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


By-Election Preview : October 9th 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Waterloo on Blackpool (Conservative defence)

Result of council at last election (2011): Labour 27, Conservatives 14, Liberal Democrats 1 (Labour majority of 12)

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

Labour 937, 659
Conservatives 793, 728
Liberal Democrats 263

Candidates duly nominated: John Braithwaite (UKIP), Kathy Ellis (Lab), Mike Hodkinson (Lib Dem), Jack Renshaw (BNP), Derek Robertson (Con)

Bicknacre with East and West Hanningfield on Chelmsford (Conservative defence)

Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 40, Liberal Democrats 15, Labour 1, Independents 1 (Conservative majority of 23)

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

Conservatives 1,322, 1,279
Labour 298, 281
Liberal Democrats 225, 216
Candidates duly nominated: Matt Flack (Con), Reza Hossain (Green), David Kirkwood (UKIP), Tony Lees (Lab), Andy Robson (Lib Dem)

Southgate on Crawley (UKIP defence from Con defection)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 20, Conservatives 16, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Labour majority of 3)

Result of ward at last election (2011) : Conservatives 1,091 (44%), Labour 995 (41%), Green 366 (15%)
Candidates duly nominated: Simon Darroch (UKIP), Arshad Khan (Justice Party), Michael Pickett (Lab), Jan Tarrant (Con)

West Heath on Rushmoor (UKIP defence)

Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 24, Labour 12, United Kingdom Independence Party 3 (Conservative majority of 9)

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

United Kingdom Independence Party 868, 828, 821
Conservatives 498, 473, 451
Liberal Democrats 252, 230, 223
Labour 237, 220, 186
Candidates duly nominated: Dave Bell (UKIP), Charlie Fraser-Fleming (Lib Dem), Sue Gadsby (Lab), Brian Parker (Con)

Brightlingsea on Essex (UKIP defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 42, United Kingdom Independence Party 9, Liberal Democrats 9, Labour 9, Greens 2, Residents 1, Tendring First 1, Canvey Island Independent 1, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 9)

Result of ward at last election (2013) : United Kingdom Independence Party 1,429 (30%), Liberal Democrats 1,264 (27%), Conservatives 1,156 (25%), Labour 585 (12%), Greens 165 (4%), Tendring First 102 (2%)

Candidates duly nominated: Carol Carlsson Browne (Lab), Alan Goggin (Con), Beverley Maltby (Green), Anne Poonian (UKIP), Gary Scott (Lib Dem)

Clacton Westminster By-Election (UKIP defence from Con defection)

Result of constituency at last election (2010): Conservatives 22,867 (53%), Labour 10,799 (25%), Liberal Democrats 5,577 (13%), British National Party 1,975 (5%), Tendring First 1,078 (2%), Green 535 (1%), Independent 292 (1%). Conservative majority of 12,068 (28%)

Candidates duly nominated: Douglas Carswell (UKIP), Andy Graham (Lib Dem), Alan “Howling Lord” Hope (Loony), Charlotte Rose (Ind), Bruce Sizer (Ind), Chris Southall (Green), Giles Watling (Con), Tim Young (Lab)

“I say, I say, I say, what do you get if you cross a Conservative MP defecting to UKIP, one highly annoyed UKIP PPC and a television vicar?” Now, I know that may sound like the start of a terrible joke at an open mic comedy night but that is precisely what has been happening in Clacton over the past few weeks and look at what’s happened.

First Mr. Carswell defected and, in a move not seen since the defection of Bruce Douglas-Mann in 1982 from Labour to the SDP, he resigned his seat at Westminster and announced that he would contest the by-election as UKIP. Which was rather news to Cllr. Roger Lord (UKIP, Brightlingsea) who was the PPC for the constituency who suddenly found himself out of a job and when interviewed by the BBC’s Look East said “Right, if that’s the way the cookie is going to crumble, then I’m going to defect to the Conservatives and become their candidate!” to which Clacton Conservatives said “Okay, but you will have to submit yourself to an open primary” which is how Giles Watling, a councillor on Tendring council got the nod as the Conservative candidate.

