UPDATE: By-election Breakdown 08/03/2018
PoliticsHome looks at this week's local by-elections and predicts who's in, who's out, who's lost the plot.
RESULTS UPDATE - If you don't want to know the scores, then look away now
Mea culpa, dear readers. We have failed you. Some wild results last night means that we only called 50% of the results correctly. Lets crack the tape and see what went down.
Good day on the doorstep? Bad night at the ballot box for the Tories who have been absolutely rinsed in all the seats they were defending last night.
In Rochester they got routed by Labour, in Dacorum they got smashed by the Lib Dems and in both the Oakham and East Hampshire seats they got scooped by independentss. With less than two months to go before the May local elections, this must be a pretty worrying night for the party of Government.
But it wasn't all sunshine and red roses for Labour last night. Drafting in a top team of local activists and Momentum types was not enough to stop them getting ousted from the seat by the local Farnworth and Kearsley First party, who spent a chunk of their election campaign in a war of words with UKIP over a church hall. That Momentum menace might be looking slightly less scary now...
Of course, the result we were all waiting for was the Bus Pass Elvis party who shockingly only pulled in 0.9% of the total vote. It is worth reminding readers that Lord Biro gave the Ol' One-Two to the Liberal Democrats back in 2014
With his traditional bonhomie and sharp wit, then leader Nick Clegg said: "It is a new one for us to be competing against the Bus Pass Elvis Party."
Here are the results in full:
Wollaton West (Nottingham): Labour GAIN from Conservative.
Farnworth (Bolton): Farnworth & Kearsley First GAIN from Labour.
Oakham South East (Rutland): Independent GAIN from Conservative.
Rochester West (Medway): Labour GAIN from Conservative.
Northchurch (Dacorum): Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative
Droylsden East (Tameside): Labour HOLD
Petersfield Bell Hill (East Hampshire): Independent GAIN from Conservative
Little Parndon & Hare Street (Harlow): Labour HOLD
Bolton MB, Farnworth Ward (Labour resigned, 6 candidates: Green, UKIP, Con, Lab, Farnworth & Kearsley First, Lib Dem)
2012 election results: Lab 1557, Con 320, Green 263, LD 178
2014 election results: Lab 1454, UKIP 1108, Con211, Green115, LD 73
2015 election results: Lab 2703, UKIP 1626, Con 723, Green 178, LD 144
2016 election results: Lab 1417, UKIP 1066, Con 233, Green 103, LD 89
A major row to start of the week as UKIP and Farnworth and Kearsley First go to war over the use of a church hall. It doesn’t get more local politics than that folks.
The small local party had been using a local church hall to host its meetings before an inquiry from a UKIP councillor saw them booted out and banned from using it.
It seems that the UKIP councillor had made an innocent inquiry into why the Farnsworth and Kearsley First party had been allowed to meet there, when church guidelines had been to only permit the use of the hall for multi-party forums. As a result, the small party has been banned from any further use.
The party fumed to The Bolton News: “It all feels like very dirty tricks, that’s what it is. We’re aware of dirty tricks in campaigning, we’re not naive
“But to do that really does epitomise how scared they are.”
But confident that the loss of their meeting place will not hold them back from delivering a sound thumping in today’s contest, they added: “It is very annoying that they would stoop to that, our only hope is that it hit them right back in the face and they get their comeuppance politically.”
Taking advantage of the on-going stramash is the local Labour party who seem to have put a fairly strong ground effort into place. Their candidate, Rebecca Minors, has had the support from both the local party, and the Bolton Momentum branch.
To show just how hard they have been working, they have deployed the double-whammy campaign tweet: dreadful weather and a good reception on the doorstep. What troopers.
We reckon this will be a pretty easy hold for the Reds.
Prediction: Labour Hold
Harlow DC, Little Parndon & Hare Street Ward (Labour resigned, 3 candidates: UKIP, Con, Lab)
2010 election results: Lab 1635, Con 1267, LD 613
2011 election results: Lab 1270, Con 722, LD 137
2012 election results: Lab 1099, Con 521, LD 100
2014 election results: Lab 879, UKIP 680, Con 442
2016 election results: Lab 1021, Con 492, UKIP 365
Harlow has always been a bell-weather parliamentary seat and as recently as 2005 only 97 votes and three recounts separated the winning Labour candidate, former minister Bill Rammell from Tory Robert Halfon. Mr Halfon got the last laugh five years later winning in 2010 and successfully defending the seat twice since then.
This is a safe ward for Labour and they look set to hold it comfortably if activity on twitter today is anything to go by.
Interestingly, the Conservatives are using the promotional poster for a Labour/Communist party joint event to try and warn voters off voting Labour. Expect this one to turn up time and time again as we get closer to May.
We have the exclusive on what took place that meeting here….You never know who’s going to turn up on the door.
Prediction: Labour Hold
Medway UA, Rochester West Ward (Conservative resigned on appointment to Government, 5 candidates: Green, Con, UKIP, Lab, Lib Dem)
2003 election results: Con 1297/1218, Lab 581/572, LD 229/228, Ind 149/121, UKIP 59
2007 election results: Con 1484/1320, Lab 830/725, UKIP 328, Medway Ind 315/313
2011 election results: Con 1658/1336, Lab 1029/851, Green 280/208, LD 246/195, EDP 88
2015 election results: Con 2418/1884, Lab 1169/1054 ,UKIP 1131/1066, Green 575/405, LD 206/142,TUSC 65
A politician steps aside from their role to spend more time in frontline politics? Resign!
