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


By election preview 26th of March 2015

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Glenrothes West and Kinglassie on Fife (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 35, Scottish National Party 26, Liberal Democrats 10, Independents 4, Conservatives 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 5)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Scottish National Party: Brown 910 E, Walker 349, Grant 941 E (42%)
Labour: Craik 708 E, Campbell 1,424 E (41%)
Independents: Robertson 147, Taylor 192 (7%)
Scottish Pensioners Party: Dawson 271 (5%)
Conservative: Irvine 155 (3%)
Liberal Democrat: Adamson 83 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Green (UKIP), Jane Liston (Lib Dem), Alan Seath (Lab), Craig Walker (SNP), John Wheatley (Con)

Buckie on Moray (Ind defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 10, Scottish National Party 10, Conservatives 3, Labour 3 (No Overall Control, Independents and Scottish National Party short by 4)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: McKay 648 E, MacKay 557 E (48%)
Scottish National Party: McDonald 967 E, McDonald 169 (45%)
Conservative: Gambles 179 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Norman Calder (Ind), Tim Eagle (Con), Sonya Warren (SNP)

Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath on Eilean Siar (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Independents 21, Scottish National Party 7, Labour 3 (Independent majority of 11)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independents: Taylor 93, MacLean 75, Beaton 212 E, Robertson 316 E (65%)
Labour: Campbell 204 E (19%)
Scottish National Party: Walker 177 (16%)
Candidates duly nominated: Roslyn MacPherson (SNP), Andrew Walker (Ind)

Armadale and Blackridge on West Lothian (SNP defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 16, Scottish National Party 15, Conservatives 1, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Independent: Borrowman 2,541 E (57%)
Scottish National Party: Williamson 168, Hutton 861 E (23%)
Labour: Dixon 788 E (17%)
Conservative: Kerr 125 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ian Burgess (Con), Jenny Johnson (Green), Sarah King (SNP), Scott MacKay (Ind), Andrew McGuire (Lab)

Llantwit Major on the Vale of Glamorgan (Llantwit First defence)

Result of council at last election (2012) : Labour 22, Conservatives 11, Plaid Cymru 6, Llantwit First 4, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1

Result of ward at last election (2012) : E denotes Elected

Llantwit First: John 2,068 E, Hacker 1,603 E, Williams 1,490 E, Geary 1,327 E (57%)
Conservatives: Clifford 813, Austin 759, Downe 544, Grant 536 (23%)
Labour: Price 541, Beech 502, Batchelor 471, Denman 411 (17%)
Plaid Cymru: Stephens 269 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Wynford Bellin (Plaid), Tony Bennett (Con), Jack Hawkins (Lab), Mick Mason (Llantwit First)

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : March 5th 2015

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Kenton on Brent (Con defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 56, Conservatives 6, Liberal Democrats 1 (Labour majority of 49)

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

Conservatives 1,798, 1,796, 1,669 (53%)
Labour 1,139, 1,040, 946 (32%)
Liberal Democrats 221, 153, 125 (5%)
Green 348 (11%)

Candidates duly nominated: Michaela Lichten (Green), Vincent Lo (Lab), Michael Maurice (Con), Bob Wharton (Lib Dem)

Brent (for the most part) has been a Conservative / Labour battleground. In fact the only time that the Liberal Democrats came to prominence in the area was in the 2006 local elections when they managed to win 27 seats (forcing the council into a state of No Overall Control) and becoming the largest party on the council and even that was on an unfair vote share. Labour won 34% of the vote (and won 21 out of 63 seats), the Conservatives won 28% of the vote (and won 15 out of 63 seats) and the Liberal Democrats Labour busting score came on a 27% vote share.

That’s right, the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the lowest vote share of the parties contesting the election. Needless to say that was put back to rights in 2010 when Labour regained control and won the election with the most votes again. That’s not to say that Labour couldn’t win here (in the heart of Brent North constituency) but when a by-election was held here at almost the same time in the electoral cycle, Labour’s vote only went up by 3%.

