Caused by the resignation of the Leader of the Council, Conservative councillor Keith Barrow, over a scandal. Barrow had failed to declare a personal and business relationship with a director of the accountants and auditors for IP&E, a private company owned by the council. He had served on the unitary Shropshire council since its creation in 2009, and before then on the former Oswestry district council.
|Oswestry Church Tower|
Barrow had represented Oswestry South since the creation of the unitary Shropshire council in 2009 and was previously a ward councillor for its predecessor, the Castle ward of the former Oswestry district council. These electoral units were normally Conservative but not always safe: the Lib Dems won one of the two seats in Castle ward in 2003, and although Barrow was re-elected in 2013 - the last local elections in Shropshire - comfortably enough, his majority was cut by a strong Green Party performance, with 46% for the Tories, 32% for the Greens and 16% for UKIP. The ward had a minor boundary change in 2013 to reflect changes to the Oswestry parish boundary, gaining a small area from Gobowen, Selattyn and Weston Rhyn division.
This by-election has a rather different line-up from the 2013 poll. Defending for the Tories is Christopher Schofield, an Oswestry town councillor (for Cambrian ward) who runs a B&B. The Green candidate from 2013, Duncan Kerr, is standing again: he is an Oswestry town councillor for Castle ward and children's social worker who fought North Shropshire in last year's general election and came close to saving his deposit. There is no UKIP candidate this time. Completing the ballot paper are the Lib Dems' Amanda Woof, another town councillor for this ward, and Labour's Carl Hopley.
Parliamentary constituency: North Shropshire
May 2013 result C 488 Grn 337 UKIP 175 LD 62
June 2009 result C 660 Grn 218 LD 301 Lab 79
East Cambridgeshire district council
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Vince Campbell, who had served only since May last year, on health grounds. He had previously had a distinguished military career in the Guards.
|Pub and Post Office, Bottisham|
For most of this century Bottisham has been a tightly-fought Tory-Lib Dem marginal at local level, but the Tories pulled away last year, partly thanks to the general election turnout, to beat the Lib Dems 52-32. The ward forms part of a safe Conservative division (Woodditton) on Cambridgeshire county council.
Defending for the Tories is Alan Sharp, a qualified accountant who has recently retired after twenty years working for a central government department: he has previous experience of local government, being a Huntingdonshire district councillor in the early 1990s. The Lib Dem candidate Steven Aronson, a chiropractor and part-time Hebrew teacher, is having his third tilt at the ward after unsuccessful runs in 2011 and 2015. Also standing are Bottisham parish councillor Steven O'Dell for Labour and Cambridgeshire county councillor (for Littleport) Daniel Divine for UKIP.
Parliamentary constituency: South East Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire county council division: Woodditton
Constituent parishes: Bottisham, Brinkley, Burrough Green, Westley Waterless
May 2015 result C 1100/1002 LD 678/634 Lab 347/339
May 2011 result LD 644/588 C 626/607 Lab 279
May 2007 result LD 769/631 C 570/501 Lab 111
May 2003 result C 583 LD 561/454 Lab 176
North West Leicestershire district council
Caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Tom Neilson after he was arrested on suspicion of drug dealing. He had served since 2011 and was a former leader of the Labour group on North West Leicestershire council.
The Measham South ward has existed only since May when the former two-member Measham ward was divided into two single-member wards. The old Measham ward was Labour-inclined, reflecting the village's history, but it was also a key marginal which voted Conservative in 2007. The only previous result for the present ward was in 2015, when Labour beat the Tories 55-45 in a straight fight. Labour also hold the local county council seat (Forest and Measham), gaining it from the Tories in the 2013 election at which it was a Labour-UKIP marginal.
That Labour county councillor, Sean Sheahan, defends this by-election for Labour; he is hoping for a quick return to the district council, having been Neilson's ward colleague for Measham from 2011 to 2015 and losing his seat in Measham North last year. Another former councillor hoping to make a quick return is the Tory candidate Annette Bridges, who represented Moira ward from 2007 until being a victim of the boundary changes in 2015. Completing the ballot paper is UKIP's Martin Green, who was the runner-up in the 2013 county election and their parliamentary candidate here in 2010.
Parliamentary constituency: North West Leicestershire
Leicestershire county council division: Forest and Measham
May 2015 result Lab 654 C 533
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Colin Cessford for family reasons. Cessford was in his first term on Northumberland county council, having entered politics in 2012 by winning a by-election to Hexham town council after retiring from a 34-year career with the North East Ambulance Service. He had been a county councillor since 2013.
|Former Tynedale Hydropathic Hotel|
Hexham racecourse's altitude and exposed position mean that no races are held here in February, so local racewatchers will have to be content with watching the ballot boxes. This one could be interesting, as the large Tory lead in 2013 (when they had 48% to 31% for the Lib Dems and 15% for Labour, whose candidate rejoiced in the name of David Crockit) masks the fact that this was a Lib Dem stronghold before that election.
In a strong field of candidates, Tom Gillanders defends for the Conservatives: he is a retired engineer and Hexham town councillor for Leazes ward (which has the same boundaries as this division) who organises the local Poppy Appeal and recently stepped down from the Territorial Army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel after over forty years' service. There is no official Lib Dem candidate, but there is an unofficial one: Derek Kennedy, the former Lib Dem county councillor here (2005-2013) and still a town councillor for Leazes ward, is standing as an independent. Town councillor (for Gilesgate ward) Nuala Rose, a former GP, stands for Labour. Anne Pickering, a former town councillor, ecological consultant and artist who recently organised a 10,000-signature petition against the proposed relocation of Hexham bus station, stands as an independent. Completing the ballot paper is Lee Williscroft-Ferris, a teacher, trade unionist and gay rights blogger standing for the Green Party.
Parliamentary constituency: Hexham
May 2013 result C 848 LD 540 Lab 261 UKIP 105