Archive for the 'By elections' Category


Local By-Election Preview: April 10th 2014

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Belle Vue on Cumbria (Labour Defence)
Result of last election to council (2013): Labour 35, Conservatives 26, Liberal Democrats 16, Independents 7 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 8)
Result of last election in ward (2013): Labour 760 (66%), Conservatives 393 (34%)
Candidates duly nominated: Christine Bowditch (Lab), Nigel Christian (Con), John Stanyer (UKIP)

Trying to get a majority on Cumbria County Council could be compared to trying to get an ice cube to remain frozen in a desert. Since 1993 there has only been one overall majority election on the council (1997) but every other election has seen a hung council. In 1989, the Conservatives had a lead of three over Labour which became a Labour lead of 12 following the 1993 disaster for the Conservatives, however unlike most councils in 1997 where there was a Conservative recovery in Cumbria Labour piled on the pressure gaining five seats (four of which came from the Conservatives) and gaining overall control. It didn’t last long as in 2001, Labour lost control (four losses) as the Conservatives started attacking the Liberal Democrats and Independents. However, that was quickly reined in by the Liberal Democrats in 2005 who gained Westmorland and Lonsdale in the general election. It was the 2009 elections that really put the brakes on majority control as Labour lost eight seats, the Conservatives gained six, the Liberal Democrats gained five, the Independents gained three and even a local Independent gained a seat (Omsgill) on a 19% swing away from Labour. Last year’s elections saw things return to some sense of normality as Labour recovered the majority of it’s 2005 and 2009 losses (with the Liberal Democrats sighing a massive sigh of relief as they remained unchanged) but with this by-election being a fight between a rock solid Labour core (which elected a Labour councillor in the disaster of 2009) and two parties on the right Labour have to lot to win or a lot to lose.

Flint, Trelawny on Flintshire (Labour Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 31, Independents 23, Liberal Democrats 7, Conservatives 7, Plaid Cymru 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 4)
Result of last election in ward (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 578, 570 (72%)
Independent 303 (19%)
Liberal Democrats 143 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Paul Cunningham (Lab), Swapna Das (Con), Nigel Williams (UKIP), John Yorke (Ind)

If Cumbria is impossible to get a majority on, then in theory Flintshire should be easy for a majority to be created and yet in recent years Labour have come off the worse. When the authority was created in 1995, Labour romped home polling 51% of the vote and getting an overall majority of 22 (Lab 47, Ind 15, Lib Dem 5, Con 2, Plaid 1, Others 1) a result that was little changed in 1999 (Labour polling 48% and a majority of 14) and repeated in 2004 (Labour polling 44% and an overall majority of 3) however in the 2008 elections, things went badly wrong for Labour. Their vote collapsed by 14% (polling just 30%) and their overall majority was wiped out with a staggering 15 net losses. This allowed the Independents to take the lead (polling 34%) and left the council in a situation of No Overall Control (Ind 26, Lab 21, Lib Dem 12, Con 9, Plaid 1). Naturally Labour recovered in 2012 but despite making 10 gains and going back to their 2004 level of support they were unable to retake majority control of the council. However with UKIP contesting this by-election (where they have gone from 5% in 1999 to 17% in 2009) as well as Mr. Yorke who has contested this ward since 2008 (polling on average 20% in 2008 and 2012), could the Conservatives overtake the Liberal Democrats on the council?

Coal Ashton on North East Derbyshire (Conservative Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Labour 34, Conservatives 17, Independents 2 (Labour overall majority of 15)
Result of last election in ward (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 730, 680
Labour 546, 543
Liberal Democrats 198
Candidates duly nominated: John Allsop (Con), David Cheetham (Lab), Charles Watson (UKIP)

North East Derbyshire is a true Labour heartland, which just goes to show how bad the poll ratings were for Labour back in 2007. In 2003, Labour had an overall majority of 19 on the council (Lab 36, Con 8, Lib Dem 5, Ind 4) which collapsed to just 5 in 2007 as Labour lost 7 seats to the Conservatives (+2), the Liberal Democrats (+2) and the Independents (+3) which as we know was the last election that Tony Blair fought as Prime Minister before he stood down a few weeks later and Gordon Brown was appointed Prime Minister in his place. Four years later and with a deeply unpopular coalition government in place, Labour reaped the benefits recovering all but two of their 2007 losses, the Conservatives gaining seven (with the Lib Dems being wiped out) and the Independents losing five, so therefore logic would suggest that with UKIP fielding a first time candidate in this ward, Labour’s majority could well reach 17.

