Archive for the 'Harry Hayfield’s local election preview' Category


Local By-Election Preview : June 5th 2014

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Clydesdale South on South Lanarkshire (SNP defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 33, Scottish Nationalists 28, Conservatives 3, Independents 2, Liberal Democrat 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)
Result of last election in ward (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 1,625, 313 (42%)
Labour 1,149, 875 (44%)
Conservatives 487 (10%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 199 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Donna Hood (Con), Donald MacKay (UKIP), Gordon Muir (Lab), George Sneddon (SNP), Ruth Thomas (Green)

Prior to the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote in the 2007 local elections, South Lanarkshire was a one party state. In the first elections for the council in 1995 out of the 74 seats up for election just 13 were won by non Labour candidates, the SNP advance in 1999 was generally ignored as although Labour’s seat count fell to 54 from 61, there were also eight fewer seats up for election and in 2003 Labour only lost another four seats (or to put it another way in eight years of elections, Labour had only lost 11 seats where as the council had lost eight overall) so the introduction of STV was a boon to all the other parties and boy, was it!

Labour’s domination of the council came to a crashing end as they won only 30 seats compared to the SNP’s 24 and although in 2012 Labour gained an extra three seats, the SNP gained four seats and made the council a real Lab / SNP battleground so as you can imagine Labour must have a real bee in the bonnet having gained the local count area of South Lanarkshire
from the SNP in the Euros last month however I would make a note of caution. Whilst the Labour vote increased by 7% compared to 2009, the SNP vote was completely static suggesting that like in 2011, Liberal Democrats are continuing to support the SNP where they are not strong and in an election where second, third, fourth and even fifth preferences matter, this is something Labour need to be aware of.

Newark to the Westminster Parliament (Conservative defence)
Result of last election (2010): Conservatives 307, Labour 258, Liberal Democrats 57, Other Parties 28 (Hung Parliament, Conservatives short by 19)
Result of last election in constituency (2010):
Conservatives 27,590 (54%),
Labour 11,438 (22%),
Liberal Democrats 10,246 (20%),
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,954 (4%)
Conservative majority of 16,152 (32%)
Candidates duly nominated: Paul Baggaley (Ind), David Bishop (Bus-Pass Elvis Party), Nick Brick (Loony), Andy Hayes (Ind), Roger Helmer (UKIP), Robert Jenrick (Con), David Kirwan (Green), Michael Payne (Lab), Dick Rodgers (Stop Commercial Banks Owning Britain’s Money), David Watts (Lib Dem), Lee Woods (Patriotic Socialist Party)

Although the Newark constituency has been around since the beginning of modern electoral history (1950), the Newark of today and the Newark of 1950 are two completely different constituencies. For starters back in the 1950′s, it was a virtual one party state with Labour clocking up majorities of over 7,000 on a regular basis. There was a slight scare for them following the 1955 boundary changes but despite everything the Conservatives threw at the seat, Labour held on sometimes only just as in 1970 (1,220 majority) or sometimes by a landslide as in 1966 (6,489). In fact it was beginning to look as if nothing would shift Newark and then came the 1979 general election

Conservative 27,711 (46% +8% on October 1974)
Labour 25,960 (43% -5% on October 1974)
Liberal 6,773 (11% -4% on October 1974)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 1,751 (3%) on a swing of 7% from Labour to Conservative

And when the 1983 boundary changes came in, coupled with a split opposition the Conservatives were home and dry clocking up majorities of over 8,000 at the next three elections, but just as Election 1979 had signalled a sea change for the Conservatives, Election 1997 was Labour’s time to shine

Labour 23,496 (45%),
Conservative 20,480 (39%),
Liberal Democrats 5,960 (11%),
Referendum Party 2,035 (4%)
Labour WIN with a majority of 3,016 (6%)

As part of the Labour landslide, the newly elected MP Fiona Jones took her seat in the Commons as part of the so called “Blair’s Babes”, however things suddenly turned very sour indeed with allegations of expense fraud and in 2000, Fiona Jones was kicked out of the Commons (only to be reinstated on appeal). However the damage was done and in 2001, despite standing again for the seat that she had won, Patrick Mercer claimed sweet revenge for the Conservatives and gained the seat on a 7% swing to the Conservatives (one of only seven across the whole country where the sitting MP was contesting the seat) and since then he was able to turn it into a Conservative stronghold. However as we have seen across the country, UKIP are on the advance but here’s the reason why I think UKIP are about to come a major cropper. Yes, the constituency of Newark is run by Newark and Sherwood council, but it is not made of Newark and Sherwood (as shown in this map).

Newark Parliamentary Constituency

The northern part of the constituency lies in Bassetlaw (a rock solid Labour area that UKIP only narrowly won in the Euros), the middle bit (with the green border) is Newark and Sherwood (UKIP win) and at the bottom is Rushcliffe (home of that most famous former Chancellor Ken Clarke). Is Newark about to burst the UKIP bubble and provide the first Conservative by-election victory whilst in government for a quarter of a century? I think it’s almost certain.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview: Local Election Polling Day (May 22nd 2014)

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

As there are 74 local by-elections being held today it would be impossible to profile them all, so I have chosen the ones that could be rather juicy given the prospect of the expected UKIP flood.

