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


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


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