Archive for the 'By elections' Category

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Tim Farron’s LDs the main gainers, leaderless LAB the main losers in the July Local By-Election + overnight results

Friday, July 31st, 2015

The overnight results

Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill (SNP defence) and Kincorth, Nigg and Cove (SNP defence) on City of Aberdeen

Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill
Result: Scottish National Party 1,690 (55% +19%), Labour 771 (25% -20%), Conservative 350 (11%, no candidate in 2012), Green Party 130 (4% +1%), Liberal Democrats 125 (4% unchanged)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the first count with a majority of 919 (30%) on a swing of 19.5% from Labour to SNP

Kincorth, Nigg and Cove
Result: Scottish National Party 1,939 (61% +27%), Labour 606 (19% -19%), Conservatives 313 (10% +5%), Liberal Democrats 207 (7% -1%), Green Party 114 (4%, no candidate in 2012)
Scottish National Party HOLD on the first count with a majority of 1,333 (42%) on a swing of 23% from Labour to SNP

North Hykeham Mill on North Kesteven (Lincolnshire Independent defence)
Result: Conservatives 286 (40% -19%), Independent 180 (25%, no candidate in 2015), Labour 161 (23%, no candidate in 2015), Green Party 64 (9%, no candidate in 2015), Liberal Democrat 22 (3%, no candidate in 2015)
Conservative GAIN from Lincolnshire Independent with a majority of 106 (15%), no swing calculable

College on Northumberland (Lab defence)
Result: Labour 508 (69% -22%), United Kingdom Independence Party 102 (14%, no candidate in 2013), Liberal Democrats 83 (11%, no candidate in 2013), Conservative 39 (5% -4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 406 (55%) on a notional swing of 18% from Labour to UKIP

Droitwich East on Wychavon (Con defence)
Result: Conservative 495 (52% +8%), Labour 175 (18% -3%), United Kingdom Independence Party 171 (18% -2%), Liberal Democrats 108 (11% -4%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 320 (34%) on a swing of 5.5% from Labour to Conservative

Harry Hayfield



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A busy night of local by-elections previewed by Harry Hayfield

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill (SNP defence) and Kincorth, Nigg and Cove (SNP defence) on City of Aberdeen
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 17, Scottish National Party 15, Liberal Democrats 5, Conservatives 3, Independents 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 5)

Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,421, 271 (45%)
Scottish National Party 512, 823 (36%)
Independents 87, 101, 55 (6%)
Liberal Democrats 145 (4%)
Green Party 99 (3%)
National Front 41 (1%)
Candidates duly nominated: Roy Begg (Con), Neil Copland (SNP), Peter Kennedy (Green), Charlie Pirie (Lab), Jonathan Waddell (Lib Dem)

Kincorth, Nigg and Cove
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 291, 1,250 (38%)
Scottish National Party 1,389 (34%)
Independents 471, 120 (15%)
Liberal Democrats 331 (8%)
Conservatives 219 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Donna Clark (Lab), Stephen Flynn (SNP), Ken McLeod (Lib Dem), Phillip Sellar (Con), Dan Yeats (Green)

When Aberdeen became a unitary authority in 1999, Labour in Scotland dominated. Of the thirty two local authorities in the country, Labour controlled or ran twenty of them, four were Independent, three were in the hands of the Scottish National Party, the Conservatives had a hand in running East Renfrewshire and the Liberal Democrats a hand in running Aberdeenshire. And Aberdeen was no different, Labour won 30 seats on the new council (and had an overall majority of 10). However, things went south for Labour on the day of the elections to the new Scottish Parliament. They lost control of eight authorities (the biggest upset being Falkirk) and they lost over a hundred seats overall. Aberdeen, however, they held on to and must have fancied their chances of holding again in 2003 but by then the Liberal Democrats were on the advance as they gained outright control of Inverclyde from Labour held their position in Aberdeenshire and became the largest party on East Dunbartonshire and Aberdeen. But by the time of the next elections in 2007, the rules had been shaken up and the Single Transferable Vote had been introduced and across Scotland the effect was devasting to Labour. Labour lost control of eleven of the councils they had run under First Past the Post and were only left with North Lanarkshire and Glasgow. The Liberal Democrats could now claim to run Scotland’s second and third largest cities (Edinburgh and Aberdeen), the SNP broke through in East Dunbartonshire and the Conservatives suddenly found themselves in a position of influence in South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. And although Labour managed to recover some ground in 2012 (gaining Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire), the SNP gained control of Angus and Dundee and had an influence in the running of Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Stirling, North Ayrshire and East Ayrshire) but as we have seen since the referendum in 2014, the SNP appear to be an unmovable force and when the Scottish councils come up next for election in 2017 it would not suprise me at all if the SNP become the new dominant force in Scottish local government.

