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Local By-Election Preview : September 11th 2014

September 12th, 2014

Castle on Carlisle (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 29, Conservatives 19, Independents 2, Liberal Democrats 2 (Labour majority of 6)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Labour 539 (42%), Liberal Democrats 438 (34%), Greens 135 (10%), TUSC 90 (7%), BNP 84 (7%)
Candidates duly nominated: Robert Currie (Con), Richard Hunt (Green), Lawrence Jennings (Lib Dem), Fiona Mills (UKIP), Alan Taylor (Lab)

Carlisle was never really a Lib Dem bright spot even at the best of times, but Castle has been a tale of woe upon woe upon woe. Between 2003 and 2010, this was a Lib Dem heartland in Carlisle with the Lib Dems racking up well over 60% of the vote on some occasions, however that all came to a crashing stop in 2010 as they held the ward by a mere 14 votes and then the losses started coming. In 2011, Lab gained the first seat on a swing of 16.5% swing from Lib Dem to Lab, in 2012 the second seat was gained on a swing of 29% and this year the third seat was gained on a swing of 13.5% but with the added embarrasment for the Lib Dems of slumping into fourth place behind the Conservatives with UKIP gaining second place from a standing start.

Castle on Cumbria (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 35, Conservatives 26, Liberal Democrats 16, Independents 7 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 8)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 460 (41%), Liberal Democrats 263 (24%), UKIP 227 (20%), Conservatives 120 (11%), Greens 45 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: James Bainbridge (Con), Neil Boothman (Green), Lawrence Jennings (Lib Dem), Alan McGuckin (Lab), John Stanyer (UKIP)

If the Castle ward on Carlisle has been a disaster, then the county ward has been a complete nightmare for the Lib Dems. In 2005, they held the ward with a majority of 84 (4%) against Labour on 40% and the Conservatives on 16%. As part of the famed Labour collapse of 2009, they held the ward with a majority of 127 (10%) because the Lib Dem vote also fell some 10% thanks to first time candidacies from the Greens and the BNP and so there was always going to be a chance that Labour would gain the ward in 2013 and they did on a 14% swing from Lib Dem to Lab (which the Lib Dems coming just a mere 36 votes ahead of UKIP (who polled 20% from a standing start) and with the same five parties standing in the by-election as stood in the county elections a mere 15 months ago will UKIP take advantage of their publicity post Clacton and be able to put themselves forward as the new alternative to Labour?

Collingham and Meering (Con Defence) and Ollerton (Lab Defence) on Newark and Sherwood
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 22, Labour 15, Independents 6, Liberal Democrats 3 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected

Collingham and Meering
Conservatives 1,095, 1,092
Liberal Democrats 579
Candidates duly nominated: Sara Chadd (UKIP), David Clarke (Ind), Kieran Owen (Lab), Richard Shillito (Con)

Ollerton
Labour 1,056, 997, 906
Conservatives 562, 464
Independents 467, 312
Candidates duly nominated: Mary Brown (Con), Mortiz Dawkins (UKIP), Michael Pringle (Lab)

Ah, Newark and Sherwood, part of the constituency of Newark which saw the first Conservative by-election HOLD whilst in government since 1989 (when a certain William Hague was elected) where UKIP threw everything bar the kitchen sink at it and came up some seven thousand short of winning (despite carrying the local count area in the European elections), so it’s understandable that UKIP might have felt a little disappointed with that but here are two prime UKIP areas just begging to be GAINED. A Conservative heartland (where the Conservative vote is weighed) and a Labour heartland (where in the last by-election a few years ago, Labour held the ward without an election). Will the UKIP magic hold here or will we see an electorate starting to tire of UKIP, after all for the electors in Collingham this will their third election in 18 months (Counties 2013, Euros 2014, Newark by-election)

Beckton on Newham (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 60 (Labour unopposed in the council chamber)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,789, 1,778, 1,713
Conservatives 1,033, 731, 615
Christian People’s Alliance 242, 204, 180
Candidates duly nominated: Syed Ahmed (Con), Mark Dunne (TUSC), Jane Lithgow (Green), David Mears (UKIP), Kayode Shewodo (Christian Peoples Alliance), David Thorpe (Lib Dem), Tonii Wilson (Lab)

Even during the darkest times of Labour local election bloodbaths, Newham has always been a pinnacle of Labour dominance. Never falling below fifty councillors (the lowest was 54 in 2006), Labour have dominated this part of London with only occasional opposition from the Christian’s People Alliance (3 seats in 2006) and Respect (3 seats in 2006) with both parties repulsed in 2010 and so therefore you would assume the perfect place for UKIP to come storming in. Or at least they would do, if it wasn’t for the fact that UKIP have a definite problem when it comes to London. In London as a whole in the European Elections, UKIP polled a respectable 17% (+7% on 2009) however that 17% covered a multitude of sins. Hackney saw UKIP poll 5% (unchanged on 2009), Havering saw UKIP poll 44% (+17% on 2009) and in Newham they polled 8% (+2% on 2009) suggesting that in Labour dominated areas UKIP are flogging a dead horse.

Abingdon, Dunmore on Vale of the White Horse (Lib Dem Defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservative 31, Liberal Democrats 19, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 11)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 951, 831
Liberal Democrats 868, 673
Labour 249
Green 236
Candidates duly nominated: Margaret Crick (Lib Dem), Michael Gould (Lab), Christopher Parkes (UKIP), Andrew Todd (Con)

And whilst we are on the subject of horses, the Vale of the White Horse is exactly a Liberal Democrat glory area either. From a Lib Dem majority of 7 in 2003 to a Conservative majority of 11 in eight years (encapsulating the net loss of 10 Lib Dem councillors) the Euros weren’t that encouraging either as the Lib Dems polled 14% of the vote (just 2% ahead of Labour and 3% ahead of the Greens) which was a full 6% lower than they polled in 2009 which itself was 3% lower than in 2004 suggesting that there has been a long and steady decline in Lib Dem fortunes in this part of Oxfordshire.