St. Pancras and Somers Town on Camden (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 12, Liberal Democrats 1, Green 1 (Labour majority of 26)

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

Labour 2,511, 2,488, 2,423 (70%)
Green 562, 526, 440 (14%)
Conservatives 368, 351, 295 (10%)
Liberal Democrats 245, 192, 178 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Shahin Ahmed (Con), Zach Polanski (Lib Dem), Tina Swasey (Green), Paul Tomlinson (Lab)

Camden and Brent have a lot in common, politically speaking. The Lib Dems surged here in 2006 (creating another wrong party winner, this time they did manage to come in second in terms of share of the vote) but have since faded away to just a single seat in Fortune Green ward (despite winning 0.8% more votes than Labour) which has allowed the Greens to stand up to the plate as the main non Conservative / non Labour force in the council.

However as the Lib Dems discovered during the 80’s and 90’s you can poll very well indeed and still end up with a ridiculously low number of seats (as demonstrated in 2002 when they polled 23% of the vote and on managed to win 8 seats out of 54) so whilst Labour are confident of a win, they will be concerned if the Greens take more of their support having established themselves as the alternative to Labour (especially in a rock solid constituency like Holborn and St. Pancras)

Selhurst on Croydon (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 30 (Labour majority of 10)

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

Labour 2,086, 2,079, 1,996 (54%)
Conservatives 546, 515, 471 (13%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 504, 396 (12%)
Green 341, 269, 267 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 240 (6%)
Independent 128 (3%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist 88 (2%)
Communist 77 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tirena Gunter (Con), Tracey Hague (Green), Geoff Morley (Lib Dem), Annette Reid (UKIP), David Wood (Lab)

Whilst the Liberal Democrats were surging and then collapsing in various other parts of London between 2006 and 2014, Croydon stuck up it’s nose and said “Sorry, old boy, we don’t play that way”. The best Liberal Democrat performance in Croydon was not in 2006 or indeed 2010 but way back in 1986, when the Alliance polled 24% of the vote and yet didn’t get a single councillor elected.

So as a result Croydon has always been a Conservative / Labour battleground that no other party has managed to make an impact on since the 1960’s when six Ratepayers, six Conservative Ratepayers and three Independents managed to hold the balance between twenty one Conservatives and twenty one Labour and although UKIP managed to poll 15% across the borough, that was still not enough to get a councillor elected.

Bocking on Essex (UKIP defence)

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

Result of ward at last election (2013): UKIP 1,340 (33%), Conservative 1,320 (32%), Labour 1,226 (30%), Green 126 (3%), Liberal Democrat 91 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Stephen Canning (Con), Michael Ford (UKIP), John Malam (Green), Peter Sale (Ind), Lynn Watson (Lab)

UKIP need to come to terms with a very big problem and they need to come to terms with it fast. This problem is holding onto seats. In the local by-elections of 2014, UKIP made a net gain of five seats (which on the face of it sounds very good indeed), however drill a little bit down and things aren’t quite so rosy for UKIP.

They made three gains from the Conservatives, two from the Independents, three from Labour, one from the Lib Dems and one from the Social Democrats for a total of 10 which means that UKIP managed to lose five seats (two to the Conservatives and three to Labour) and both the Conservative gains were in seats that UKIP managed to win in 2013 (on Cornwall and Essex).

So it does all rather suggest that UKIP do have a problem with staying power once elected, a problem that has affected parties who have had breakthroughs in the past and unless UKIP do something about it, they could be in for trouble come the general election in Clacton and Rochester.

Harry Hayfield


Marf for tonight + Harry Hayfield’s local by-election preview

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Tonight’s local by- elections from Harry Hayfield

Hengoed on Carmarthenshire (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 28, Labour 23, Independents 22, People First 1 (No Overall Control, Plaid Cymru short by 10)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
People First 337, 261 (33%)
Labour 338, 253 (28%)
Plaid Cymru 315, 271 (28%)
Independent 213 (10%)
Non Party Independent 89 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Davies (Plaid), Stephen Davies (Con), Penny Edwards (Lab), Bramwell Richards (UKIP), Wynford Samuel (People First), Edward Skinner (Ind)