His face is very familiar to people who watched the 1980′s sitcom “Bread” because before becoming a councillor on Tendring, he was an actor who played a vicar who married Avaline. So fed up was Cllr. Lord at his treatment by UKIP that he resigned his seat on the county council in protest and just a couple of days ago said “Vote Lib Dem for Brightlingsea” so as you can see Clacton and Brightlingsea have the potential to produce two very interesting, if in opposite directions, results come Friday morning.

Heywood and Middleton By-Election (Labour defence)

Result of constituency at last election (2010): Labour 18,499 (40%), Conservatives 12,528 (27%), Liberal Democrats 10,474 (23%), British National Party 3,239 (7%), United Kingdom Independence Party 1,215 (3%), Independent 170 (0%). Labour majority of 5,971 (13%)

Candidates duly nominated: John Bickley (UKIP), Iain Gartside (Con), Abi Jackson (Green), Liz McInnes (Lab), Anthony Smith (Lib Dem)

Heywood and Middleton has been around since 1983 but the constituency itself has been moving. In 1983 when the seat was won by James Callaghan (not the former Prime Minister was who elected in Cardiff South and Penarth), the constituency was shaped like a C with the two Burys on it’s western edge and Rochdale separating it from Littleborough and Saddleworth. However in the 1997 boundary changes, things shifted to the right and the constituency gobbled up what was Rochdale, as the new Rochdale shifted into the top end of Littlebrough and Saddleworth and the remainder of the seat became known as Oldham East and Saddleworth which is how it remains to this day.

As for the politics of the seat, well, Labour stronghold is the best way of describing it. Even in the Labour disaster of 1983, Labour won it by 9% so therefore this is a classic Labour heartland so if UKIP are indeed polling a very strong second (as the polls of late suggest) then maybe Ed Milliband should be worried about the advance of UKIP in the north because although they may take a lot of their political support from the Conservatives, the fact that over half their support in total comes from people who did not vote in 2010 and given that in Labour safest seats in 2010, the turnout was 58% (compared to 61% in all Labour seats) that proves that there is a sizeable number of people who are willing to suport UKIP in Labour seats.

Apologies for the lack of background on the local by-elections today, I did the background for the parliamentary by-elections when nominations closed but on Friday caught a doozy of a flu cold and have only started to feel better today

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : October 2nd 2014

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Llandaff North on Cardiff (Labour Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Labour 46, Liberal Democrats 16, Conservatives 7, Indepdendents 4, Plaid Cymru 2 (Labour overall majority of 17)

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

Labour 1,244, 1,156 (52%)
Llandaff North Independents 607, 507 (24%)
Liberal Democrats 375, 356 (16%)
Conservatives 154 (3%)
Plaid Cymru 141 (3%)
Greens 101 (2%)

Candidates duly nominated: David Cogan (Llandaff North Independents), Pueter Hudson (Con), Ann Rowland-Jones (Lib Dem), Susan White (Lab), Simon Zeigler (UKIP)

Cardiff council has certainly had the changes since it was created as a unitary authority back in 1995. In those first elections Labour completely ruled the roost polling 57% of the vote and winning 56 councillors out of the 67 available, there were boundary changes in 1999 increasing the number of councillors to 75 but Labour still managed to win 51 of them on a vote share of 42% however the turn of the millennium brought nothing but woe for Labour in the Welsh capital because in the 2004 local elections, the unthinkable happened. Labour did not poll the most votes. The Liberal Democrats polled 33% of the vote and won 33 seats to take the council out of Labour hands for the first time since the creation of the unitary authority and in 2008 it got worse as the Lib Dems cemented their hold by making two net gains and forcing Labour into third place on the council. But that masked a very interesting situation.

Comparing the local elections of 2004 and 2008, it was not the Liberal Democrats who were making headway but the Conservatives thus turning Cardiff into a true three way marginal (demonstrated at the 2010 general election) when the Conservatives GAINED Cardiff North, the Liberal Democrats HELD Cardiff Central and both Cardiff South and Penarth and Cardiff West both became marginals however after the coalition that all changed and Labour came roraring back making a staggering 33 net gains (with the Liberal Democrats coming off the worse losing 19 seats) not helped by a lot of Liberal Democrat councillors resigning from the Lib Dems and standing as local Independents (Cllr. Bowden in Heath was Lib Dem in 2008 and was re-elected as a Heath Independent). So will the Llandaff North Independents have a chance of proving that localism works, will UKIP say “We are the true opposition to Labour in Wales” or will Labour be able to coast home again?

