h1

Local By-Election Preview : October 30th 2014

October 30th, 2014

Canvey Island East on Castle Point (Canvey Island Independent Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 20, Canvey Island Independents 16, United Kingdom Independence Party 5 (No Overall Control, Conservatives short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Canvey Island Independent 595 (48%), Conservative 291 (23%), Independent 195 (16%), Labour 158 (13%)
Candidates duly nominated: Colin Letchford (Ind), Chas Mumford (Con), John Payne (Canvey Island Independent), Jackie Reilly (Lab)

Castle Point Conservatives must be scratching their heads wonder “What on earth can we do?”. The reason for this pondering, the council’s electoral history. Back in 2003, Castle Point was a Conservative bastion (39 Conservatives out of a 41 member council) and in 2004 the Canvey Island Independents made their first appearance but didn’t do anything to trouble the Conservative majority. However by 2006, it was clear that they were making advances as they made six gains all at the cost of the Conservatives, however by 2008 they had reached a ceiling and the Conservative majority stayed at nine with both sides involved in a battle of attrition that always resulted in a score draw. And then came UKIP, who in 2014 made five gains all at the expense of the Conservatives and made what was once a Conservative bastion into a hung council which might probably explain why, in a part of the country they should do well in, there is no UKIP candidate.

Sandsfield East on Neath and Port Talbot (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 52, Plaid Cymru 8, Independents 3, Social Democrats 1 (Labour majority of 40)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,041, 879, 750 (53%)
Independents 1,116, 622 (34%)
Ratepayers 669 (13%)
Candidates duly nominated: Matthew Crowley (Lab), Richard Minshull (Con), Keith Suter (UKIP)

Neath and Port Talbot is one of those councils that you know the result of even before a single ballot has been cast. The reason? 1995: Labour majority of 37, 1999: Labour majority of 16, 2004: Labour majority of 7, 2008: Labour majority of 10, 2012: Labour majority of 40. Even in the worst times of the Labour disaster, Labour still held on here (with a vote share in 2004 of 47%). So having had one or two disappointments in the last couple of weeks (and in order to prove that they are not just taking votes from Conservatives but Labour as well), UKIP need to finish a very strong second here or even win.

North Coast and Cumbraes on North Ayrshire (SNP defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Scottish National Party 12, Labour 11, Independents 6, Conservative 1 (No Overall Control, SNP short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 1,705, 1090 (45%)
Labour 1,144 (19%)
Conservative 1,143 (18%)
Independent 1,017 (16%)
Socialist Labour Party 124 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Drew Cochrane (Ind), Toni Dawson (Con), Meilan Henderson (UKIP), Grace McLean (SNP), Valerie Reid (Lab)

When North Ayrshire first came into existence in 1995, the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Labour won by a landslide wining 26 out of the 30 seats available, 1999 saw them lose just the one seat, and in 2003 they only lost another four still giving them an overall majority of 12 and the opposition must have begun to think “Well, all we can hope for is a Labour disaster on the scale of 1983 and then perhaps they will lost overall control”, but in 2007, Labour did lose overall control but not because of a disastrous poll rating (in fact in those elections Labour polled 32%, only slightly down on their 2003 score) what happened was that thanks to the previous Holyrood coalition, these elections were now fought under the Single Transferable Vote and as a result Labour won 12 seats (40% of the seats) on a 32% vote share making them the largest party on the council but without an overall majority and following the SNP landslide in 2011 when the 2012 elections were held, that trend continued with Labour losing just the one seat but thanks to the SNP making 4 gains, they became the largest grouping (a position they would love to defend especially given Alex Salmond’s intention to stand for Westminster and North Ayrshire only rejecting independence by less than 2,000 votes)

Ironbridge Gorge (Lab defence) and Newport West (Con defence) on Telford and the Wrekin
Result of council at last election (2011): Labour 33, Conservatives 17, Liberal Democrats 3, Independent 1 (Labour majority of 12)
Result of wards at last election (2011)
Ironbridge Gorge: Labour 589 (53%), Conservative 523 (47%)
Candidates duly nominated: Elizabeth Mollett (Con), Richard Soame (UKIP), Ken Stringer (Lab)

Newport West: Conservative 606 (64%), Labour 341 (36%)
Candidates duly nominated: Warwick McKenzie (UKIP), Phil Norton (Lab), Rodney Pitt (Con), Peter Scott (Ind)

Telford and the Wrekin (named after the latest of the new towns and the mountain not that far from it) is one of these councils that has retained it’s name, but very little besides. Back in 2003, it was part of Shropshire county and was the only council to be controlled by Labour in the whole county, if only by a majority of 4. However in 2007, that control went out of the window as the Conservatives forced it into No Overall Control with 12 gains (ten of which came from Labour). But by 2011, when Labour regained control of the council, Shropshire as a county was no more. It had become a unitary authority (so gone was Shrewsbury and Atcham, North Shropshire, South Shropshire and Bridgnorth) leaving Telford as a unitary authority in it’s own right and being the only Labour controlled council west of Wolverhampton.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Labour 74,615 (51%), English Democrats 22,608 (16%), Conservative 21,075 (15%), United Kingdom Independence Party 16,773 (12%), Liberal Democrats 10,223 (7%)
Labour elected on the first round with a majority of 52,007 (36%)

Local Area Results:
Barnsley: Lab 12,393 (56%), Eng Dems 2,996 (14%), Con 2,940 (13%), UKIP 2,400 (11%), Lib Dems 1,325 (6%)
Doncaster: Lab 17,017 (49%), Eng Dems 7,321 (21%), Con 5,433 (16%), UKIP 3,232 (9%), Lib Dems 1,694 (5%)
Rotherham: Lab 16,374 (51%), Eng Dems 5,034 (16%), UKIP 4,737 (15%), Con 4,660 (15%), Lib Dems 1,211 (4%)
Sheffield: Lab 28,831 (51%), Con 8,042 (14%), Eng Dems 7,257 (13%), UKIP 6,404 (11%), Lib Dems 5,933 (11%)
Candidates duly nominated: David Allen (Eng Dems), Alan Billings (Lab), Jack Clarkson (UKIP), Ian Walker (Con)

So far this Parliament there have been 18 by-elections (excluding Northern Ireland) and of those 18, 14 have been in Labour seats. Of those 14, Labour have held 13 and in those 13, UKIP have come second in six of them (in choronological order Barnsley Central (March 2011), Middlesborough (November 2012), Rotherham (November 2012), South Shields (May 2013), Wythenshawe and Sale East (February 2014) and Heywood and Middleton (October 2014)), two of which lie inside the area covered by the South Yorkshire Police Force, so you can see why Labour are very much scared of either being forced into a runoff with UKIP or, in the worst case scenario, seeing their second preference votes deciding between UKIP and the English Democrats.