North Hykeham Mill on North Kesteven (Lincolnshire Independent defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 28, Lincolnshire Independents 8, Skellingthorpe Independents 2, Hykeham Independents 2, Independent 1, North Kesteven Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 14)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,478, 1,005 (59%)
Lincolnshire Independent 1,013 (41%)
Candidates duly nominated: Elizabeth Bathory-Porter (Green), John Bishop (Hykeham Independents), Diana Catton (Lib Dem), Mike Clarke (Con), Terence Dooley (Lab)

North Kesteven is a council that seems to believe that unless you are a Conservative or an Independent then you have no reason to be on the council at all. Back in 2003 there were nine non Con and Ind councillors (five Lib Dems and four Labour). The Labour councillors were wiped out in 2007 (going to the Conservatives) and the Lib Dems were wiped out in 2015 (going to the Independents) so what the electors of North Hykeham will do (based on past history) is either split 48% Con and 48% Hykeham Independent or decide that it is better to stick with the existing arrangement and elect another Conservative councillor to join the previous one.

College on Northumberland (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 32, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 11, Independents 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 878 (91%), Conservatives 90 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Peter Curtis (UKIP), Chris Galley (Con), Andy McGregor (Lib Dem), Mark Purvis (Lab)

Northumberland has been very interesting in parliamentary terms. Although between 1992 and 2010 it returned two Labour MP’s (Blyth Valley and Wansbeck), one Conservative (Hexham) and one Liberal Democrat (Berwick) it did a great deal of swinging around. In 1992, Labour led by 9% which increased to 24% in 1997 with the Liberal Democrats taking second place. That lead dropped to 15% in 2001 and then to just 6% in 2005 and then in 2010 the Liberal Democrats “won” Northumberland by 2% so 2015 was a literal example of “crashing and burning” as not only did the Lib Dems lose Berwick but their vote share collapsed from 32% across the county to just 12% (ending 3% behind UKIP) and for the first time since 1992, the Conservatives “won” the county by 1% making Northumberland possibly one of only a few counties to have gained from one party to the other via the Liberal Democrats. So the question has to be asked in College with the previous Labour councillor clearly having a massive personal vote, could this provide another Lib Dem fightback moment, could the Conservatives spring a suprise or could UKIP get another foothold in another council with no UKIP seats?

Droitwich East on Wychavon (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 39, Liberal Democrats 5, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 33)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,587, 1,201 (44%)
Labour 775 (21%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 724 (20%)
Liberal Democrats 534 (15%)
Candidates duly nominated: Andy Morgan (UKIP), Jacqui O’Reilly (Lab), Rory Robertson (Lib Dem), Karen Tomalin (Con)

Wychavon (the council between Worcester and Redditch) has been trending more and more Conservative with every election. 31 Conservatives in 2003, 35 Conservatives in 2007, 38 Conservatives in 2011 and 39 in May and as such the opposition has been slowly wittled away from 14 in 2003 to just six now, so presumably a Conservative hold is expected but at the same time could it also be another Lib Dem fightback win, a shock Labour gain or a UKIP win? That’s the problem with rural English councils, no one can really tell (but that’s the fun of local by-elections isn’t it really?)



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Four LAB defences and one LD one in tonight’s local by-elections

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Harry Hayfield’s review

Mill Hill on Blackburn with Darwen (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 47, Conservatives 14, Liberal Democrats 3 (Labour majority of 30)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Labour 967 (66%), Conservatives 264 (18%), Liberal Democrat 220 (15%)
Candidates duly nominated: Alan Dean (Lib Dem), Michael Longbottom (UKIP), Carl Nuttall (Lab), Helen Tolley (Con)

Blackburn, home of the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was always supposed to be a rock solid Labour council, however thanks to the introduction of Darwen (part of the always marginal Rossendale and Darwen constituency) by 2007, Labour actually managed to lose control of the council and reached their nadir in 2008 when they only managed to win 27 seats out of 64. However from 2010 onwards Labour recovered their ground overtaking their 2004 score in 2011 and reaching a peak in 2014 with 48 councillors out of 64 but with a net loss in May and the Conservatives making two net gains is the tide turning against Labour again?

