PoliticsHome By-election Breakdown
PoliticsHome looks at this week's local by-elections and predicts who's in, who's out, who's lost the plot.
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Charnwood BC, Loughborough Hastings Ward
2011 election results: Lab 1163/1104, Con 612/492
2015 election result : Lab 1339/1241, Con 690/606, UKIP 506, Green 416
An interesting one to start this week’s rundown, with two seats up for grabs in the Loughborough Hastings ward. In a curious and yet unexplained coincidence, two Labour councillors (Anne Williams and Sarah Maynard Smith) resigned during the same weekend, both over ‘family issues.’
In a cunning attempt to consolidate their vote, the Conservatives have only put up one candidate, the battle-hardened Jane Hunt, who went toe-to-toe with Keith Vaz MP in 2010 in nearby Leicester East. Previous results here would suggest an easy Labour hold, but with the Tories only standing one candidate to try and shore up their vote, will their divide and conquer strategy work? Probably not.
Breaking from the usually impeccable #ToryDigital campaign strategy, Jane Hunt’s Twitter profile picture appears to show her caressing a cat with a Theresa May leaflet, rather than showing voters what she actually looks like.
Prediction: Labour Hold x 2
Derbyshire Dales DC, Ashbourne South Ward
2011 election results: Con 883/583, Lab 464
2015 election results: Con 1388/1187, Lab 596, Green 527
If the stonking Tory majorities of the past are not enough to boost the Conservative candidate in Ashbourne, he has also been graced with the presence of one-man campaign machine and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin. Seemingly oblivious to cliché, Mr McLoughlin assures Twitter of a very positive response on the doorstep. Thank heavens for that.
Prediction: Tory Hold
Herefordshire UA Kings Acre Ward
2015 election results: IOCH 775, LD 517, Ind 257
Next, we are over to the majestic sounding Kings Acre Ward. Newly created in 2015, the ward was only contested by It’s Our County, the Liberal Democrats, and an Independent. As we are in the peculiar situation of the Conservatives and Labour standing for the first time in the ward, it’s a pretty tough one to call. Doing her best for the Lib Dems is “Titanic” Lucy Hurds, who has been an unsuccessful PPC in Hereford seats in the 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections. Given this seat was represented by former Lib Dem Defence spokesman, the late Paul Keetch from 1997 to 2010 there might be some small hope of a revival here.
However, our money is still on current incumbents, It’s Our County, to hold the seat. They are standing Matthew Bushkes, a city councillor, and owner of a great big bushy beard that puts Jeremy Corbyn to shame.
Prediction: It’s Our County Hold
Kirklees MB Batley East ward
2014 election results: Lab 2670, Ind 1356, Con 527, Green 386, LD 262, TUSC 181
2015 election results: Lab 5321, Con 2194, LD 463, Green 359, TUSC 122
2016 election results: Lab 3487, Con 594,Ind 512, LD 248, Green 156
Former Labour Councillor Amanda Stubley was suspended from the party following a verbal dust-up with some far-right activists during the parliamentary by-election following Jo Cox’s death. Outraged at her treatment by the party, she quit Labour and sat as an independent. Citing ill-health caused by the stress of the whole palaver, she was unable to attend council meetings for six months, resulting in her being disqualified as a councillor.
There is likely to be a dull end to this particularly unpleasant episode, with a strong Labour hold extremely likely.
The only gaiety comes from former UKIP candidate Aleks Lukic, who has replaced one acronym for another and is standing for LIHWD, or as they are known on the streets, Local Independents Heavy Wool District. Catchy.
Prediction: Labour Hold
Mid Sussex DC East Grinstead Imberhorne Ward
2011 election results: Con 955/794, LD 865/671
2015 election results: Con 1706/1589, Lab 581, UKIP 531
The Conservatives are defending a seat on the western side of East Grinstead following the death in August of Cllr Robert Mainstone, who had served since 2007. He had also served as Mayor of the town last year. This ward is within the safe Tory seat of Mid Sussex, held by Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, and serial misuser of hashtags.
Whilst everything would point to a comfortable Conservative hold, not least the cause of the by-election, it is worth noting the ward elected two Lib Dems in 2003 & 2007. In 2011 whilst a Conservative topped the poll, it became a split ward with the winning Lib Dem only 90 votes behind.
The last time this ward was contested in 2015, the Lib Dems did not stand for reasons unknown to us leaving it a comfortable win for both Conservative candidates and Labour and UKIP slugging it out for the 3rd and 4th place. The defending Conservative candidate, local business owner Fraser Visser is the proud recipient of an infamous Soames hashtag.
This week’s contest sees Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems all contesting the ward and an Independent candidate joining the fray. There is also a Town Council by-election taking place on the same day as the former Cllr held both seats. It will be interesting (to a handful of political anoraks) to note any difference in the results for both the District and the Town Councils
Tameside MB, Droylsden East Ward
2012 election results: Lab 1640 , UKIP 480, BNP 236, Con 221, Green 80
2014 election results: Lab 1431, UKIP 1168,Con 250, Green 163
2015 election results: Lab 2826, UKIP 1698, Green 399, Ind 299
Finally, we find ourselves oop North in Greater Manchester, where a council seat has come loose from the back of the scrum after a Labour Councillor with TWENTY SEVEN years of service has resigned. It is always a positive sign when the political heavyweights come out to bat for you, which is good news for local Labour candidate David Mills. He has been reinforced by the local MP, none other than Shadow Education Spokesperson Angela Rayner. Despite coming a healthy second for the last five years, UKIP have decided to stay at home with a warm ale, giving Mr Mills an open goal.
Prediction: Labour Hold
A massive credit goes to our fellow council by-election fanatics on the Vote UK Forum where we got our previous vote totals from.