Since Plaid’s triumph in the 1999 Assembly elections, Plaid have suffered from the same sort of problems as Labour have been experiencing in areas where the local party are deemed to be out of touch only with Plaid, it’s not being out of touch that is the problem, it’s not looking after their traditional roots. The first rumblings started in 2004 when Llais Ceredigion (The Voice of Ceredigion) started the process to hold a referendum on the concept of a directly elected mayor when the county’s planning department called for a massive increase in the number of homes in the county which Llais Ceredigion said would lead to the Welsh language becoming a minority language in less than two decades and that a directly elected mayor would have the power to stop such a plan. The referendum was called for a month before the local elections and so Llais Ceredigion fielded candidates in the local elections hoping to captialise on the referendum result. Sadly for them, the concept of a mayor was rejected by a margin of two to one and no Llais candidates were elected, although that they did manage to poll 22% of the vote in the six wards they contested and in Beulah managed to attract 31% of the vote in direct opposition to the sitting Plaid Cymru councillor.

In 2008, a Llais came back to haunt Plaid in the biggest way possible. This time it was Llais Gwynedd and their gripe with Plaid Cymru was the fact that Gwynedd (controlled by Plaid since the council was formed in 1995) was closing Welsh medium primary schools. This time, however, unlike Llais Ceredigion, Llais Gwynedd was out in force and stood in 28 seats in the elections in 2008 and for the first time Plaid faced the real threat of losing overall control and when the votes were tallied Llais proved that they meant business. In the 28 seats they stood in they polled 7,119 votes (39%) to Plaid’s 7,091 (38%) and managed to win 12 seats (nine of which came from Plaid) including the ward of Bontnewydd represented in the 2004 council chamber by Dafydd Iwan, the Welsh folk singer and Plaid Cymru leader at the time. In fact, Llais Gwynedd were so impressed with their performance that they stood in the new Dwyfor, Meirionnydd constituency in 2011 in direct opposition to the Presiding Officer, Lord Elis Thomas and managed to poll 16% (13% of which came from Plaid Cymru)

In the same elections, more trouble was on the horizon for Plaid as Sian Caiach (the Plaid Cymru councillor for Hengoed) stood as a “People First” candidate in the Plaid battleground seat of Llanelli and managed to poll 8% of the vote which contributed to Labour gaining the seat but that didn’t stop her as he stood in 2012 as a People First candiate in the local elections and managed to hold on to her seat with her running partner a mere 76 votes behind the second seat, so as you can see this by-election will be a real test for People First, can they take a seat from Labour or prevent Plaid winning a seat? If they can, expect to see Sian standing in the general election for Llanelli and potentially making Plaid’s life even more difficult than it is already (with both Arfon and Carmarthen East as Labour targets and their Westminster leader standing down in Dwyfor)


Local By-Election Preview : February 12th 2015

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Bar Hill on Cambridgeshire (Con Defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 32, Liberal Democrats 14, United Kingdom Independence Party 12, Labour 7, Independents 4 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Conservatives 1,175 (45%), United Kingdom Independence Party 570 (22%), Labour 352 (14%), Green 242 (9%), Liberal Democrat 219 (8%), Monster Raving Loony 28 (1%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martin Hale (UKIP), Lynda Harford (Con), Claudia Roland (Green), Alex Smith (Lab), Fiona Whelan (Lib Dem)

Oswestry East on Shropshire (Con Defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 48, Liberal Democrats 12, Labour 9, Independent 4, National Health Action 1 (Conservative majority of 22)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 584, 453 (44%)
Independent 611 (26%)
Labour 551 (23%)
British National Party 169 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Duncan Kerr (Green), Claire Norris (Lab), John Price (Con), Amanda Woof (Lib Dem)

The by-elections this evening are interesting as they mark the two previous high points in UKIP’s recent surge. First the two by-elections on the counties last contested in 2013 where UKIP make their first incursions onto the political map with 12 councillors elected in Cambridgeshire (on a vote share of 21%) and although they failed to win any seats in Shropshire they did manage to poll 11% of the vote.