New Tredegar on Caerphilly (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 50, Plaid Cymru 20, Independents 3 (Labour majority of 27)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 965, 744 (83%)
Independent 362 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mark Evans (Lab), Ian Gorman (UKIP), Robert Lea (Con)

The natural assumption of most people to Caerphilly would be “Yawn, Labour hold, next council please!” but to disregard Caerphilly would be most unkind as this council has actually been very surprising since it’s creation in 1995. Admittedly those first elections were as predictable as ever. Labour 56 councillors out of 68 with a 63% vote share but then things “turned on a dime” in 1999. Not only did Plaid Cymru manage to win Islwyn in the Assembly elections but as the local elections were held on the same day, Plaid did what many thought to be impossible. They won control of their first council in the South Wales valleys polling 45% of the vote and winning 39 councillors. This shocked Labour so much that one of the first actions of the 1999 – 2003 Assembly was a rule that local elections and Assembly elections would never be held on the same day ever again. And so having regained Islwyn in 2003, Labour regained Caerphilly in 2004 and vowed never to mention 1999 again. However, the electors of Caerphilly didn’t get the memo as in 2008 Labour lost control again and although they were the largest party Plaid sprang at the chance and combining their 32 councillors with the nine Independents elected Labour were knocked out of power for the second time in fifteen years. Of course normal service was resumed in 2012 but never count out Plaid from springing a surprise in Caerphilly. Of course, that won’t happen in this by-election but with UKIP coming second at the general election (Islwyn 20% vote, Caerphilly 19% vote) could UKIP manage to break through and actually win a Welsh local by-election?

Long Ditton on Elmbridge (Lib Dem defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 33, Ratepayers 19, Liberal Democrats 7, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 6)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Liberal Democrat 916 (47%), Conservatives 888 (45%), Labour 151 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Susannah Cunningham (UKIP), Hugh Evans (Con), Laura Harmour (Green), Neil Houston (Lib Dem)

For years, the result of the local elections in Elmbridge was a foregone conclusion. The electors, who were quite content to elect a Conservative MP at Westminster decided to “cock a snook” at the establishment by electing a council with a majority of councillors who were (to quote Despard from the comic opera “Ruddigore) “pure and blameless ratepayers”. However in 2006, things started to change as the Ratepayers lost control of the council and in 2008, the Conservatives gained control and since then, apart from a slight blip in 2012, the number of Conservative councillors has been going up and the number of Ratepayers has been going down. But, could UKIP (who have a past record of winning local Independent votes) become the new Ratepayers on the council?

Croft Baker on North East Lincolnshire (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 20, Conservatives 10, United Kingdom Independence Party 9, Liberal Democrats 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Labour 2,056 (40%), Conservatives 1,370 (27%), United Kingdom Independence Party 1,202 (23%), Liberal Democrat 220 (4%), Green 202 (4%), Trade Unionist and Socialist 95 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: William Barker (Green), John Critchley (UKIP), Annie Darby (Lab), Hayden Dawkins (Con), Roy Horobin (Lib Dem), Dave Mitchell (TUSC)

North East Lincolnshire since 2003 has been the tale of the United Kingdom. In 2003, halfway between the Labour landslide of 2001 and the Labour third term of 2005, North East Lincolnshire was undecided with the Conservatives in the lead, but it was Labour that was breathing down their necks, it was the Liberal Democrats and as Labour rule continued, it was they who took the lead reaching a peak of 20 councillors out of 42 (just two short of an overall majority and cementing the claim that in the north, they were the true opposition to Labour). However, 2010 put paid to that as Labour made six gains (five of which came from the Lib Dems) and started a rout that Lib Dems of late have been all to aware of. In 2011, Labour became the largest party and in 2012 gained overall control and it would have stayed like that. However in 2014, UKIP reared up and made seven net gains (four from Lab, two from Con and one from the Lib Dems) and in May made another net gain (also from Labour) so with a surging UKIP to worry about and this ward not exactly the safest ward on the council, do Labour have to campaign like billy-oh?