Windermere on Cumbria (Liberal Democrat 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 ward at last election (2013): Liberal Democrats 1,162 (62%), Conservatives 350 (19%), United Kingdom Independence Party 227 (12%), Labour 133 (7%)

Candidates duly nominated: Ben Berry (Con), Gwen Harrison (Green), Colin Jones (Lib Dem), Robert Judson (Ind)

Windermere Town on South Lakeland (Liberal Democrat Defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Liberal Democrats 33, Conservatives 15, Labour 3 (Liberal Democrat majority of 15)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Liberal Democrats 567 (71%), Conservatives 117 (15%), Labour 114 (14%)

Candidates duly nominated: Gwen Harrison (Green), Dyan Jones (Lib Dem), Sandra Lilley (Con)

South Lakeland (the home of the Great Lakes of the Lake District) used to be mixed but with the Conservative having the upper hand. In the same month as Lady Thatcher’s third election win, the council had 24 Conservatives, 12 Alliance, 12 Independents and 4 Labour (NOC, Con short by 3) however by 1994, the Liberal Democrats had taken over (Lib Dem 19, Con 16, Ind 11, Lab 6, NOC, Lib Dem short by 8) but by 2006, the Lib Dems gained overall control and have slowly, but surely, strangled any opposition to them (resulting in Tim Farron’s re-election in 2010 with a majority similar to the ones racked up by Michael Jopling, the former Conservative MP for the seat) and with no UKIP candidate in this election (what did I say Mr. Farage last week about fielding candidates in order to get UKIP votes) I think we can safely say that we are looking at two Lib Dem HOLDS in this part of Cumbria.

Woodside on Haringey (Labour Defence)

Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 48, Liberal Democrats 9 (Labour majority of 39)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,018, 1,947, 1,865
Liberal Democrats 418, 393, 361
Greens 406, 342, 254
Conservatives 271, 244, 207
United Kingdom Independence Party 259
Trade Unionists and Socialists 100
Independent 61

Candidates duly nominated: Dawn Barnes (Lib Dem), Tom Davidson (Green), Pauline Gibson (Ind), Scott Green (Con), Vivek Lehal (TUSC), Andrew Price (UKIP), Charles Wright (Lab)

Haringey council in London has (over the last twenty years or so) gone from one extreme to the other. Back in 1986 it was a rock solid Labour area with Labour winning 37 seats to the Conservatives 18 and the Alliance stuck on just one and it continued that way so that by 1994 it was a virtual one party state (Lab 57, Con 2), but after that election something strange started to happen. Not that much happened in 1998, Lab lost three to the Liberal Democrats but that started a trend.

In 2002, the Liberal Democrats made 12 gains (all from Labour), in 2006 they made another 12 gains also from Labour on the back of “It’s the war” (Andrew Marr’s comment when the Lib Dems gained Hornsey and Wood Green on a 15% swing from Lab to Lib Dem at the 2005 general election). In 2010 however, the flow to the Lib Dems eased up a little as Labour made a few gains themselves but in 2014 normal one party domination was restored as Labour made 14 gains (all at the expense of the Liberal Democrats)

Grange Park on South Northamptonshire (double Conservative defence)

Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 33, Independents 6, Liberal Democrats 2, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 24)

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

Conservatives 697, 590
Independent 231

Candidates duly nominated by party:
Conservatives: Simon Clifford, Adil Sadygov
Labour: Ian Grant
United Kingdom Independence Party: Katie Chick, Peter Conquest

Now, here’s an interesting one I say. Not only is it the first double by-election I have come across but it’s the first by-election I have come across where the obvious non mainstream challengers aren’t. Back in 2003, South Northamptonshire was (as it always has been) bedrock Conservative and the opposition, well, there were 7 Independents, 4 Labour and a Lib Dem.