Wantage, Charlton on Vale of the White Horse (Independent Defence, Elected as Conservative)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 31, Liberal Democrats 19, Labour 1 (Conservative overall majority of 11)
Result of last election in ward (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,235, 1,179, 1,131
Liberal Democrats 940, 754, 714
Labour 442, 428
Candidates duly nominated: Kevin Harris (Green), Julia Reynolds (Con), Jim Sibbald (Lib Dem), Nathan Sparks (Lab)

Vale of the White Horse has been a right old Lib Dem sob story of late. Back in 2003 it was controlled by the Liberal Democrats (along with Windsor and Maidenhead, Watford, Three Rivers, Waverley, Uttlesford and Milton Keynes) creating several Liberal Democrat pockets in what should be rock solid Conservative areas. Well, as you might expect the Conservatives were not going to take this challenge lying down and in 2007 robbed the Lib Dems of control in Milton Keynes, and gained control of Uttlesford, Waverley and Windsor and Maidenhead, leaving just the Vale of the White Horse in Lib Dem hands. That was until 2011 when the Conservatives pounced on their coalition partners inflicting fifteen net losses (with the Conservatives picking up 14 seats and the other one going Labour) leaving just Three Rivers and Watford in Lib Dem hands north of London. So will the Conservatives be able to continue this dominance at this by-election or will the Lib Dems recover from what has been in their own words a nightmare since 2010?

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Results: March 20th 2014

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Wroxham on Broadland (Liberal Democrat defence)
Result: Lib Dem 482 (48%), Con 341 (34%), UKIP 112 (11%), Lab 63 (6%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 141 (14%)

Gamston on Rushcliffe (Conservative defence)
Result: Con 444 (44%), Lab 218 (22%), UKIP 173 (17%), Lib Dem 170 (17%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 226 (22%)
Turnout: 26%

Cellarhead on Staffordshire, Moorlands (Staffordshire Independent defence)
Result: Con 175 (32%), Lab 132 (24%), Staffs Ind 119 (22%), UKIP 105 (19%), Lib Dem 13 (2%)
Conservative GAIN from Staffordshire Independent with a majority of 43 (8%)

Bideford East on Torridge (Independent defence)
Result: Ind (Robinson) 295 (39%), Con 150 (20%), Lab 140 (19%), Ind (Ratcliff) 106 (14%), Lib Dem 39 (5%), Ind (Smith) 17 (2%)
Independent WIN with a majority of 145 (19%)
Total Independent vote: 418 (56%)

Harry Hayfield


This week’s local By-Election: The detailed results

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Petersfield, Bell Hill on East Hampshire (Conservative Defence)
Result: Conservative 190 (42% -15%), UKIP 110 (24%), Labour 75 (17% -2%), Liberal Democrats 74 (16% -8%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 80 (18%) on a swing of 20% from Conservative to United Kingdom Independence Party

Petersfield, Butser on Hampshire (Conservative Defence)
Result: Conservative 1,156 (37% -2%), UKIP 720 (23% +1%), Liberal Democrats 685 (22% +1%), Labour 322 (10% +1%), Green 220 (7% -2%).
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 436 (14%) on a swing from Conservative to United Kingdom Independence Party of 1%

Heanor West on Amber Valley (Labour Defence)
Result: Labour 595 (53% -3%), UKIP 259 (23%), Conservative 221 (20% -6%), Liberal Democrat 41 (4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 336 (30%) on a swing of 13% from Labour to United Kingdom Independence Party

Barham Downs on Canterbury (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrat 337 (37% -4%), Conservative 285 (32% -11%), UKIP 164 (18%), Lab 78 (9%), Green 40 (4% -12%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 52 (5%) on a swing of 4% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Crewe West on Cheshire East (Labour Defence)
Result: Labour 720 (50%), UKIP 387 (27%), Independent 159 (11%), Conservative 122 (8%), Liberal Democrat 55 (4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 333 (23%)

Longview on Knowsley (Labour Defence)
Result: Labour 670 (65% -26% on 2011), Independent 327 (32%), Conservative 37 (4%)
Labour HOLD With a majority of 343 (33%) on a swing of 29% from Labour to Independent

Farley on Luton (Labour Defence)
Result: Labour 1,232 (73%), UKIP 226 (13%), Conservative 154 (9%), Liberal Democrat 46 (3%), Green 41 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 1,006 (60%)

Chertsey Meads on Runnymede (Conservative Defence)
Result: Conservative 489 (42% -8% on 2012 by-election), Labour 329 (28% +9% on 2012 by-election), UKIP 327 (28% +6% on 2012 by-election), Loony 15 (1%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 160 (14%) on a swing of 9% from Conservative to Labour on 2012 by-election

Ludlow North on Shropshire (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrat 579 (45% +11%), Conservative 382 (30% -10%), Independent 223 (17% +15%), Labour 94 (7% -2%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 197 (15%) on a swing of 11% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Aveland on South Kesteven (Conservative Defence)
Result: Conservative 359 (76% +4%), Labour 116 (24%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 243 (52%)

Harry Hayfield


Why Labour’s loss of Ramsbottom to CON should bring some cheer to the blue team

Friday, March 7th, 2014

It is well over a year since PB started its regular Thursday night coverage of local council by-election. Harry Hayfield has done a great job of keeping us all informed.

For me the significant results are those where two of the main parties are going head to head in a ward that’s part of a key marginal.