So no doubt the eagle eyed amongst you will notw that UKIP are fielding a candidate in Cambridgeshire but not in Shropshire. Does this suggest that UKIP feel more comfortable attacking the Conservatives in the East of England rather than on the Welsh borders and if so, does this mean that Peterborough (a seat that Labour have to win to be on course for an overall majority) is going to feel the full force of UKIP but a seat like The Wrekin (the only seat in Shropshire where Labour are in second) will be a UKIP pass.

Mark Hall on Harlow (UKIP Defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 17, Conservatives 11, United Kingdom Independence Party 5 (Labour majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
United Kingdom Independence Party 662, 646 (38%)
Labour 602, 599 (35%)
Conservatives 346, 346 (20%)
Liberal Democrats 137, 124 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mark Gough (UKIP), Danny Purton (Lab), Lesley Rideout (Lib Dem), Murray Sackwild (Green), Jane Steer (Con)

Harlow marks the second prong of UKIP’s attack that saw them win the Euros last year and provided the springboard of the defection and by-election wins in Clacton and Rochester. And UKIP’s rise in Harlow has literally come out of nowhere. Back in 2003, Harlow was a hung council but it wasn’t the Liberal Democrats who were in the balance of power, it was Labour (Con 12, Lib Dem 12, Lab 9).

However by 2007, it was the Liberal Democrats who were the third party in Harlow but in 2008, the Conservatives gained control by taking Labour to the cleaners and held control until 2012 when Labour made six gains and wiping out the Liberal Democrats in the process to take control and then came UKIP taking three seats from Labour and two from the Conservatives to become the new third force in Harlow politics and win the local area count at the Euros. With Harlow being another key seat for the election, UKIP will be gunning to hold this seat and prove, just three months from polling day that their breakthrough in 2013 and their continued strength in 2014 is here to stay in 2015.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : January 29th 2015

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Marshalwick South on St. Albans (Two Conservative defences)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 29, Liberal Democrats 17, Labour 10, Greens 1, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives and Opposition tied)

Result of ward at last election (2012): Conservative 929 (40%), Liberal Democrats 651 (28%), Labour 441 (19%), Green 188 (8%), UKIP 123 (5%)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Conservative 972 (39%), Labour 573 (23%), Liberal Democrats 486 (19%), Green 258 (10%), UKIP 232 (9%)

Candidates duly nominated by party:
Richard CURTHOYS, Steve McKEOWN (Con)
Richard HARRIS, Vivienne WINDLE (Lab)
Jill MILLS, Tim ROBINSON (Green)
Elizabeth NEEDHAM, Mark PEDROZ (Lib Dem)

There have been two by-elections this week (of which one of them was held on a Wednesday) and yes, this is a double vacancy following the decision of two councillors to stand down in the same ward. St. Albans has been a rather indecisive council of late between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In 2003, the council was hung with the Liberal Democrats having a two seat lead over the Conservatives which turned into a 13 seat lead in 2006 and enabled the Lib Dems to gain overall control of the council.

But just like other Lib Dem controlled or influenced councils the coaltion marked a turning point and in 2011, the Conservatives became the largest party (gaining five seats) but have found it very hard going ever since. The reason? Labour have started to make inroads. Between 2011 and 2014, Labour have made seven gains all from the Liberal Democrats and with St. Albans constituency being one of Ed Milliband’s must win seats two Labour gains here would certainly put him in a good mood, the problem is though UKIP.

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Preview : December 18th 2014

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

St. James on Kingston upon Thames (Con 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
Conservatives 1,250, 1,188, 1,082
Liberal Democrats 729, 719, 696
Labour 598, 494, 485
United Kingdom Independence Party 386, 361
Green 212
British National Party 100
Trade Unionist and Socialist 34

Candidates duly nominated: Jack CHEETHAM (Con), Stephen DUNKLING (Lab), Alex NELSON (Green), Ben ROBERTS (UKIP), Annette WOOKEY (Lib Dem)

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Kingston (and all the other London boroughs) following the re-organisation of local government in the capital and as a result have become the longest lasting councils in the whole of the UK (having not been touched by the hand of various secretaries of state creating unitary authorities). Back in those first elections in 1964, the Conservatives won control of the council with a majority of 20 but it was not over the Liberals, it was over Labour as back in the mid 60’s the idea of the Liberals winning a seat on the council, let alone controlling the council, was just a mere pipe dream.

It was not until 1974 that the first Liberals were elected, but just four years later they had been defeated and when they came back in 1982 the Conservatives were still solidly in charge. However that all changed in 1986 when the Alliance came within 2% of winning the popular vote and within two of becoming the largest party as they forced the council into a state of No Overall Control for the first time in the council’s history and it stayed that way until 1994 when on a wave of anti Conservative support the Liberal Democrats polled 42% of the vote and won control of the council which lasted for a whole four years before the Conservatives topped the poll by two and forced the council back into NOC, only for the Lib Dems to win it back in 2002 and then hold it in 2006 and 2010 before finally losing control back to the Conservatives this year so will this been seen as a referendum on the first six months of Conservative control of Kingston since 1982 or will UKIP use it to prove that in Liberal Democrat / Conservative battlegrounds such as the Kingston and Surbiton constituency the ward lies in, UKIP will decide who wins.

Ollerton on Nottinghamshire (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 34, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 8, Mansfield Independents 2, Independents 2 (Labour majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,603 (58%), Conservative 594 (22%), United Kingdom Independence Party 549 (20%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ben BRADLEY (Con), Colin HART (UKIP), Michael PRINGLE (Lab), Marylyn RAYNER (Lib Dem)

Nottinghamshire has for decades symbolised the dominance of Labour, you only have to look at some of the MP’s elected from the county to get an idea of this (Geoff Hoon from Ashfield, Paddy Tipping from Sherwood, John Mann in Bassetlaw, Vernon Coaker from Gedling) so it gives you an idea of the disaster that befell Labour in 2009 when, for the first time in it’s history, Nottinghamshire county went Conservative.

The Conservatives polled in that election 39% of the vote (+6% on 2005), Labour polled a miserly 25% (-10%), with all the other parties picking up the remainder and that 8% swing from Lab to Con saw the Conservatives pick up 10 seats and Labour lose 25 seats with the Liberal Democrats doubling their number of seats matching the Independents and allowing UKIP to win a seat.

So you can imagine what a huge relief it was to Ed Milliband that Nottingham was a Labour gain in 2013, and whilst there was a swing of 12% from Con to Lab the fact that UKIP gained some 16% as well gave everyone cause for concern so the question has to be can UKIP top off what has been an amazing year by winning another local by-election from Labour in a part of the world where (if the Euros were any indication) UKIP rule the roost.

Harry Hayfield

The by-elections tonight will be the last of 2014, but that does not mean I can now pack up shop until the New Year, on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I shall be reviewing the year in local by-elections and producing a Westminster forecast based on this year’s local by-elections


Local By-Election Preview : December 11th 2014

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

South Kintyre on Argyll and Bute (SNP defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Independents 15, Scottish National Party 13, Conservatives 4, Liberal Democrats 4 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,133 (46%)
Scottish National Party 203, 415 (25%)
Independents 63, 138, 167 (15%)
Liberal Democrats 351 (14%)
Candidates duly nominated: John ARMOUR (SNP), Charlotte HANBURY (Con), Michael KELLY (Lab), Joyce OXBORROW (Lib Dem)

A lot has changed in Argyll and Bute since the council was granted unitary status in 1995. Back then the constituency that the council covered was a Liberal Democrat / Conservative marginal with the SNP not that far behind and whilst today it is still a fairly marginal Liberal Democrat / Conservative battleground at Westminster at Holyrood it’s an SNP heartland and the council has changed a bit as well, in 1995 the Independents ruled the roost with 22 out of the 33 seats won by them but the introduction of STV back in 2007, like other heartlands, soon put a stop to that and it is only three months since Argyll said NO to Scottish independence so will the SNP be able to hold on or will this seat go the way of Oban South in May when Labour gained the seat on a swing of 28%

Gatehouse (Lib Dem defence) and Southcourt (Lab Defence) on Aylesbury Vale
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 38, Liberal Democrats 17, Labour 2, UKIP 2 (Conservative majority of 17)
Result of ward at last election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected

Liberal Democrats 622, 580
Conservatives 342, 288
Labour 279
United Kingdom Independence Party 256, 233
Candidates duly nominated: Graham CADLE (UKIP), Anders CHRISTENSEN (Lib Dem), George ENTECOTT (Ind), Mary HUNT (Green), Samantha NORTH (Con), Lucio TANGI (Lab)

Liberal Democrats 539, 412
Labour 442, 399
Conservatives 307, 234
United Kingdom Independence Party 211, 180
Candidates duly nominated: Brian ADAMS (UKIP), Peter AGORO (Lib Dem), Mark BATEMAN (Lab), Andrew KULIG (Green), Sarah SPROAT (Con)

The rolling greenery that makes up the Vale of Aylesbury should be a perfect reflection of solid Conservatism, but in 2003 the Conservatives were in a much weaker spot winning control of the council by just 1 seat (Con 30, Lib Dem 25, Ind 4) but as the Liberal Democrats started to weaken in 2007 the Conservatives leapt at the chance and made seven gains (four from the Lib Dems and three from the Independents) and when the Lib Dems fell back again in 2011 everyone assumed it would the Conservatives who would reap the benefit, so you can imagine the suprise when in fact the Conservatives only made one net gain. The real beneficaries were Labour who made their first appearance in the council chamber for at least eight years and UKIP who appeared having never won a seat before and with UKIP on a tear since 2013 who knows what could happen in this part of the world.

Toton and Chilwell Meadows on Broxtowe (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 18, Labour 17, Liberal Democrats 9 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 5)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,529, 1,491, 1,413
Labour 926, 925, 837
Liberal Democrats 377, 334, 304
United Kingdom Independence Party 305
Candidates duly nominated: Mia Rona KEE (Con), David PATRICK (Lab), Darryl PAXFORD (UKIP)

Nick Palmer (who was of course the MP for Broxtowe between 1997 and 2010) and who even based on the less optimistic of the polls published in recent months must be fairly confident of winning back his seat in May, has been no doubt pounding the streets of this ward over the past few weeks and with good reason. Broxtowe council has never really been able to make up it’s mind. Back in 2003, Labour had 15 seats, the Conservatives 14 and the Liberal Democrats 13 seats with a couple of Independents for good measure, by 2007, as Labour lost their shine, they lost seven seats and my word, did the gains go all over the place. Conservatives up 3, Liberal Democrats up 3 and even the BNP made a gain but the council still remained hung and although in 2011 Labour managed to recover their position by winning back all the seats they lost in 2007 and two extra, the Conservatives managed to be on top, but if Labour do gain this ward then they will be in the lead and ahead of next year’s general and local elections Labour would be doing badly indeed if they did not manage to gain the constituency and council.

Trelech on Carmarthenshire (Ind Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 28, Labour 23, Independents 22, Llanelli First 1 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 10)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Independent 471 (51%), Plaid Cymru 321 (35%), Liberal Democrat 133 (14%)
Candidates duly nominated: Jean LEWIS (Plaid), Hugh PHILLIPS (Ind), Selwyn RUNNETT (Lib Dem)

If you think that Broxtowe is hard to get a majority on, try Carmarthenshire on for size! Created in 1995 out of Carmarthen, Dinefwr and Llanelli councils, the first elections had Labour on 46% of the vote, with the Independents on 26% and Plaid Cymru on 13% and so you would assume that Labour would be within a whisker of forming a majority and whilst it is true that they had 38 seats out of the 81 up for election (just 3 short) their aim was thwrted by a combination of Independent (29), Plaid (7) and Others (3) who managed to muster 39 councillors and deny Labour control. Better luck in 1999 eh? Well, Labour only lost 4% of the vote (which considering the disasters it had elsewhere wasn’t too bad) however Plaid increased by 6% and those pesky Independents also rose to 25%. Net result: Labour 28, Independents 26, Plaid 13, another deadlocked council with the Independents and Plaid still on a combined 39. And so it carried on, 2004, Plaid polled the most votes (33%) to Labour’s 31% but the Independents won 32 seats and decided that they should have a go at running the council this time around. 2008 saw Plaid increase to 39% to Labour’s 23% but still those Independents still had 31 seats and effectively ran the show. So you might think that with Plaid winning the most votes for the third time in 2012 (38%) the Independents would finally give way. Au contraire! With 22 seats on the council they still have a say but these days of Independent dominance in Carmarthenshire may be on the way out as not only is the council under threat of being forced into Dyfed (Mark II) by Leighton Andrews, but Independents are a dying breed in Wales as demonstrated by Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys and so it is a strong change that in the next set of locals the Independents may not be able to wield anything like the power they once used to.