Willingham on Cambridgeshire (Con defence)
Result of last election to council (2013): Conservatives 32, Liberal Democrats 14, United Kingdom Independence Party 12, Labour 7, Independents 4 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of last election in ward (2013): Conservative 882 (40%), United Kingdom Independence Party 636 (29%), Labour 387 (17%), Green 175 (8%), Liberal Democrat 148 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Susan Gymer (Lib Dem), John Hale (UKIP), Peter Hudson (Con), Ben Monks (Lab), Helen Stocks (Green)

Cambridgeshire has changed beyond all recognition over the last twenty years. The Cambridgeshire that was elected in 1993 (Con 33, Lab 21, Lib Dem 21, Ind 1, Rates 1) had Labour strength in Peterborough and Cambridge to balance the vast Conservative support in the rest of the county, however by 2001 Peterborough had become a unitary authority and Cambridge was trending towards the Lib Dems so it should come as no suprise that Labour from 19 seats on a 77 seat council to just 9 on a 59 seat council and things just got progressively worse for them.

In 2005, Labour won just 4 seats on the council and in 2009, they came within a whisker of being wiped out winning just 2 seats (with a combined majority of just 300 votes). So you can imagine what a huge relief it must have been for Labour to see the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats being hit for twelve in the local district elections in 2011 and 2012, however Labour’s joy was about to be short lived as in the local elections last year UKIP had a barnstormer of an election, coming from nowhere (having just polled 3% of the vote in 2009 and not winning a single seat) to polling 21% of the vote and winning 12 seats leaving Labour room to make only five gains. And since those elections, as we have seen, UKIP are on more of a tear now than then, so could Labour find themselves the bridesmaids again as UKIP surge forward?

Hartshill on Warwickshire (Lab defence)
Result of last election to council (2013): Conservatives 26, Labour 22, Liberal Democrats 9, Greens 2, Independents 2, Ratepayers 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 6)
Result of last election in ward (2013): Labour 704 (35%), United Kingdom Independence Party 676 (34%), Conservatives 579 (29%), Green 58 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Chris Clark (Lab), Carol Fox (Ind), Bella Wayte (UKIP), David Wright (Green)

Hartshill (on the border between North Warwickshire and Nuneaton) always used to be a Labour heartland. In 2001, Labour romped home polling 54% of the vote, compared to the Conservatives 28% of the vote. However in 2005, something odd happened in Hartshill. The Labour vote collapsed to just 43% with the Conservative vote increasing to 38% turning a rock solid Labour heartland into a marginal.

The reason? Well, across the district of North Warwickshire there was a 5% swing to the Conservatives (a swing double that of the general election) and as the couty elections of 2009 neared and Labour’s poll rating plunged the writing was on the wall as in those elections the Conservatives gained the ward on a 11% swing from Lab to Con and the Labour candidate came within 9% of being beaten into third by the Lib Dems but as we have seen already by 2013 all of that had changed and so a Labour GAIN was more than expected.

What was not expected is that UKIP (again from a complete standing start, having never contested Warwickshire before then) ran Labour so close as to force a recount. In the end Lab did gain the ward but only by 28 votes (with the Conservatives only 5% behind that). So when it was announced that the newly elected Labour councillor was standing down (after less than a year in the post) plus when the nominations closed the former Conservative district councillor for Arley and Whitacre was standing as an Independent candidate with the defeated UKIP candidate having a second bit at the cherry, if UKIP do not gain this ward then UKIP’s campaign department needs to have a lot of navel gazing.

Brockworth on Tewkesbury (Lib Dem Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservative 24, Liberal Democrats 11, Independent 3 (Conservative majority of 10)
Result of last election in ward (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 1,151, 1,142, 1,028
Conservatives 763, 725, 600
Candidates duly nominated: Edward Buxton (Lab), Phillip Quarry (Lib Dem), Robert Rendell (Green), Harry Turbyfield (Con)

Tewkesbury (in the heart of the north Gloucestershire countryside) is your typical Conservative / Independent battleground. In 2003, the Conservatives were denied overall control because of the Independents (Con 18, Lib Dem 9, Ind 8, Lab 3) and so started a process of reducing the Independent bloc (as they had done in other parts of the country), and it worked as in the 2007 local elections only two Independents were elected. Sadly for the Conservatives, however, most of those seats were Lib Dem gains (Con +1, Lib Dem +8, Ind -6, Lab -3).

So the Conservatives had to wait until the next set of elections in 2011 and this time (although there was one Independent gain) most of the Conservative gains came direct from their coalition partners and so the Conservatives were able to gain an overall majority. And despite elsewhere in the country, the Conservatives must feel rather chipper about Brockworth because there’s no UKIP candidate and as we know there has been a massive Lib Dem to Lab swing since the last election so here, maybe, there is the chance for some Conservative smiles on election night.

Oban South and the Isles on Argyll and Bute (SNP defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Independents 15, Scottish National Party 13, Liberal Democrats 4, Conservatives 4 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 4)
Result of last election in ward (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 830, 767, 349 (58%)
Independents 281, 269, 257, 237 (31%)
Conservatives 191 (6%)
Liberal Democrats 184 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: John MacGregor (Ind), Neil MacIntyre (Lab), Ian MacLean (SNP), David Pollard (Lib Dem), Andrew Vennard (Con)

Ah, the isles off the west coast of Scotland. For years they have both enthralled people with their beauty and at the same time made people curse when it pours down with rain. And thanks to the SNP winning the Argyll and Bute constituency in the Scottish Parliament at the 2007 elections (on a 9% swing from Lib Dem to SNP) it is now one of their strongest areas (with a 51% vote share in the 2011 elections).