    That doesn’t happen very often and even more rare is for the opposition party at Westminster to lose a seat this close to a general election.

Ramsbottom, where my mother was born, is part of Bury North which was taken by the Tories off Labour at GE2010. It is a seat that EdM really has to win back at GE2015 if his party has any hope of forming a majority.

It is a ward that has a history of hard-fought contests between CON and LAB. In 2011 the two parties tied and LAB was given the seat after lots were drawn.

A key factor in this latest election was the very high number, 60% or so, of postal votes which is vey good indicator of local party organisation.

So a very good result for the Tories and a very bad one for Labour.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The real challenge for UKIP now is getting their insurgency on track again

Friday, February 14th, 2014

It’s tougher because LAB, at least, has worked out how to fight them

We’ve heard a lot from Nigel Farage and others Kippers in the past day or so about the difficulty of fighting what they describe as the “ruthless” Labour machine.

The very high proportion of votes cast that were done by post is one of the things that they’ve highlighted as though it was somehow unfair. It may or may not be but that is the current electoral system and the purples should have been ready in those first 72 hours after the seat become vacant to be working hard on a postal operation of their own.

It is sensitive when the sitting MPs has just passed away but there is a very tight time-table and UKIP HQ should have been ready with a plan and resources to get things moving fast.

In the days when the LDs and its predecessor parties were the “by-election kings” Chris Rennard and his team would have been travelling to the constituency within hours of the vacancy occurring. Speed kills.

The LAB Wythenshawe campaign was noteworthy for its hard anti-UKIP leaflets in the closing stages. This was not about making converts but getting its supporter base out to the polling stations.

An insurgent party needs to be moving forward all the time. The big lesson from Wythenshawe is that UKIP have stalled a touch.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 35 most influential over 50s on Twitter


LAB easily holds Wythenshawe. UKIP beat Tories to second place on a share of 17.8pc

Friday, February 14th, 2014


Wythenshawe: To maintain momentum today UKIP needs a good second place with a vote share well above 20 percent

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Being beaten by the Tories would be a severe blow

Unlike Labour, RESPECT and the Lib Dems Nigel Farage’s UKIP has not won a Westminster by-election during this parliament. It has been regularly, as the chart shows, getting second places and in three of the last five by-elections it has chalked up vote shares of more than 20%.

But getting that elusive seat at Westminster is proving a massive challenge.

    Nobody is predicting that it can win today but it does need to continue the momentum ahead of what is its big target this year – the May Euro elections. A second place with a vote share in the mid-20s would be a good perofrmance and the perception would be that it is still on the march.

Lord Ashcroft’s poll last week had it on 15% one point above the Tories but things can change rapidly in the final few days.

Meanwhile it is great to see that Sporting Index has got up its first UK political spread-betting market in a long time. This is the form of political gambling that I love the most because the more you are right the more you win and the more you are wrong the more you lose.

Without much confidence I’ve opted for a SELL bet on the turnout at 33%. For every one point above that I stand to lose my unit stake. For every point below I win. Those reports of the scale of the Labour postal vote operation have got me worried – but it’s so nice getting a spread bet on.

Let’s hope that SPIN and the other spread firms put up GE2015 commons seat markets soon.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


A 2014 by-election in Lansley’s Cambs South would be a battle to relish – and there’s a reasonable chance it could happen

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Lansley’s now joint 2nd favourite to be next EU Commissioner

One of the big decisions that the coalition government has to take in the next few months is who should be the next UK EU Commissioner to the take up office in Brussels in the autumn. Lots of names have been mentioned and last week Ladbrokes opened a betting market.

A critical political consideration is that if an MP is appointed then he/she would have to resign their seat and there would be a by-election which would take place at some stage after the May Euro elections. This close to the general election the last thing that Cameron would want to do is provide a platform for a UKIP or LAB victory.

The current betting favourite at 2/1 is the former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, who had to resign in October 2012 during the Plebgate fracas. Given what’s happened since Cameron owes him one and he has a pretty solid majority in Sutton Coldfield.

A recent ConservativeHome poll had more than 30% backing CON MEP Daniel Hannan but even if Cameron wanted him, which I doubt, it is hard to see Nick Clegg, who has also been tipped by some, agreeing.

    Over the past few days there’s been a rush in the betting for the Cambridgeshire South MP and former Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley. He opened at 16/1 and has now been backed down to 5/1. Even at this price it seems a good bet.

The outcome in 2010 in Cambridgeshire South is featured in the table above. If the LDs had not been part of the coalition for the past four years you would put it down as a likely yellow gain. Labour are nowhere to be seen and UKIP’s performance was hardly special.

While it is hard to envisage the Lib Dems gaining a seat in the current environment you cannot in a by-election rule anything out. On the face of it, though, this looks like a CON hold but what a contest it would be.

UKIP have done far better in locals elections in eastern England, and indeed, the only council that they run is in Cambridgeshire. Lansley’s seat, though, is less natural UKIP territory than elsewhere in the county.

Whatever Cambs South would be a contest to relish.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble