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.
The views for our first week's breakdown defied expectations, so we are here for the foreseeable future, much to the chagrin of the cooler members of the PoliticsHome team. A big thanks to all the niche politics geeks out there.
Arun DC, Aldwick West Ward
May 2015 result C 1962/1397 UKIP 1122 LD 698/635
We start off this week’s breakdown with probably the least exciting of all our seats. UKIP has stood aside in Aldwick West, meaning that the Conservatives should be able to bat away any challengers with ease. Having not stood a candidate last time, the Labour party has put forward retired postman Ian Manion. Despite his efforts to get out his leaflets, a stonking Conservative majority is still looking very likely. At least he probably has had plenty of previous experience in delivering junk mail...
Prediction: Con Hold
Buckinghamshire CC, Beaconsfield Division
May 2017 result C 1828 LD 424 Lab 179 UKIP 175
May 2013 result C 1366 UKIP 590 LD 299
South Bucks DC, Beaconsfield North Ward
May 2015 result C 1285 UKIP 207
This week we have two by-elections covering the Buckinghamshire town of Beaconsfield, following the death of Alan Walters who sat on both Buckinghamshire County Council and South Bucks District Council. Both seats are a two-way fight between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
Perhaps the most notable, and odd, thing about this contest is Labour’s failure to put up a candidate in a seat in which it took second place in the 2017 General Election. Talking of Labour losers in the area, political anoraks may remember this constituency for the 1982 by-election, where one Anthony Charles Lynton Blair lost his deposit. He went on to be selected and elected in a safe Labour seat the following year. And the rest is history….
The Lib Dems have managed to find two
sacrificial lambs candidates to face off against the big blue machine.
Prediction: Conservative Hold x2
North Devon Council, Braunton East Ward
May 2015 result C 802/769 LD 766/764 Grn 467/348 Lab 158 TUSC 54
May 2011 result C 621/489 LD 517/495 Grn 276/191 Lab 173
We are only into week two of our regular by-election feature and already the PoliticsHome team have come to blows over a prediction. The split comes over this highly marginal seat on North Devon Council, where totally non-stereotypical Tory, Felix Milton - financial adviser, faces off against the sharp end of the LibDems, Derrick Spear. Pictured here staring into a phone box.
The Braunton East contest includes (largely irrelevant) Labour and Green candidates making it a fatal four way. A hot tip from a Lib Dem source indicates that they are quietly confident of a gain here after attracting some Lib Dem campaign muscle to the seat. Having held the parliamentary seat for 43 out of the last 56 years, this could be a prime candidate for #LibDemFightback (is that still a thing?). The only concern is if a stronger than expected showing from Labour and the Greens here enables the Conservatives to hang on to this seat on a reduced turnout.
Prediction: Lib Dem Gain (maybe, possibly)
Copeland Borough Council, Egremont South Ward
May 2015 result Lab 915/732/623 C 518 Ind 511/379 Grn 168
May 2011 result Lab 803/694/676 C 398/374 Ind 295
This seat falls within the parliamentary seat of Copeland, a constituency sure to quicken the heartbeat of many a Tory activist, which was snatched from Labour in a by-election in February 2017.
Copeland was the first by-election gain by a sitting Government since 1982, and was perhaps the catalyst for Theresa May calling her super successful, strong and stable, General Election….
Labour could still be mildly concerned about a strong showing from the Tories here after their recent advances in Cumbria, not just in Copeland but in neighbouring Barrow and Furness where Corbyn critic John Woodcock narrowly held on by 209 votes in the General Election and in nearby Westmorland and Lonsdale, reducing Tim Farron’s majority to a meagre 777 votes.
Jeff Hailes, the Conservative candidate, is this week’s winner of the #ToryDigital fail award. A series of extremely blurry images, cycled through at seizure inducing speed. A certain voter winner…
Prediction: Labour Hold
Sefton MBC, Dukes Ward
May 2016 result LD 1496 C 927 Lab 438 UKIP 349 Grn 107
May 2015 result C 2186 LD 1689 Lab 991 UKIP 967 Grn 283
May 2014 result C 1117 LD 969 UKIP 682 Lab 368 Southport Party 249 Grn 166
The final contest this week alphabetically speaking, offers an opportunity for the former Southport MP Dr John Pugh to return to public office, with him having stood down at the 2017 General Election. You may remember him as the man who launched a Schapps-esque coup against Nick Clegg. Then again, you might not.
Plotting aside, the Pughgilist (sorry) is our firm favourite to KO the Tory candidate as they Duke it out (sorry again) for this council seat.
John Pugh’s interests surprisingly include weight-lifting, but the only gainz we see him making are electoral.
Prediction: Lib Dem Gain
The running tally for our predictions is: 6/7
Once again, thanks to our friends over on the Vote UK forums for the previous vote figures!