However, since those elections, the SNP have had a few banana skins in local government. Last year they lost six seats in local government by-elections (four to Labour and two to the Independents) and although most experts believe they will win a third MEP in the Euros, it will be because Labour is losing support to UKIP rather than the SNP gaining support, so will Oban South be part of an SNP vanguard ahead of the independence referendum or will the Independents (who used to rule the roost pre STV) come back with a bang?

Arrow Valley East on Worcestershire (UKIP defence)
Result of last election to council (2013): Conservatives 30, Labour 12, United Kingdom Independence Party 4, Liberal Democrats 3, Greens 2, Independents 2, National Health Action Party 2, Liberals 1, Ratepayers 1 (Conservative majority of 3)
Result of last election in ward (2013): Emboldened denotes elected
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,792, 1,511 (35%)
Labour 1,543, 1,426 (32%)
Conservative 1,176, 989 (23%)
Independents 213 (2%)
Liberal Democrats 198, 171 (4%)
Greens 188, 128 (3%)
British National Party 164 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Isabel Armstrong (Ind), Emma Bradley (Green), Peter Bridle (UKIP), Juliet Brunner (Con), Phil Mould (Lab), Simon Oliver (Lib Dem)

Worcestershire has not been a happy place for UKIP since winning their first seats on the county council last year. In fact of the four seats they won last year, this will be their third by-election defence in that timescale and if past history is a guide, they probably won’t like the future. The first hiccup came in Stourport on Seven when just days after the county elections, the elected UKIP councillor resigned from the council after posting some rather dubious comments online.

Net result? National Health Action Party GAIN from UKIP. Then a few months later came St. Mary’s, again another gain (this time by the Conservatives) so UKIP will be hoping that the surge in support since the counties will perhaps spare their blushes. Myself, I think that given the closeness between Labour and UKIP (and the fact that Labour is still on a bit of a tear itself since last year) this could well be the closest result of them all (and is possible that we may even have one or two recounts).

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview: May 8th 2014

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Roman Bank on Fenland (Conservative defence)

Result of last election for council (2011): Conservatives 34, Independents 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (Conservative majority of 28)

Result of last election for ward (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 1,256, 1,092, 1,007
Labour 590
Liberal Democrats 361

Candidates duly nominated: Samantha Clark (Con), Stephen Court (Lib Dem), Barry Diggle (Lab), Alan Lay (UKIP), Erbie Murat (Ind)

Fenland (located between Huntingdonshire and King’s Lynn) is about a bedrock of Conservative support as you can possibly get. In 2003 they won 36 seats out of 40 (3 Labour and an Independent providing the opposition), in 2007 just the Independent was left and although they lost five seats (Independent gain three, Lib Dem gain 2) they still have a comfortable majority and therefore you would assume that the Conservatives would be extremely confident about holding this ward.

However, the voters of Fenland have been known to kick back from time to time and these usually happen at European Elections. In 2004, the Conservatives “won” Fenland with a majority of 14% (Con 36%, UKIP 23%, Lab 14%) and whilst they still “won” Fenland in 2009, there was a 2% swing from Con to UKIP therefore with a swing from Con to UKIP of about 8% since those elections (putting Fenland well within the reach of UKIP) and having a UKIP candidate standing at this by-election (with the party’s proven track record of scoring well into the 20′s or even 30′s percent mark), this ward has the potential to spring a surprise.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview: February 27th 2014

Thursday, February 27th, 2014


Scotter on West Lindsey (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 21, Lib Dem 11, Ind 3, Lab 2 (Conservative overall majority of 5)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,164, 934
Independent 623
Liberal Democrats 332

Result of by-election held on December 19th 2013: Non Party Independent 529 (51%), Conservative 219 (21%), Liberal Democrats 148 (14%), United Kingdom Independence Party 138 (13%) (Non Party Independent GAIN from Conservative)

Candidates duly nominated: Pat Mewis (Conservative), Keith Panter (Liberal Democrats)

Harry Hayfield


By-Election Preview : January 23rd 2014

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Motherwell North on North Lanarkshire (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 41, SNP 26, Independents 2, Cumbernauld Independents 1 (Labour overall majority of 12)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,548, 941, 897 (68%)
Scottish Nationalists 689, 572 (25%)
Conservatives 217 (5%)
Liberal Democrats 109 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Bob Burgess (Con), Jordan Linden (Scottish Nationalists), Pat O’Rouke (Lab), Neil Wilson (UKIP)

For details on the background to this election, please visit Scottish Elections at

West Leigh on Southend on Sea (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Conservative 25, Liberal Democrats 10, Independents 10, Labour 6 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 1)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle:
2010: Con 2,541 (47%), Lib Dem 2,060 (38%), Lab 377 (7%), BNP 185 (3%), Greens 170 (3%), Independents 123 (2%)
2011: Con 1,769 (50%), Lib Dem 1,157 (33%), Lab 400 (11%), UKIP 214 (6%)
2012: Con 1,307 (50%), Lib Dem 803 (31%), Independents 278 (11%), Lab 240 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Christopher Bailey (Lib Dem), Tino Callaghan (UKIP), Jane Norman (Lab), Georgina Phillips (Con)

Southend on Sea should be a rock solid Conservative council (especially as Southend’s parliamentary electoral history reads as a who’s who’s of famous Conservatives) however at the local level the Independents have been a right thorn in their side (in fact it was their performance in 2012 that robbed the Conservatives of overall control at the last elections), plus in European elections UKIP have also caused the Conservatives trouble (polling 10% in 1999, 22% in 2004 and at the last elections 22% as well) so given the dreadful start that the Conservatives have had this year losing all of their defences, you do have to think that the momentum is with UKIP.