Harrow Road on Westminster (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 44, Labour 16 (Conservative majority of 28)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,788, 1,493, 1,415 (58%)
Conservative 546, 406, 349 (18%)
Green Party 464 (15%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 308 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Wilford Augustus (Con), Tim Roca (Lab), Robert Stephenson (UKIP)

Improbable though it sounds, the heart of London does indeed elect Labour councillors. When Westminster was created in 1964, there were 19 of them. They came within a whisker of being wiped out in 1968 when the Conservatives made 14 net gains on the council but had managed to storm back to 23 councillors in 1971 before slipping back to where they started in 1978. The 1980’s were a strange time for Westminster Labour compared to the rest of London. Yes in 1982, they lost four seats, but then in 1986 they gained seven (at the same time that they managed to lose control of Tower Hamlets), but between 1990 and 2010 there was only one story for Westminster Labour and that story was “net losses” as they fell from 27 councillors in 1986 to just 12 in 2010 (so to make four net gains in 2014 was actually something of a triumph) but whichever way you look at it, there is very little chance that the heart of London will ever be anything but a Conservative heartland.

Harry Hayfield



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Gains from both CON and LAB plus other good local results on Tim Farron’s first night as LD leader

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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Tim Farron won the Lib Dem leadership on the strength of his election successes and was very much the choice of the activists.

With only eight MPs at Westminster Farron would dearly love there to be a parliamentary by-election. But who knows when one of those is going to come up? So in the meantime the emphasis will be going back to its roots by seeking to build up the party on a local level.

Next May’s elections are nearly ten months away but on a week by week basis the hope is that they can build up momentum by chalking up gains in local by-elections.

Overnight Farron’s party won two seats. These were Battle on Rother council from the Tories and Llay in Wrexham which the party had not contested last time. But the result that will give most pleasure to the new leader was in the Grove ward in Kingston upon Thames where the LDs had the Westminster seat until May 7th.

What’s striking about these numbers is where its 26.3% increase in vote came from. A bit came from the Tories but a lot from Labour and the Greens.

The one Westminster by-election is prospect is Zac Goldsmith’s Richmond Park – a seat where not so long ago the LDs were strong and, indeed, had the MP. The Tory majority of 23% looks impregnable but I know there is some nervousness in the Tory camp about having a battle here if Zac resigns over Heathrow or on becoming Mayor of London.

  • The other by-election change overnight was CON gain from UKIP of Gorleston St. Andrew on Norfolk County Council.

    Mike Smithson





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    Two interesting UKIP defences, one against CON the other LAB, in tonight’s local by-elections

    Thursday, July 16th, 2015

    Greystoke and Hesket on Cumbria (Con defence)
    Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 35, Conservatives 26, Liberal Democrats 16, Independents 7 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 8)
    Result of ward at last election (2013): Conservative 723 (53%), United Kingdom Independence Party 331 (24%), Liberal Democrats 312 (23%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Judith Derbyshire (Lib Dem), Thomas Wentworth (Con)

    Cumbria is impossible to get a majority on and part of the reason can be found in the Eden district (where this county ward is located). In 2003, the Independents won 29 seats (out of 38) however since then the Conservatives have started to make an offence and in 2007, they robbed the Independents of their majority, by 2011 were the largest party on the council and in May gained an overall majority taking the Independents down to just 10 members. However, things have not been going all their own way. In that same timescale, the Lib Dems have gone from just four councillors to seven councillors (which may not sound like much, but compared to some of the other councils in Cumbria for example being virtually wiped out in Carlisle from a peak of eight, Eden may have the potential to join South Lakeland as a Lib Dem jewel in Cumbria.

    Gorleston St. Andrew (UKIP defence) and Mile Cross (Lab defence) on Norfolk
    Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 40, United Kingdom Independence Party 15, Labour 14, Liberal Democrats 10, Greens 4, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)

    Gorleston St. Andrew
    Result of ward at last election (2013): United Kingdom Independence Party 874 (37%), Labour 854 (36%), Conservatives 653 (27%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Tony Harris (Lib Dem), Paul Myers (UKIP), Robert Plant (Con), Harry Webb (Green), Tony Wright (Lab)

    Mile Cross
    Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 913 (45%), Green 435 (21%), United Kingdom Independence Party 397 (19%), Conservative 217 (11%), Liberal Democrats 86 (4%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Chelsea Bales (Con), Tom Dymoke (Lib Dem), Richard Edwards (Green), Michelle Ho (UKIP), Chrissie Rumsby (Lab)

    Local elections are always good for a quirky news story. Back in the 1990’s when Nuneaton and Bedworth council had elections every year I can remember the interest generated when a Robin Hood (for the Conservatives) was nominated against a John Waine (for Labour) and the local television news produced a mashup video battle between the Duke (from one of his many films) and Errol Flynn. Well for the electors of Gorleston St. Andrew, they have got a battle royale on their hands this time in the subject of pop music. Do they go for the “Whole Lotta Love” that Led Zepplin generated, or do they offer “Congratulations” to that man with the longest chain of Christmas number ones since the Beatles (Robert Plant being a member of Led Zepplin and Harry Webb being the birth name of Cliff Richard). One thing is certain and that is UKIP will be hoping that for them in Gorleston they won’t be playing “The Crying Game” having lost another seat at a by-election.