In 2007 that opposition was knocked back a bit by the Conservatives who inflicted a gain from the Independents, three gains from Labour and wiped out the Lib Dems), but back in 2011 the opposition had managed to climb back a little bit but not enough to challenge the Conservatives and maybe that is why the Independents and Liberal Democrats have decided to give UKIP a clear run here.

In the Euros the Conservatives won the local area count by 3% (on a swing of 10% from Con to UKIP) and so therefore maybe this is the best chance for UKIP to have a double win in the heart of Conservative Middle England (after all look what happened last week)

Westoe on South Tyneside (Independent defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 49, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1, Conservatives 1 (Labour majority of 44)

Result of ward at last election (2011): Independent 1,199 (44%), Labour 968 (36%), Conservative 315 (12%), Green 158 (6%), Liberal 72 (3%)

Candidates duly nominated: Tony Bengtsson (Green), Norman Dennis (UKIP), Katharine Maxwell (Lab), Edward Russell (Con), Carole Troupe (Lib Dem)

Which poses a very interesting question in South Tyneside. Do Independent voters like or dislike UKIP? In theory this is also prime UKIP territory. A Labour council that has been Labour since pretty much the year dot (lowest Labour majority was 8 in 2008) that is now a virtual one party state with the past councillor being an independent but with a vote share that means Labour will be gunning for it.

If UKIP cannot attract Independent votes in areas where a strong local Independent has won then all these polls suggesting that 50% of all UKIP support comes from people who have never voted in elections before may need a reassesement.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Results : September 25th 2014 – UPDATE and a Marf cartoon

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Epping, Hemnal on Epping Forest (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 607 (43% +7%), Conservatives 386 (28% -14%), UKIP 339 (24% +16%), Green 69 (5% +1%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 221 (15%) on a swing of 10.5% from Con to Lib Dem

Lovelace on Guildford (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 555 (61% +47%), Conservatives 255 (28% -43%), UKIP 63 (7%), Labour 32 (4% -11%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 300 (33%) on a swing of 45% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Frome North on Somerset (Lib Dem Defence)
Result: Conservatives 1,163 (47% +11%), Liberal Democrats 836 (35% -2%), Labour 163 (7% -4%), Independent 139 (6%), Green 139 (6%)
Conservative GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 327 (12%) on a swing of 6.5% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative

Update – A cartoon from Marf


Local By-Election Preview: September 25th 2014

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Epping, Hemnal on Epping Forest (Conservative Defence)

Result of last election to council (2014): Conservatives 37, Residents 12, Liberal Democrats 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 2, Independents 2, Greens 1, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 16)

Result of last election in ward (2011): Conservative 951 (42%), Liberal Democrats 821 (36%), Labour 231 (10%), UKIP 185 (8%), Green 83 (4%)

Candidates duly nominated: Kim Adams (Lib Dem), Nigel Avey (Con), Andrew Smith (UKIP), Anna Widdup (Green)

By-elections held during the conference season can always been very tricky affairs. Who can forget that classic by-election moment in October 1990 when Lady Thatcher poked fun at the new Liberal Democrat logo comparing it to Monty Python’s “This is an ex parrot” only for said parrot to bite the Conservatives in the proverbials when the Lib Dems gained Eastbourne on a 20% swing and the same is true of local by-elections although whether Labour will have anything to cheer about after Ed Milliband’s speech on Tuesday remains to be seen.

In fact, as the UKIP conference starts in Doncaster tomorrow maybe it will be Nigel Farage who gives his leader’s speech and is able to announce not one but two new UKIP councillors to add to the fold. After all, Epping Forest should be prime UKIP territory. It’s in Essex, the seat being defended is a Con / Lib Dem battleground (and we all know what has happened to the Lib Dems against UKIP since 2013) and perhaps more importantly than that, they won the council area at the Euros by 9%

Lovelace on Guildford (Conservative Defence)

Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 34, Liberal Democrats 12, Labour 2 (Conservative majority of 20)

Result of last election in ward (2011): Conservative 648 (71%), Labour 134 (15%), Liberal Democrats 131 (14%)

Candidates duly nominated: Colin Cross (Lib Dem), Den Paton (Con), David Sheppard (UKIP), Robin Woof (Lab)

And Guildford could produce the double as it also fits the prime UKIP requirements with the addition of a virtual one party state council and a one party state ward. However, there could be a slight complication to UKIP in Guildford and that is the fact that UKIP did NOT win the council area in the Euros.