Cowdenbeath Scottish Parliamentary By-Election (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to Parliament (2011): SNP 69, Labour 37, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 5, Greens 2, Independent 1 (SNP overall majority of 9)
Result of constituency at last election (2011):
Helen Eadie (Lab) 11,926 (46%), Ian Chisholm (SNP) 10,679 (42%), Belinda Clare Don (Con) 1,792 (7%), Keith Legg (Lib Dem) 997 (4%), Mick Heenan (Land) 276 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 1,247 (5%)
Candidates duly nominated: Denise Baykal (UKIP), Dave Dempsey (Con), Stuart Graham (Victim’s Rights), Jade Holden (Lib Dem), Natalie Mcgarry (SNP), Alex Rowley (Lab), James Trolland (Scottish Democratic Alliance)

It will not come as any huge surprise to read that Labour won here in 2011, despite suffering a 5% swing from Lab to the SNP, when you hear that this seat is the same part of the country represented at Westminster by a certain Gordon Brown MP. When Helen Eadie was elected back in 1999, she had a majority of 8,699 (29%) over the SNP and aside from the intervention of a local hospital candidate in 2003, the direction of travel was always to the SNP but it was the collapse in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat vote in 2011 that allowed Labour to hold on in 2011 and given that in the past two by-elections to the Parliament the average swing to Labour has been 8%, any chance the SNP had of adding this constituency (the only one in Scotland Mid and Fife that they failed to win) must surely have gone.


Local By-Election Preview: November 28th 2013

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


Winkfield and Cranbourne on Bracknell Forest (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 40, Lab 2 (Conservative overall majority of 38)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 1,308, 1,250
Green 269
Labour 255, 252

Candidates duly nominated: Paul Birchall (Lib Dem), Janet Keene (Lab), Ken La Garde (UKIP), Susie Phillips (Con)

When people think of “one party states” in local elections, they often think of the Labour heartlands such as Knowsley (Lab 63, Opposition 0), Sandwell (Lab 68, Opposition 4) and Rotherham (Lab 58, Opposition 5). However the Conservatives are just as capable of producing one party states and Bracknell Forest is a classic example of a Conservative one party state.

In 2003, there were seven opposition councillors against the Conservative grouping of 35 but over the years that opposition has been slowly wittled away. In 2007, the sole Liberal Democrat and three Labour councillors lost their seats and in 2011, Labour lost another seat meaning that technically speaking although there are two councillors elected under the Labour party banner, there is not a Labour grouping on the council.

Therefore, this is the sort of area where UKIP might expect a breakthrough but will they be able to muster enough anti Conservative feeling and attract non voters, well, we’ll find out soon enough.

Caddington on Central Bedfordshire (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 48, Lib Dem 5, Ind 4, Lab 1 (Con overall majority of 38)

Result at last election (2011): (Emboldened denotes elected)

Conservative 2,215, 2,134
Labour 711, 424
Liberal Democrats 404, 213

Candidates duly nominated: Kevin Collins (Con), Ian Lowery (Lab), Christine Smith (Ind), Steven Wildman (UKIP), Alan Winter (Lib Dem)

A lot has changed since Mike was a councillor in this neck of the woods. For starters, the district councils of Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire have been replaced by a unitary authority called Central Bedfordshire (and as you might expect, it’s another Conservative heartland). But as in Bracknell Forest, there is an anti Conservative opposition force, however unlike in Bracknell Forest it is split between UKIP and an Independent.

With thoughts rapidly turning to the next general election and the small matter of the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire, will UKIP realise that perhaps an electoral alliance with Independents would give them the best chance of winning at that election?

Landward, Caithness on Highland (SNP Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Ind 35, SNP 22, Lib Dem 15, Lab 8 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 6)

Result at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected

Non Party Independent 1,015, 638, 244, 42 (55%)
Independent 651 (18%)
Scottish National Party 550 (15%)
Labour 302 (9%)
Conservative 109 (3%)

Candidates duly nominated: Ed Boyter (SNP), Kerensa Carr (Con), Tina Irving (Ind), Matthew Reiss (Ind), Winifred Sutherland (Ind)

For details about this ward, please visit

Vassall on Lambeth (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2010): Lab 44, Lib Dem 15, Con 4 (Labour overall majority of 25)

Result at last election (2010): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,533, 2,308, 2,146
Liberal Democrats 2,193, 1,793, 1,617
Conservatives 706, 593, 525
Greens 542, 477, 476

Candidates duly nominated: Kelly Ben-Maimon (Con), Paul Gadsby (Lab), Elizabeth Jones (UKIP), Danny Lambert (Socialist), Rachel Laurence (Green), Steven Nally (TUSC), Colette Thomas (Lib Dem)

“Anytime you’re Lambeth way, Any evening, Any day, You’ll finding them all voting for Lambeth Lab, OI!” Yes, I know that I have probably committed the act of sacrilege on a song known around the world from the musical “Me and My Girl” but with the exception of the 1994 and 2002 local elections that is precisely what Lambeth has done.

