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A closer look at one of tonight’s local council by elections

September 5th, 2019

James Blundell looks at tonight’s by election in Coventry.

Away from the hubbub in Westminster, there is the upcoming Wainbody ward by-election which is the southernmost ward in Coventry where I grew up and has historically been a very safe ward for the Conservatives. It is relatively affluent and firmly middle class, my estimate for the leave vote there would probably be 55-60 even though we have no definitive figures. Due to the passing of Gary Crookes, a well-liked councillor who has served for many years a by-election is scheduled for the 5th September.

Here are the results from last time, on 3rd May 2018:

Crookes Conservative 1867 51.4%

Jobbar Labour 1271 34.5%

Morshead LD 204 5.6%

Mcavoy-Boss Green 182 5.0%

Ireland UKIP 109 3.0%

There is no Green candidate running this time round, and I know the Lib Dems are making a real effort as my parents received their literature for the first time ever ! The Conservative candidate, Mattie Heaven assisted by fellow standing councillors John Blundell (Dad !) and Tim Sawdon has taken nothing for granted in the election. WM Mayor Andy Street has also assisted in the conservative campaign.

The Tory and Lib Dem literature acknowledges how well liked Gary Crookes was, and also focuses on opposition to development in Kings Hill. There is more of a national focus in the Lib Dem literature, on potential job losses through a no-deal Brexit (The candidate works at JLR), whereas the Tory literature sticks firmly to local issues. I have not seen either the Brexit or Labour literature as none has been delivered to my parents’ door.

I expect the ward to be a Conservative hold with Labour likely going backward as they have done in aggregate with all by-elections this year thus far. Can the Lib Dems or Brexit spring a surprise? Perhaps but I think it unlikely. The runners are Brexit, Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem.

James Blundell