    Prestatyn East on Denbighshire (Con defence)
    Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 18, Independents 12, Conservatives 9, Plaid Cymru 7, Liberal Democrats 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 6)
    Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
    Conservatives 524, 463 (42%)
    Labour 364, 341 (30%)
    Independents 322, 300 (26%)
    Green 50 (2%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Mike German (Ind), Anton Sampson (Con), Ken Wells (Lab), Jan Williams (Plaid Cymru)

    If you had told me, prior to the General Election, that the Conservative councillor for Prestatyn East would stand down from the council having been elected as the Conservative MP for the Vale of Clwyd I would have probably laughed my head off and said “Come off it. The last time the Vale of Clwyd voted Conservative was back when the Conservatives last won a majority on a 42% national vote share. If, as the polls are suggesting, they cannot even breach 40% in the polls, then what hope have they of winning the Vale of Clwyd”. But that is the situation we find ourselves in and for Labour it must be very concerning indeed. In 1997, Vale of Clwyd recorded a Labour share of 53% which had been reduced to just 38% this time. Vale of Clwyd at the Assembly level in the first elections had Labour on 38% and at the last elections in 2011 they were up to 51% all of which poses the question “Is Wales at the Assembly level becoming a Labour heartland whilst at the Westminster level it’s going the other way?”

    Llay on Wrexham (Lab defence)
    Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 24, Independents 18, Conservatives 5, Liberal Democrats 4, Plaid Cymru 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 3)
    Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
    Labour 825, 702 (66%)
    Independents 450, 340 (34%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Jeanette Bassford-Barton (UKIP), David Broderick (Non Party Independent), David Dodd (Ind), Pete Evans (Lab), Emlyn Phennah (Con), Rob Walsh (Lib Dem)

    And if Wales is going the other way at the Westminster level, then Wrexham had better watch it. The last time that Wrexham was a marginal was back in 1983 when John Marek won the seat (but only just) so the fact that Wrexham is a marginal again (only needing another 2.8% swing to the Conservatives for them to gain the seat) then here is the seat that will test that theory. Not only does Labour have two sets of Independents to worry about, but also multiple parties who did not contest last time (including UKIP and the Conservatives). If Labour do not win this, then do not be at all suprised if Lesley Griffiths AM announces her intention to stand down at the next Assembly elections in May.

    Grove on Kingston upon Thames (Lib Dem 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
    Liberal Democrats 1,041, 990, 888 (34%)
    Conservatives 960, 958, 906 (31%)
    Labour 699, 577, 497 (23%)
    Green 404, 384, 366 (13%)
    Candidates duly nominated: John Anderson (UKIP), Clare Keogh (Green), Jenny Lewington (Con), Laurie South (Lab), Jon Tolley (Lib Dem)

    For the Liberal Democrats, Kingston has been one disaster after another in recent years. They lose control of the council in 2014 and then lose the parliamentary constituency of Kingston and Surbiton (and the Energy Secretary to boot) on a swing of 9% so first impressions say “Con gain, majority of 10″. But as we saw last week sometimes that old Lib Dem magic comes to the fore and perhaps (given the ward’s closeness to Westminster) who is to say that Tim Farron, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, a Lib Dem HOLD here will be seized upon and he will dash down to Grove and announce “The #libdemfightback started on May 8th 2015. Last week it gained us Hampton Wick, this week it allowed us to hold Grove, the Liberal Democrats are back!”

    Battle Town on Rother (Con defence)
    Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 31, Independents 4, Liberal Democrats 2, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 24)
    Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
    Liberal Democrats 1,134, 1,481
    Conservatives 1,199
    Labour 469
    Candidates duly nominated: Kevin Dixon (Lib Dem), Timothy MacPherson (Lab), Hazel Sharman (Con), Tony Smith (UKIP)

    But if the Lib Dems are really back, then it places like Rother they need to demonstrate that in. Up until May the Liberal Democrats were the leaders of the offical opposition on the council and, in a position reflecting Westminster, now have little or no influence on the opposition benches at all. Losing by 65 in May must have been very galling for the Lib Dems, but it will not be plain sailing trying to regain that seat, not with UKIP on the prowl.