This council is so Labour that when ahead of the 1986 local elections the Labour grouping on the council refused to set a rate and where therefore all sacked they still stood on the ballot and were re-elected with thumping majorities. That’s not to say that the Liberal Democrats (the main challengers) have not been able to stick one to Labour (twenty gains in 1994 and eleven gains in 2002) but with next year’s elections likely to be another drubbing for the Liberal Democrats in London (with even heartlands such as Kingston upon Thames and Sutton under threat) it’s safe to assume that Labour’s domination of Lambeth will continue for sometime yet.

Billinge and Seneley Green on St. Helens (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Lab 40, Lib Dem 5, Con 3 (Labour overall majority of 32)

Result of ward in last electoral cycle:

2010: Lab 2,954 (50%), Con 1,795 (30%), Lib Dem 1,216 (20%)
2011: Lab 1,896 (53%), Con 964 (27%), Ind 556 (16%), Lib Dem 170 (5%)
2012: Lab 1,802 (63%), Con 536 (19%), Ind 371 (13%), Green 140 (5%)

Candidates duly nominated: Laurence Allen (UKIP), Alan Brindle (BNP), John Cunliffe (Con), Noreen Knowles (Lib Dem), Dennis McDonnell (Lab), Sue Rahman (Green)

St. Helens just screams Labour that you might think it was rather on the boring side. Yes, I agree that from 1990 to 2005 Labour racked up so much of a majority that you might as well as crossed it off the list of Labour holds before nominations had even closed however in 2006 something rather odd happened. Labour lost eleven seats and lost overall control.

In 2007, another set of Labour losses and people were given serious credence to the idea that maybe, unbelievable as it may have sounded, the Liberal Democrats (already controlling Sheffield, Rochdale and Stockport at the time) could add St. Helens to their list. Sadly for the Lib Dems it was not to be and since then Labour have been re-establishing their rock solid control of the council.

Horbury and South Ossett on Wakefield (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Lab 52, Con 11 (Labour overall majority of 41)

Result of ward in last electoral cycle:

2010: Con 3,034 (38%), Lab 2,932 (36%), Lib Dem 1,517 (19%), BNP 558 (7%)
2011: Lab 2,433 (47%), Con 2,048 (39%), Lib Dem 473 (9%)
2012: Lab 1,660 (41%), Con 934 (23%), Ind 732 (18%), UKIP 429 (10%), Lib Dem 340 (8%)

Candidates duly nominated: Rory Bickerton (Lab), Mark Goodair (Lib Dem), Angela Holwell (Con), Graham Jesty (UKIP)

Whilst St. Helens was flirting with the concept of changing hands, Wakefield was having none of it. The only time that Wakefield even considered the idea of changing hands was in 2008 when Labour held onto the council by just a single seat (Lab 32, Con 23, Ind 6, Lib Dem 2) but then came the general election and normal Labour service was resumed.

But with all of the councils voting today in England being rock solid councils and unlikely to change hands, will these elections give UKIP and other non aligned Independents a chance to say “The council cannot change hands, vote with your hearts and not your head”


Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : November 21st 2013

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Pontrilas on Herefordshire (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 30, Ind 23, Lib Dem 3, Lab 1, Green 1 (Conservative overall majority of 2)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Con 728 (46%), Ind 515 (33%), IOC 337 (21%)

Candidates duly nominated: Elaine Godding (Ind), Jon Norris (It’s Our County), Elissa Swinglehurst (Con)

For a profile of this county’s past elections, please see my posting for November 7th 2013

Golcar on Kirklees (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Lab 32, Con 18, Lib Dem 10, Green 5, Ind 4 (No Overall Control, Lab short by 3)

Result of ward in last electoral cycle

2010: Lib Dem 3,166 (37%), Lab 2,111 (24%), Con 1,917 (22%), BNP 783 (9%), Green 381 (4%), Ind 289 (3%)
2011: Lab 1,769 (40%), Lib Dem 1,567 (36%), Green 384 (9%), Ind 340 (8%), BNP 292 (7%), TUSC 59 (1%)
2012: Lab 1,729 (40%), Lib Dem 1,584 (36%), Con 548 (13%), Green 490 (11%)
Candidates duly nominated: Gregory Broome (UKIP), Daniel Greenwood (Green), Christine Iredale (Lib Dem), Stephan Jungnitz (Lab), Clinton Simpson (Con)

Kirklees, like most councils in the north of England, fell out of love with Labour. However, it started to fall out of love with Labour just after the 1992 general election. Indeed by 1994, when John Smith was being hailed as the next Prime Minister, Labour actually lost control of Kirklees. They regained control in 1995, but just four years later lost it again and in the millennium suffered the humiliation of losing largest party status to the Liberal Democrats.

They regained it in 2003, and in 2006 found themselves at the heart of a three party battle (Lab 21, Con 20, Lib Dem 20) which carried on until the general election. Then Labour started to make ground but despite all that are still short of an overall majority and whilst the Lib Dems are now just a fraction of their former selves (10 councillors compared to 29 at their peak in the millennium), in this ward they must fancy their chances in pulling off a surprise.

Hillmorton on Rugby (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Con 25, Lab 10, Lib Dem 6, Ind 1 (Conservative overall majority of 8)

Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 804, 706, 662
Labour 534, 451, 427
Liberal Democrats 334, 255, 207
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 119

Candidates duly nominated: Barbara Brown (Lab), Jim Buckley (Con), Peter Burrows (Green), Tim Douglas (Lib Dem), Roy Harvey (UKIP)

Rugby council has been a tale of how the Conservatives have managed to convince rural independent voters that it is better to have a Conservative than an Independent councillor. This has been seen in other places in the UK (such as West Oxfordshire, for years an Independent bastion now Conservative controlled) and Rugby has followed a very similar pattern.