Kingsway on Halton (Lab Defence, unopposed in 2011)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 51, Liberal Democrats 3, Conservatives 2 (Labour majority of 46)
Result of ward at last election (2007): Labour 663 (64%), Conservative 201 (19%), Green 171 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: Brad BRADSHAW (UKIP), Duncan HARPER (Con), Paul MEARA (Lib Dem), Andrea WALL (Lab)

Whereas Broxtowe and Carmarthenshire have been impossible to create a majority on, in Halton the opposite is true, no one can stop Labour getting a majority. Since 2003, the Labour majority has been climbing and climbing. In 2003, Labour had a majority of 14, which dipped a little to 10 in 2007, but since 2010 the majority has exploded. Labour had a majority of 18 in 2010, then 32 in 2011, 44 in 2012 and now 46 in 2014 making Halton a virtual one party state, prime territory for UKIP to cause some damage.

Stamford North on Lincolnshire (Ind Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 36, UKIP 16, Labour 12, Lincolnshire Independents 8, Liberal Democrats 3, Independents 2 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Independent 775 (47%), Conservative 517 (32%), Labour 343 (21%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mark ASHBERRY (Lab), Harrish BISNAUTHSING (Lib Dem), Robert FOULKES (UKIP), Matthew LEE (Con), Max SAWYER (Lincolnshire Independents)

When you say Lincolnshire to people, at least two things immediately spring to mind. First is the fact that the county is as flat as a pancake and secondly, the tale of a person who is determined to get one over on the local gamekeepers.

“Success to ev’ry gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire, Success to every poacher that wants to sell a hare, Bad luck to ev’ry gamekeeper that will not sell his deer, Oh, ’tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year!”

And in Lincolnshire, there is not one party trying to get one over on the mainstream parties but two! The first is of course UKIP who in 2013 won 16 seats on the council (forcing it into No Overall Control) but the second are the Lincolnshire Independents (who also managed a bit of a barnstormer) polling 10% and winning 8 seats so with the Independent group not nominating a replacement for Cllr. Hicks we have ourselves a right royal rumble. Do those voters who elected Cllr. Hicks with a majority of 258 (16%) over the Conservatives switch to UKIP (as has been seen with other Independent defences across the country that UKIP have gained) or do they swing behind the Lincolnshire Independents (and allow them to increase their tally as they have done on North Kesteven council where they gained two seats back in June).

Elgin City North on Moray (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Independents 10, Scottish National Party 10, Conservatives 3, Labour 3 (No Overall Control, Ind and SNP short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 596, 515 (43%)
Labour 766 (30%)
Conservatives 448 (18%)
Independents 241 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Sandy COOPER (Ind), Morvern FORREST (Green), Craig GRAHAM (Lab), Alex GRIFFITHS (Con), Kirsty Ella REID (SNP), Ramsey URQUHART (UKIP)

Welcome to the slightly bizarre world of STV. A ward where (under the rules of FPTP) the SNP won, but thanks to STV it’s Labour who are defending the seat. Yes, STV can produce that and when you look at the votes cast in Moray you can get the impression of the SNP wondering what the reaction would be if they scrapped STV for local elections in Scotland.

In 2012, the SNP polled 10,124 votes in Moray (just under half the votes) whereas the Independents polled 7,386 votes (about a quarter) and yet both parties ended up with 10 seats each (just under half), the Conservatives polled 4,501 votes and Labour polled 2,351 votes and also ended up with three seats (despite you might think under pure PR the SNP having more seats than the Independents and the Conservatives having more seats than Labour).