    Rush Green on Tendring (UKIP defence)
    Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 23, United Kingdom Independence Party 22, Independents 7, Labour 4, Ratepayers 3, Liberal Democrats 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 8)
    Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
    United Kingdom Independence Party 870, 751
    Conservative 540, 439
    Labour 385, 357
    Candidates duly nominated: Samantha Atkinson (Lab), Richard Everett (UKIP), William Hones (Ind), Danny Mayzes (Con)

    If you can understand the history of Tendring council, then you are a better person than me. Back in 2003, it was a hung council with 25 Conservatives, 13 Liberal Democrats, 11 Labour, 4 Independents, 4 Tendring First and a trio of Ratepayers just for good measure. By 2007, Tendring First were stealing a march on Labour and the Liberal Democrats gaining 14 seats in pretty much equal measure and although there was a slight pause in 2011 that’s when UKIP made their move and in 2015, from a completely standing stand and no doubt bouyed by the election of a certain Douglas Carswell as the first UKIP MP in 2014 won 22 seats relegating Tendring First to the electoral rubbish bin of history) but now comes the challenge for UKIP. Can they actually hold the seats they won? History suggests it’s not going to be promising.

    Harry Hayfield



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    It wasn’t just at the May 2015 general election that the polling did not cover itself with glory

    Monday, July 13th, 2015

    September 2010: Final LAB members leadership poll

    YouGov LAB members poll Sept ’10 YouGov 1st round Actual 1st round YouGov Miliband preference Actual final votes
    ABBOTT, Diane 11 7.3 0 0
    BALLS, Ed 9 10.1 0 0
    BURNHAM, Andy 10 8.6 0 0
    MILIBAND, David 38 44.1 48 54.4
    MILIBAND, Ed 31 29.9 52 45.6

    What should be noted about this poll was that it took place six days after the postal ballot packs had gone out and for many of those sampled was actually an exit poll.

    The striking figure here is the final Miliband preference after the AV preferences had been worked out. Ed Milinand 4% ahead while the actual result for this section had David 8.8% ahead.

    Ed won the leadership, of course, because of his commanding lead in the trade union section.

    October 2014: The Heywood & Middleton by-election polls:

    At this by-election we had a real foretaste of what happened on May 7th. The two phone polls had many more of those sampled saying they would vote Labour than actually did so and in the end UKIP came very close.

    London Mayoral election final polls May 2012

    The London mayoral polling in 2012 shows that polling over-statement is not just restricted to Labour. Boris/CON was over-stated in all the surveys.

    Maybe this was down to the Boris factor.

    General Election May 7th 2015

    This is not just a British problem. This year we have also seen the Israeli election polling and, of course, last weekend in Greece

    Mike Smithson





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    This week’s local by elections see holds for SNP, PC, CON and LAB but no seats changing hands

    Friday, July 10th, 2015

    Thorniewood on North Lanarkshire (SNP defence)
    Result: Scottish National Party 1,555 (47% +23%), Labour 1,410 (43% -28%), Conservative 149 (5% unchanged), SSP 81 (2%, no candidate in 2012), Green 51 (2%, no candidate in 2012), Scottish Christian Party 33 (1%, no candidate in 2012), United Kingdom Independence Party 29 (1%, no candidate in 2012)
    SNP HOLD elected on the 6th count on a swing of 25.5% from Labour to SNP

    Morfa Nefyn on Gwynedd (Plaid Defence)
    Result: Plaid Cymru 315 (72% -5%), Llais Gwynedd 123 (28% +5%)
    Plaid Cymru HOLD with a majority of 192 (44%) on a swing of 5% from Plaid to Llais

    Brentford on Hounslow (Lab defence)
    Result: Labour 1,292 (54% +8%), Conservatives 664 (28% +13%), Green 209 (9% -4%), Liberal Democrat 116 (5% -1%), United Kingdom Independence Party 113 (5% -7%)
    Labour HOLD with a majority of 628 (26%) on a swing of 2.5% from Labour to Conservative

    Old Hastings and Tressal on East Sussex (Lab Defence)
    Result: Labour 961 (57% +8%), Conservative 368 (22% +6%), United Kingdom Independence Party 174 (10% -12%), Green 149 (9% +1%), Liberal Democrat 48 (3% -1%)
    Labour HOLD with a majority of 593 (35%) on a swing of 1% from Conservative to Labour