Back in 2003, the council was hung (Con 18, Lab 16, Lib Dem 10, Ind 4), but as the elections rolled on slowly but surely the number of Conservative councillors went up as the number of Independents went down and in 2007 the Conservatives gained overall control as the Independents were wiped out.

The only difference between 2007 and now is six fewer councillors thanks to boundary changes but this does not mean that the independents (and in some cases UKIP) should be ignored. Dunchurch county ward (in the Rugby council area) ditched the sitting Conservative councillor in the recent local elections by 500 votes (18%) with the Conservative vote (that had been static between 2005 and 2009) falling 10% (helped by the Liberal Democrats not fielding a candidate and the Greens falling 7%). Are the Independents or even UKIP on the march in Rugby over HS2?

Eastfield on Scarborough (Lib Dem Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 25, Ind 14, Lab 6, Lib Dem 3, Green 2 (No Overall Control, Conservatives and Opposition tied)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

Liberal Democrats 468, 358, 356
Labour 272, 260, 240
Independents 107, 97
Conservatives 91, 81

Candidates duly nominated: William Baines (Con), Jonathan Dodds (UKIP), Carole Gerada (Ind), Annette Hudspeth (Green), Dawn Maxwell (Ind), Tony Randerson (Lab)

Comberton on South Cambridgeshire (Lib Dem Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Con 33, Lib Dem 16, Ind 7, Lab 1 (Conservative overall majority of 9)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Lib Dem 558 (53%), Con 397 (37%), Lab 104 (10%)

Candidates duly nominated: Fay Boissieux (Lib Dem), Helen Haugh (Lab), Tim Scott (Con), Elizabeth Smith (UKIP)

South Cambridgeshire is another council where the Conservativation of the Independents has been going along apace. In the early days of the process, Labour were the main victims and by 2006, they had been reduced to a single councillor helping the Conservatives towards gaining the council in 2007 (but only by one).

After that there was a double pronged attack against both the Lib Dems and the Independents so that by 2008, the Conservative majority was up to seven and the Independents on nine were just a shadow of their former selves. However in 2010, the Lib Dems (buoyed by Cleggmania) stole a march and make five net gains (at the expense of both the Conservatives and the Independents), however it was not to last and in 2011 and 2012, the Conservatives gained seats from their coalition partners.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview: November 7th 2013

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Kingswood on Corby (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Lab 22, Con 4, Lib Dem 3 (Lab overall majority of 15)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 1,052, 1,027, 1,015

Conservatives 413, 332

Candidates duly nominated: Elise Elliston (Lab), Phil Ewers (Con), Julie Grant (Lib Dem), Peter McGowan (UKIP)

The electors of Corby district and the electors of Corby constituency may be forgiven for being seen as out of step with each other. Labour won the parliamentary constituency of Corby in 1997, held it in 2001 and 2005, lost it in 2010 and then won it back in a by-election last year.

Whilst all this toing and froing was going on at the constituency level, at the district level things were much more level headed. Between 2003 and 2011, the number of Labour councillors increased by four whilst the number of Conservative councillors fell by five with the Liberal Democrats taking up the slack, gaining one.

So why is the district far more stable than the constituency? Well, the simple reason is that Corby constituency is not just Corby district. When Louise Bagshawe (prior to getting married) became the first Conservative MP in the seat for nearly twenty years and became one of the most famous Conservative tweeters, she made a point of making it known that she was the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire. East Northamptonshire district is even more stable than Corby district and so the swing in the constituency was reflected by those voters in East Northamptonshire swinging to Labour in 1997 as opposed to Corby itself swinging to Labour.

Bosworth on Harborough (Con Defence)

Result at last election (2011): Con 27, Lib Dem 9, Ind 1 (Con overall majority of 17)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Con 780 (75%) Lab 255 (25%)

Candidates duly nominated: Lesley Bowles (Con), Annette Deacon (Lib Dem), Bill Piper (UKIP)

If Corby is the Conservative’s Agincourt, then Bosworth is the Lib Dems Waterloo (as seen from Napoleon’s side). In 2003, the Lib Dems finally broke through winning 18 councillors and being the largest party on the council (Lib Dem 18, Con 16, Ind 2, Lab 1) and was hoping that like Oadby and Wigston next door at the next elections they would be able to claim that the Lib Dems were “winning here”.

Sadly that was not to be case as in 2007, the Conservatives made ten gains (with seven of them coming from the Lib Dems) and consigning them to opposition where they have been ever since. That is not to say that they can’t spring suprises though as in 2010 where the Lib Dems saw their vote increase by 11% and turn a rock solid Conservative seat into a marginal for the next election

Harrow on the Hill on Harrow (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2010): Lab 34, Con 27, Lib Dem 1, Ind 1

Result of ward at last election (2010): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 1,948, 1,729, 1630

Conservatives 1,786, 1,651, 1,646

Independents 1,021, 641, 500

Liberal Democrats 973, 899

Candidates duly nominated: Gaye Branch (Lib Dem), Glen Hearnden (Lab), Gajan Idaikkadar (Harrow First), Eileen Kinnear (Ind), Stephen Lewis (Con), Jeremy Zeid (UKIP)

Harrow used to be a straight forward council with the Conservatives holding a majority and both Labour and the Liberal Democrats some way behind. That was until the 1994 local elections when the Liberal Democrats (who had managed to gain 104 seats across the capital) made eighteen gains forcing the Conservatives into second (having lost 19 seats) and leaving Labour one seat ahead of their 1990 performance.

