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Local By-Election Preview : January 29th 2015

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)
David DICKSON, Michael HOLLINS (UKIP)
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