    Central St. Leonards (Lab defence) and St. Helens (Con defence) on Hastings
    Central St. Leonards Result: Labour 481 (44% -9%), Conservative 259 (24% +11%), Indepedent 184 (17% +10%), United Kingdom Independence Party 77 (7% -9%), Green 75 (7% -1%), Liberal Democrat 17 (2% -1%)
    Labour HOLD with a majority of 222 (20%) on a swing of 10% from Labour to Conservative

    St. Helens Result: Conservative 663 (44% +4%), Labour 557 (37% +3%), Liberal Democrat 136 (9% +5%), United Kingdom Independence Party 120 (8% -14%), Green 48 (3%, no candidate in 2014)
    Conservative HOLD with a majority of 106 (7%) on a swing of 0.5% from Labour to Conservative

    Spring Hill on Hyndburn (Lab defence)
    Result: Labour 778 (55% +5%), Conservative 475 (34% unchanged), United Kingdom Independence Party 137 (10% -6%), Green 17 (1%, no candidate in 2014)
    Labour HOLD with a majority of 303 (21%) on a swing of 2.5% from Conservative to Labour

    Newton on Sandwell (Lab defence)
    Result: Labour 1,152 (59% +14%), Conservative 452 (23% +8%), United Kingdom Independence Party 310 (16% -14%), Green 36 (2%, no candidate in 2014)
    Labour HOLD with a majority of 700 (36%) on a swing of 3% from Conservative to Labour

    On August 10th 2015, there will be a local by-election in the West Oxfordshire district for one of the wards in Witney. Having found a method of hosting online video conferences, I am pondering the idea of hosting a live programme featuring the by-election, therefore would like to know if anyone lives in West Oxfordshire and would be interested in being “on the ground” at the count? If so, then please reply in the comments section below, with a means of contacting you and I will get back to you in the next few days

    Harry Hayfield



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    Harry Hayfeld’s Local By-Election Preview : July 9th 2015

    Thursday, July 9th, 2015

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    Thorniewood on North Lanarkshire (SNP defence)
    Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 41, Scottish National Party 26, Independents 2, Cumbernauld Independent Councillors Alliance 1 (Labour majority of 12)
    Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
    Labour: 1,623, 1,443 (71%)
    Scottish National Party: 1,057 (24%)
    Conservative: 225 (5%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Steven Bonnar (SNP), Hugh Gaffney (Lab), Meghan Gallacher (Con), Patrick McAleer (Green), Liam McCabe (SSP), Craig Smith (Scottish Christian Party), Matt Williams (UKIP)

    What I can say about this eh? If the SNP can rack up swings of 39% in Glasgow North East, 36% in Coatbridge, 35% in Glenrothes and 32% in Inverclyde, then a mere 24% swing needed to top the poll will be absolute child’s play for them. And with the Scottish Parliament elections next year, I think it is almost certain that the SNP will be able to recover Dunfermline, gain Cowdenbeath and hold Donside and maybe even be able to rack up a super majority (86 seats out of 129) and put us back into the position of a second independence referendum.

    Morfa Nefyn on Gwynedd (Plaid Defence)
    Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 1)
    Result of ward at last election (2012): Plaid 378 (77%), Llais Gwynedd 110 (23%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Sian Hughes (Plaid Cymru), Wini Jones Lewis (Llais Gwynedd)

    All of which must make Plaid Cymru scream “WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG?”. It’s been sixteen years since Plaid’s breakthrough in the first Assembly elections when they gained Islwyn, Rhondda, Llanelli and Conwy (from Labour wins in the 1997 general election), polled 28% in the constituency vote, 31% in the regional vote and won 17 seats overall in the Assembly. Compare that to 2011 when they only won five constituencies (all west of the Cambrian mountains), polled 19% in the constituency vote, 18% in the regional vote and had three fewer seats than the Conservatives. Readers will remember the last time there was a by-election in Gwynedd I highlighted the fact that Llais Gwynedd were established when the Plaid run council stated that several Welsh medium schools had to close and there is Plaid’s problem in a nutshell. In order to move their support from the Welsh language heartlands to the South Wales valleys, they have had to run the risk of Welsh language supporters deserting them in protest over their supposed “Anglicasation”.