So if the SNP did want to get rid of STV in local elections, what could they replace it with. D’Hondt PR perhaps, pure PR (1% votes = 1% seats) or might they even consider the idea of going on a national vote (SNP 32% of the seats, Labour 31% of the seats, Conservatives 13%, Independents 11%, Liberal Democrats 7%, Greens 2%)

Bransgore and Burley on New Forest (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 54, Liberal Democrats 6 (Conservative majority of 48)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,789, 1,539
Liberal Democrats 536
Labour 386
Candidates duly nominated: Brian CURWAIN (Lab), Richard FRAMPTON (Con), Roz MILLS (UKIP)

The New Forest in Hampshire is a typical Conservative bastion and yet it might suprise you to know that in 2003 it wasn’t. Of the 60 councillors elected, 32 were Conservative, 27 were Liberal Democrat and there was an Independent as well giving the Conservatives a majority of just 4. Oh, how things have changed eh?

But as we have seen on so many occasions, this is an area that is ripe for UKIP but with more and more focus on UKIP will they be able to strike in the heart of Conservative terrority or will those opposed to UKIP come out to vote for the person most likely to beat UKIP.

Washington East on Sunderland (Lab defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 63, Conservatives 8, Independents 4 (Labour majority of 51)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,254 (41%), UKIP 792 (26%), Conservative 767 (25%), Liberal Democrats 145 (5%), Trade Unionist and Socialist 75 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Alistair BAXTER (UKIP), Hilary JOHNSON (Con), Tony MURPHY (Green), Stephen O’BRIEN (Lib Dem), Tony TAYLOR (Lab)

Say what you will about Sunderland being a one party state (63 Labour councillors out of 75) but you have to admire them from an electoral sense. Every election since 1992 Sunderland South has been the first seat to declare and at the next election, Sunderland will be trying for a feat that I cannot imagine as ever been accomplished before, the treble treble. In 2005, the first seats to be declared were Sunderland South, Sunderland North and Houghton and Washington East.

In 2010, it was Houghton and Sunderland South, Washington and Sunderland West followed by Sunderland Central. Given their speed I would be very suprised indeed if anyone managed to come within five minutes of Sunderland doing it again with all three seats declared before any other result comes in. So in that regard, Sunderland, if this result doesn’t come in by 10.30pm this evening I will be shocked.

Cox Green on Windsor and Maidenhead Royal (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 51, Independents 5, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative majority of 45)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,489, 1,419, 1,270
Liberal Democrats 914, 863, 847
Labour 269, 247, 225
British National Party 142
Candidates duly nominated: Lance CARTER (UKIP), Robert HORNER (Lab), Gareth JONES (Lib Dem), Ross McWILLIAMS (Con)

It really is a demonstration of how the Lib Dems have crashed and burned in some parts of the country that Windsor and Maidenhead Royal (a council with a Liberal Democrat majority of 11 in 2003) is now a virtual one party state for the Conservatives and the reason for this crashing and burning? The 2005 general election. In 1997, the constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead was split into it’s two component parts both of which were solid Conservative wins (even with the Labour landslide), however in 2001 the Liberal Democrats made a very big play for Maidenhead and notched up a very impressive 8% swing from Con to Lib Dem and turned it into a marginal which their election win in 2003 seemed to suggest that the Conservatives were in trouble. That’s when the Lib Dems made their mistake.

They announced that they were going to “decapitate” the Conservative front bench. Oliver Letwin (Dorset West), David Davies (Haltemprice), Tim Collins (Westmorland), Theresa May (Maidenhead) and even Michael Howard (Folkestone and Hythe) were all going to go by the wayside at that election and the Liberal Democrats would become the new opposition. That was a bad move as the Conservative moved all their troops into those constituencies and created a buffer as a result they all held their seats with pro Conservative swings (bar Westmorland and Lonsdale) and in Maidenhead there was a 3% swing back to the Conservatives which was reflected in 2007 when the Conservatives gained control of the council and beat the Liberal Democrats into a cocked hat, a process that was accelerated on in 2011 and very nearly produced Lib Dem wipe-out on a council they had controlled just 4 years previously.

Harry Hayfield


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