There was a 6% swing to UKIP in Guildford, yes, but that was a full 3% below the South Eastern average (9% to UKIP) so does this mean that Guildford is immune to the charms of UKIP? Not entirely, but it does raise the prospect of UKIP having the potential if not to gain this ward, then certainly make it plausible for the Conservatives to lose the ward.

Frome North on Somerset (Lib Dem Defence)

Result of last election to council (2013): Conservatives 28, Liberal Democrats 19, Labour 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 3, Independents 2 (Conservative majority of 1)

Result of last election in ward (2013): Liberal Democrat 1,047 (37%), Conservative 1,002 (36%), UKIP 445 (16%), Labour 302 (11%)

Candidates duly nominated: Adrian Dobinson (Ind), Damon Hooton (Lib Dem), Linda Oliver (Con), Catherine Richardson (Lab), Les Spalding (Green)

Which makes Frome completely out there. Here is a ward where UKIP polled 16% of the vote in, across a county where in the Euros they topped the poll in four of the five districts (polling 34% of the vote) and yet they could not find a candidate to stand in the by-election? If Nigel Farage wants people to take UKIP as a serious political party, then this is something they need to address very quickly indeed.

With some polls putting UKIP support as high as 20% at Westminster, he needs to remember that you only get UKIP votes when there is a UKIP candidate. No UKIP candidate means no UKIP votes and as a result, this battleground could very easily stay with the Lib Dems or flip to the Conservatives.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Results : August 14th 2014

Friday, August 15th, 2014


South Normanton East on Bolsover (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 293 (71%), Conservative 120 (29%)
Labour HOLD

Knight’s Hill on Lambeth (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,265 (65%), Conservative 248 (13%), Green 230 (12%), UKIP 99 (5%), Liberal Democrat 94 (5%), Non Party Independent 51 (3%)
Labour HOLD

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Results: July 24th 2014

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Clifton on Blackpool (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 501 (41%), UKIP 362 (30%), Conservatives 283 (23%), Liberal Democrats 33 (3%), Greens 25 (2%), TUSC 10 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 139 (11%)
Turnout: 23%

(Grateful thanks to Blackpool Council for their publication of the result and vote shares)

Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun on Doncaster (Lab Defence)
Result: UKIP 1,203 (41%), Labour 1,109 (38% unchanged), Conservatives 479 (16% +2%), Greens 160 (5%)
UKIP GAIN from Labour with a majority of 94 (3%) on a swing of 20.5% from Labour to UKIP since 2012
Turnout: 28%

Staplehurst on Maidstone (Con Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 609 (36% +24%), Conservatives 603 (36% -21%), UKIP 311 (19%), Labour 117 (7% -8%), Greens 41 (2% -6%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 6 (0%) on a swing of 22.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Longhougton on Northumberland (Ind Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 742 (50%), Conservatives 352 (24% +9%), Independents 206 (14%), UKIP 146 (10% +2%), Labour 48 (3%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Independent with a majority of 390 (26%) on a swing of 20.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Southcote on Reading (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,019 (59% +3), Conservative 340 (20% -11%), UKIP 226 (13%), Greens 69 (4% -2%), Liberal Democrats 49 (3% -4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 679 (39%) on a swing of 7% from Conservative to Labour since 2011
Turnout: 26%

Aberaman North on Rhondda, Cynon, Taff (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 356 (39% -42%), Independent 276 (31%), Plaid Cymru 228 (25% +6%), TUSC 23 (3%), Conservatives 20 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 80 (8%) on a swing of 36.5% from Labour to Independent

Birchills, Leamore on Walsall (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,075 (48% -7%), Conservative 710 (32% -2%), UKIP 445 (20%), Eng Dem 20 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 365 (16%) on a swing of 2.5% from Labour to Conservative

Clewer North on Windsor and Maidenhead Royal (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 878 (58%), Conservatives 486 (32%), Labour 158 (10%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 392 (26%)
Turnout: 26%


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