

Liberal Democrats

1,360

20%

528

13%

316

12%

UKIP

308

5%

346

9%

409

16%

BNP

196

3%

In the annals of electoral history, nowhere screams louder than Basildon. 1992’s Conservative HOLD of the Basildon constituency was the clearest sign that the Conservatives had won the general election and ever since it has held an almost mythical reverence in Conservative party circles. A reverence continues to this day as for the whole of the 2003 – 2012 electoral cycle that I have data for, not once has Basildon council not elected a Conservative majority. It started off small in 2003 with a majority of just 4 (Con 23, Lab 14, Lib Dem 3, Ind 2), but steadily climbed reaching a peak of 16 in 2008 (Con 29, Lab 10, Lib Dem 3) and was only reduced to its current eight at the 2012 local elections.

Farnsfield and Bilsthorpe on Newark and Sherwood (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 22, Lab 15, Ind 6, Lib Dem 3 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 2)

Result of last election (Emboldened indicates elected)

Political Party

First Candidate

Second Candidate

Third Candidate

Conservatives

1,752

1,619

1,698

Labour

1,181

1,234

1,142

Newark on the other hand has been a right battleground. 2003 saw a completely hung council (Con 23, Lab 13, Ind 6, Lib Dem 4) and it was only the collapse of the Labour vote in 2007 that allowed the Conservatives to gain overall control (Con 26, Ind 10, Lab 6, Lib Dem 4) but the fact that Labour were unable to gain control in 2011 (making nine gains overall) maybe suggests that in the heart of the former coal mining areas of England, the one nation Labour party still has some work to do

Southway on Plymouth (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2012): Lab 31, Con 26 (Labour majority of 5)

Current Electoral Cycle Election Results

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Conservatives

2,183

 36%

1,839

 47%

967

 29%

Labour

2,160

 36%

2,096

 53%

1,845

53%

Liberal Democrats

1,029

 17%

UKIP

678

 12%

785

 24%

BNP

Plymouth is a classic example of what happened to Labour in local government during the time of the last Labour government. In 2003 Labour had a majority of 15 on Plymouth, a majority that was wiped out in the 2006 local elections and saw Labour pushed onto the opposition benches in 2007 (as the Conservatives gained control and kept control until the 2012 elections, when Labour retook control)

Ketton on Rutland (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 16, Ind 8, Lib Dem 2 (Conservative majority of 6)
Two Conservatives were elected unopposed in 2011

Rutland is the smallest county in England and as such has a large number of Independents (six in 2003, five in 2007 and eight at the last elections in 2011) so despite the Conservative majority in all three elections, the Independents have always been the main opposition on the council

Cleadon and East Boldon on South Tyneside (Con Defence)

Current Electoral Cycle Election Results

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Conservatives

2,082

42%

1,590

41%

1,692

54%

Labour

1,978

40%

1,931

50%

1,443

46%

S Tyneside Progress

776

16%

238

6%

BNP

165

3%

Independents

88

2%

Primrose on South Tyneside (Lab Defence)

Current Electoral Cycle Election Results

Local Elections   2010

Local Elections   2011

Local Elections   2012

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Votes Cast

% Share

Conservatives

300

9%

164

8%

195

11%

Labour

1,723

53%

1,157

53%

1,284

75%

Liberal Democrats

422

13%

BNP

478

15%

227

13%

Greens

63

2%

Independents

285

9%

767

35%

Non Party Ind

93

4%

Last Local Election (2012): Lab 48, Ind 4, Con 1, UKIP 1 (Labour majority of 42)

South Tyneside is a Labour heartland worthy of the title. Never falling below 36 councillors, Labour’s majority on the council has been solid since 2003. However as we have seen in past recent local by-elections a massive majority is no promise of holding a rock solid seat.

Newtown on Dartford (Con Defence)
Last Local Election (2011): Con 31, Lab 9, Rates 4 (Conservative majority of 18)

Result of last election (Emboldened indicates elected)

Political Party

First Candidate

Second Candidate

Third Candidate

Conservatives

951

938

898

Labour

842

733

679

English Democrats

265

225

213

Dartford at the parliamentary level is one of the seats that Labour gained in 1997 as part of the absolute demolition job they carried out on the South East of England at that election, however despite making a impressive recovery from their disaster at the 2007 local elections nationally in 2011, this was not reflected in Dartford as the Conservatives made five gains taking three seats from Labour (against the national tide). Is Dartford one of several areas that are cocking a snook at traditional political moves or was 2011 just a one off that Labour hope to prove at this by-election

Stourport on Severn on Worcestershire (UKIP Defence)
Last Local Election (2013): Con 30, Lab 12, UKIP 4, Lib Dem 3, Green 2, Ind 2, Health Concern 2, Lib 1, Rates 1 (Conservative majority of 3)

Result of last election (Emboldened indicates elected)

Political Party

First Candidate

Second Candidate

% Vote Share

Conservatives

984

964

21%

Labour

1,141

894

22%

UKIP

1,385

1,151

27%

Health Concern

1,335

1,167

27%

Greens

195

2%

Stourport on the river Severn is part of the Wyre Forest constituency, a constituency which in 2001 came to national fame as it elected the first true Independent MP for over 50 years (closely followed in 2005 by Blaenau Gwent) and although both Independents lost their seats at the 2010 general election, Wyre Forest still has a stubborn Independent streak running through it (polling 21% at the recent local elections in the district). However, UKIP (who polled 24%) proved that they are just as capable of getting into the minds of the discontented as demonstrated in this ward gaining a seat from the Independent Health Concern grouping, but as part of the mass of UKIP candidates who Nigel Farage admitted swamped the UKIP vetting process, it should come as no surprise to hear that this by-election has been caused by something Cllr. Kitson wrote before his election that a good vetting process would have picked up on and denied him being a candidate. So will the Health Concern group be able to retake what they must think if rightfully theirs, will UKIP be able to demonstrate that the counties were not a flash in the pan or will Labour reflect their recent poll recovery and win their first seat on the county from Wyre Forest for over eight years?