As you can imagine, the Lib Dems were overjoyed by this. For the first time since the days of the Alliance, the Liberal Democrats had broken out of their south western enclaves (Richmond, Kingston and Sutton) and could now truly claim to be the opposition in London to the government. What a shame that it did not last as in the local elections of 1998 Harrow became the scene of what is still talked about in hushed rooms at Lib Dem conferences as “Harrowgate”. Across the whole of London there were just 22 net losses, however of those Harrow contributed 20 losses.

The reason for this? The nominating officer of Harrow Liberal Democrats failed to ensure that the nomination forms were filled in correctly and as a result 20 Liberal Democrat councillors were unable to defend their seats. The net result? Labour gained 18 of those seats and the Conservatives gained three seats (including one from the Ratepayers). And from then on the Liberal Democrats never really recovered suffering six losses in 2002 and being on the verge of wipeout in both 2006 and 2010.

Dales (Lab Defence) and Radford and Park (Lab Defence) on Nottingham

Result of last election (2011): Lab 50, Con 5 (Lab overall majority of 45)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected


Labour 2,456, 2,327, 2,238

Liberal Democrats 949

Conservatives 815, 809, 726

Elvis Loves Pets 322

Radford and Park

Labour 1,717, 1,710, 1,639

Conservatives 940, 932, 866

Green 509

Liberal Democrats 404, 336, 274

Candidates duly nominated:


Tad Jones (Lib Dem), Neghat Khan (Lab), Irenea Marriott (UKIP), Adam McGregor (Green), Cathy Meadows (TUSC), Neale Mittenshaw-Hodge (Con)

Radford and Park

David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets), Katharina Boettge (Green), Francesco Lari (UKIP), Nicholas Packham (Con), Anne Peach (Lab), Geraint Thomas (TUSC)

Nottingham has, slowly but surely, turned into a true Labour bastion to rank with the Liverpools, Salfords and Glasgows of this world. Back in 2003 they had an overall majority of 17. This increased to 29 in 2007 and thanks to the coalition in 2011 it reached it’s current majority of 45.

So therefore the question is likely to be who will come second in both wards? Well, there’s plenty of choice for those people who cannot bring themselves to vote for a mainstream alternative to Labour but perhaps the electors of Radford and Park have the best chance of being able to vote for someone who is seen as opposition to Labour and a kick in the proverbials to all the other parties and that is the Elvis Loves Pets party candidate.

Yes, Mr. Bishop has certainly done the rounds. He first popped up in Tatton at the 1997 general election where he stood as “Lord Byron vs the Scallywag Tories” candidate. Despite the Conservatives only managing to poll 37% of the vote at that election, he was not elected. But he must have enjoyed standing against Martin Bell (who was elected) because in 2001 he followed him to Brentwood and Ongar, this time standing as the candidate for the Church of the Militant Elvis party.

However, thanks to a split opposition Eric Pickles was elected and Mr. Bishop wasn’t. In 2005, he stood against another celebrity candidate when he was nominated to stand in Erewash constituency for the same party standing against a certain Robert Kilroy-Silk.

Again he was not elected and so in 2010 tried in Kettering, this time standing as the Bus Pass Elvis candidate. No joy there but that hasn’t stopped him since. He stood in Corby (99 votes), Eastleigh (72 votes), Feltham and Heston (93 votes), Oldham East (67 votes) and is clearly trying to emulate the record of the late Screaming Lord Sutch for lost deposits.

Derby on Sefton (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Lab 36, Lib Dem 20, Con 8, Ind 2 (Lab overall majority of 6)

Result of ward in last electoral cycle:

2010: Lab 3,387 (70%), UKIP 724 (15%), Lib Dem 518 (11%), Con 202 (4%)

2011: Lab 2,071 (76%), UKIP 404 (15%), Lib Dem 107 (4%), Con 95 (3%), English Democrats 55 (2%)

2012: Lab 1,809 (81%), UKIP 302 (14%), Con 64 (3%), Lib Dem 56 (3%)

Candidates duly nominated: Janice Blanchard (Ind), Jack Colbert (UKIP), Juliet Edgar (Ind), Laurence Rankin (Green), Anne Thompson (Lab), Graham Woodhouse (TUSC)

For years, Sefton’s election result on local election night was a sure fire certainly. Sefton: NOC HOLD. From 1990 until 2011, the council seemed to be in a permanent state of No Overall Control with the only question mark being over which party would emerge as the largest grouping.

From 1993 until 1999, that responsibility fell to Labour (with their best being three short of a majority in 1996), the Lib Dems took the lead in the millennium, before Labour took over again in 2002, then the Lib Dems had another go in 2006 before Labour short back into the position in 2011. So you can imagine everyone’s surprise when Sefton was actually won by someone (namely Labour) in 2012.

However, whilst this ward will elect another Labour councillor will the council remain Labour next year or will the almost inbuilt state of No Overall Control come back?