    Brentford on Hounslow (Lab defence)
    Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 49, Conservatives 11 (Labour majority of 38)
    Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
    Labour: 2,326, 2,066, 1,875 (46%)
    Conservatives: 733, 715, 693 (15%)
    Green: 683 (13%)
    United Kingdom Independence Party: 610 (12%)
    Liberal Democrats: 311, 223, 223 (6%)
    Independent: 229 (5%)
    All People’s Party: 152 (3%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Patrick Barr (Con), Joe Burke (Lib Dem), Guy Lambert (Lab), George Radulski (UKIP), Diane Scott (Green)

    Which is quite similar to the problem that UKIP has in London. In the European elections in 2014, when UKIP polled the most votes and won the most seats across England, London saw UKIP poll 17% (up 6%) compared with the English total of 29% (up 11%) and in the local elections held at the same time, in places like Hounslow this became ever clearer, so even though Hounslow is a virtual one party state (the sort of council that UKIP do great damage in in the past) I am not confident that UKIP will be able to do much better here than a close second. Until UKIP solve their “London problem” UKIP will never be able to amount to anything in the capital.

    Old Hastings and Tressal on East Sussex (Lab Defence)
    Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 20, Liberal Democrats 10, Labour 7, United Kingdom Independence Party 7, Independents 5 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 5)
    Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,076 (49%), United Kingdom Independence Party 492 (22%), Conservative 342 (16%), Green Party 182 (8%), Liberal Democrat 97 (4%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Tania Charman (Lab), Robert Cooke (Con), Andrea Needham (Green), Sebastian Norton (UKIP), Stewart Rayment (Lib Dem)

    Central St. Leonards (Lab defence) and St. Helens (Con defence) on Hastings
    Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 24, Conservatives 8 (Labour majority of 16)
    Result of wards at last election
    Central St. Leonards (2014): Labour 691 (53%), United Kingdom Independence Party 206 (16%), Conservative 167 (13%), Green Party 101 (8%), Independent 96 (7%), Liberal Democrat 40 (3%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Al Dixon (Green), Terri Dowling (Lab), Daniel Gross (Ind), Kevin Hill (UKIP), John Rankin (Con), Sue Tall (Lib Dem)
    St. Helens (2014): Conservative 787 (40%), Labour 678 (34%), United Kingdom Independence Party 430 (22%), Liberal Democrat 76 (4%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Martin Clarke (Con), Leslie Crane (Lab), Ken Pankhurst (UKIP), Chris Petts (Green), Edward Spencer-Holmes (Lib Dem)

    Hastings, for many people, has been a source of great pride and sorrow. If you were a Liberal Democrat in 1997, the Labour gain of Hastings and Rye was a bitter disappointment especially as the Con to Lib Dem swing nationally in that election was just the swing the Lib Dems needed to gain the seat. The Conservative gain of the seat in 2010 was a bitter disappointment for Labour as it wiped out Labour on the South East coast and at the election just been it was a poor showing for UKIP who felt that Hastings was a realistic chance of a win, so with three elections covering the town on the same day (one of which is a marginal) it is just possible that everyone will have something to cheer about tomorrow morning

    Spring Hill on Hyndburn (Lab defence)
    Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 24, Conservatives 8, United Kingdom Independence Party 2 (Labour majority of 14)
    Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 877 (50%), Conservative 601 (34%), United Kingdom Independence Party 278 (16%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Diane Fielding (Lab), Kerry Gormley (Green), Mohammad Safdar (Con), Ken Smith (UKIP)

    Hyndburn, on the otherhand, has been a disappointment to the Conservatives ever since 1992, when they first lost the seat to Labour. In fact since 1997 when their vote share fell to 32%, they have stayed there at pretty much every election since and yet despite this Labour’s vote share has fallen from 55% in 1997 to just 42% now so where has it gone? Well, between 1997 and 2010 it was fairly evenly spread between the Lib Dems and the BNP but now has firmly swung behind UKIP so with only an 8% swing from Lab to Con to enable a Conservative gain, Labour might a little nervous about a UKIP and Green opposition candidate.

    Newton on Sandwell (Lab defence)
    Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 72 (Labour majority of 72)
    Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,350 (45%), United Kingdom Independence Party 893 (30%), Conservative 437 (15%), Liberal Democrat 284 (10%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Murray Abbot (Green), Keith Allcock (Lab), Steve Latham (UKIP), Tony Ward (Con)

    So you might assume that in Sandwell, where there is absolutely no opposition in the council chamber, Labour don’t have to worry about a thing? There are four constituencies in Sandwell, three of which are rock solid Labour seats and what happened in those seats in May? West Bromwich East: Lab +3%, Con -5%, UKIP +18%. Warley: Lab +6%, Con -6%, UKIP +9% and in West Bromwich West: Lab +3%, Con -5%, UKIP +21%. Proof, if proof were needed, that in actual and virtual one party states, UKIP are the real challengers.