That is exactly what Assistant Government Whip Kelly Tolhurst has done to create this vacancy on Medway Council. She has been a councillor 2011.
Medway Labour will fancy their chances here on a reduced turnout to boost the morale of their troops but we suspect the Conservatives will hold on here.
A Conservative supporting twitter account has uncovered that the Labour candidate Alex Paterson, who describes himself as a press officer, is in fact according to linkedin, a Senior Digital & Comms Officer for the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party, based in Westminster.
We wonder if any of the seven Scottish Labour MPs are hitting the phones for this contest or pounding the pavements of Rochester? There is a decent team of Labour activists out door knocking today judging by a tweet so it could prove a tight result like several in the last few weeks but we still predict a Conservative hold here.
Prediction: Conservative Hold
Nottingham City Council, Wollaton West Ward (Conservative died, 5 candidates: Bus Pass Elvis, Con, Green, LD, Lab)
2011 election results: Con 2870/2646/2593, Lab 2018/1938/1753, LD 770/601/506
2015 election results: Lab 3855/2516/2492, Con 3513/3501/3215, UKIP 928, LD 701/526/513,Green 93
The Bus Pass Elvis party are running with a raft of serious policies this time around:
A new toilet for the ward
Turn an abandoned pub into a vegetarian casino called “Viva Las Vegans”
High time someone came forward with some fresh and exciting policies.
Despite the strength of the efforts of Bus Pass Elvis here we suspect it is a really race between the Conservatives and Labour. The numbers in 2015 indicate that Labour topped the poll here with one candidate massively outperforming the other 2, which enable 2 Conservatives to win the other 2 seats here. We suspect that Labour will take this seat and note that the local MP Lilian Greenwood has been out today to get the Labour vote out.
Prediction: Labour Gain
Rutland UA, Oakham SE Ward (Conservative resigned: 2 candidates: Con, ND)
2003 Con unopp, Ind unopp
2007 election results: Con 510/501, UKIP 256
2011 election results: Con 602/489, LD 449
2015 election results: Ind 573/468, Con 570/524, LD 327
A bit of a mysterious one here. Our sources are tapped and the internet is quiet.
Based on a few whispers from the by-election underground scene, we suspect the Independent candidate will take this seat from the Conservatives in what is quite literally a two horse race
Prediction: Independent Gain
Tameside MB, Droylsden East (Labour died, 4 candidates: Lab, LD, Con, Green)
2010 election results: Lab 2761, BNP 824, LD 671, UKIP 269
2011 election results: Lab 2378, Con 948, UKIP 367
2012 election results: Lab 1640,UKIP 480, BNP 236, Con 224, Green 90
2014 election results: Lab 1431, UKIP 1168, Con 250, Green 163
2015 election results: Lab 2826, UKIP 1698, Green 399, Ind 299
2016 election results: Lab 1449, UKIP 948. Con 256, Green 166
The terminal decline of UKIP has resulted in a number of these quite odd contests where the strong second place finisher for a number of years does not even bother to stand a candidate.
The Tories are trailing well behind and if the entire UKIP vote was to switch to the Tories (deeply unlikely given previous splits), Labour would still comfortably hold this seat.
We don’t see them having a problem holding on in Tameside. The contest was triggered by the sudden death of the former Council Leader Kieran Quinn. By all accounts he was a very hard working community leader and in this circumstances it is even less likely that there will be anything other than a sizable Labour victory.
Prediction: Labour Hold
Dacorum BC, Northchurch Ward (Conservative died, 4 candidates: Lab, Con, Green, Lib Dem)
2003 election results: Con 403, LD 247, Lab 53
2007 election results: Con 627, LD 203, Lab 66
2011 election results: Con 731, LD 190, Lab 144
2015 election results: Con 980, LD 305, Lab 199, Green 141
In a desperate bid to grab this seat from the comfortably entrenched Conservatives, the Labour candidate has pledged that if he wins he will donate his entire council salary to a local anti-speeding campaign. Very honourable.
Less honourable? A bit of desperate scrabbling to present yourself as the protest candidate.
Will it work?
This is probably the seat that will bag the Lib Dems their highest vote tally of the night, but we don’t think it will be quite enough.
Prediction: Conservative Hold
East Hampshire DC Petersfield, Bell Hill Ward (Conservative resigned, 5 candidates: Lab, UKIP, Ind, Lib Dem, Con)
2003 election results: Con 250, LD 210, Lab 103
2007 election results: Con 396, LD 311, Lab 37
2011 election results: Con 572, LD 235, Lab 193
2015 election results: Con 612, Lab 196, LD 181, UKIP 157, Green 144
Given the results here in recent years this looks set to be a clear Conservative victory.
Incidentally this ward falls within the ultra safe Tory constituency of East Hampshire which is held by the newly appointed Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
We can’t see the Tories getting schooled tonight.
Prediction: Conservative 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.
So far we have predicted 63 out of 75 results correctly.