Riverside and Laleham on Spelthorne (Con Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 32, Lib Dem 6, Ind 1 (Con overall majority of 25)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 1,771, 1,585, 1,478

United Kingdom Independence Party 531

Liberal Democrats 529, 435

Candidates duly nominated: Michael Fuller (UKIP), John Johnston (Lab), Denise Saliagopoulos (Con), Susan Vincent (Lib Dem)

If Sefton is an example of keeping people guessing, then Spelthrone is a case of “Yawn, Con HOLD”. In the 2003 local elections, the Conservatives had a majority of 31 on the council (out of 39 seats) and although the Lib Dems managed to double their seats in 2007, that only reduced the majority to 23.

So therefore the question in Spelthorne is will UKIP be able to make hay whilst the sun shines (as the only non mainstream opposition to the Conservatives) or will Labour be able to say “The Liberal Democrats in this council cannot contain the Conservatives, we can!”

Chipping Norton on West Oxfordshire (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Con 41, Lab 4, Lib Dem 4 (Con overall majority of 33)

Result of ward in last electoral cycle:

2010: Con 1,673 (47%), Lab 1,394 (39%), Lib Dem 467 (14%)

2011: Lab 881 (37%), Con 833 (35%), Ind 537 (22%), Green 94 (4%), Lib Dem 59 (3%)

2012: Lab 966 (60%), Con 644 (40%)

Candidates duly nominated: Matthew Clayton (Green), Andrew Crick (Lib Dem), Joe Johnson (Con), Geoff Saul (Lab)

Strange as it may sound, there is actually quite the Labour history on West Oxfordshire (the majority of David Cameron’s Witney constituency). Unlike other councils in the South East of England even during the darkest days of Labour local election disasters, there was always one Labour councillor on the district, so to suddenly make three gains in 2012, Labour must have assumed that all of their West Oxfordshire Christmases had come at once, and given the current battleground I can’t see Labour losing this either.

Crook on County Durham (Lab Defence)

Result of last election (2013): Lab 94, Ind 19, Lib Dem 9, Con 4 (Lab overall majority of 62)

Result of ward at last election (2013): Emboldened denotes elected

Independent 771, 630, 594

Labour 719, 691, 642

Wear Valley Independents 559, 476, 450

Liberal Democrats 161, 144, 124

Greens 123, 89, 88

Candidates duly nominated: John Bailey (Wear Valley Independents), Beaty Bainbridge (Con), David English (Lib Dem), Ian Hirst (Ind), Andrea Paterson (Lab), Joanne Yelland (Green)

Now, here’s a Labour bastion worthy of the title. It may now be a unitary authority (first elected in 2008) but when it was a county council, my word, you didn’t just weigh the Labour vote, you weighed it on an industrial scale! Counties 1989: Lab majority of 42 (out of 72 seats), 1993: Lab majority of 40, 1997: Lab majority of 45, 2001: Lab majority of 45, 2005: Lab majority of 43.

In 2008 there was a tiny hiccup I grant you (Lab 67, Lib Dem 27, Ind 22, Con 10) which produced a Lab majority of 8 out of 126 seats, but this May normal service was resumed with a whomping 62 seat majority. However, with the Independents and the Wear Valley Independents running close and coming within a whisker of taking the third seat in this ward, could we be looking at an upset?

Tupsley on Herefordshire (It’s Our County Defence)

Result of last election (2011): Con 30, Ind 23, Lib Dem 3, Lab 1, Green 1 (Con overall majority of 2)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected

It’s Our County 1,808, 1,588, 1,296

Conservatives 757, 736, 699

Liberal Democrats 652, 521, 404

Labour 425

Candidates duly nominated: Duncan Fraser (Lib Dem), Jason Kay (Con), Cath North (It’s Our County)

And when it comes to upsets, It’s Our County are past masters! In 2003, Herefordshire was a hung council (Con 21, Ind 17, Lib Dem 16, Lab 4) representing a sparsely populated county with the Conservative and Liberal Democrats battling for the hearts and minds of Hereford constituency and the Independents ruling the roost elsewhere.

However in 2007 things changed, the Conservatives gained control (mostly from the Independents and Liberal Democrats) and it was clear that the Independents were not as powerful as they first thought. Enter on the stage “It’s Our County” and given their strength in Tupsley, I can’t see that ward changing hands anytime soon.

Bronglais on Aberystwyth Town Council (Plaid Defence)

Result of last election (2012): Plaid 10, Lib Dem 5, Ind 3 (Plaid overall majority of 2)

Result of last election in ward (2012): Emboldened denotes elected

Plaid Cymru 382, 336, 277, 241

Liberal Democrats 144

Candidates duly nominated: Bryony Davies (Lib Dem), Huw Fox (Independent), Lucy Huws (Plaid Cymru)

Which makes what is happening in Aberystwyth even more interesting. Now, generally speaking I don’t cover town council by-elections (but this first by-election in Ceredigion since the local elections is rapidly turning into a referendum on the Plaid / Independent leadership of the county council).

The Bronglais ward (formerly called Aberystwyth East at both town and county level) has not elected anyone bar Plaid Cymru since 1974. In 1999, a certain Simon Thomas was elected as the district and town councillor (who went to win Ceredigion in the February 2000 by-election and is now one of Plaid’s AM’s for Mid and West Wales) and in 2012, the Plaid vote of 89% was the highest in the entire council.

So the fact a recent tweet by none other than the former Conservative Assembly member for Mid and West Wales (Lisa Francis) advocating the Liberal Democrat candidate in the ward could suggest that Plaid’s dominance is about to end (and possibly in the most spectacular manner possible).

Harry Hayfield