Thursday, 28 August 2014

By-election Result: 28 August 2014

Results are now in for the only local by-election held on 28 August 2014.

The Liberal Democrats scored an emphatic win in North Jesmond, holding their seat with a 13.6% swing from Labour.

Full result breakdown:

Newcastle upon TyneNorth JesmondLD holdFull result

Douglas Carswell MP Defects to UKIP

UKIP are currently holding a press conference this morning, where they have revealed that Douglas Carswell MP has defected from Conservative to UKIP.  Carswell represents the constituency of Clacton.  UKIP didn't stand in Clacton in 2010, but the area is generally considered a strong one for them in the current political climate.  See the full 2010 Clacton result here.

Carswell has announced that he will resign as an MP immediately and contest the by-election for UKIP.

Commentators are noting that Carswell has a huge grassroots following and personal vote, and may be able to hold his seat in the by-election to give UKIP its first ever victory in a Westminster constituency.

Carswell becomes UKIP's second ever MP, following Bob Spink who briefly called himself a UKIP MP after leaving the Conservatives in 2008 before turning into an independent.  Spink represented the Castle Point constituency, and tried to defend his seat in 2010 for his own Independent Save Our Green Belt Party, coming second with 27% of the vote (full result).

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

By-election Previews: 28 August 2014

Apologies for the lack of posts last week - the editor was unwell.  Andrew Teale's previews are back this week though for a single contest being held in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle upon Tyne city council, Tyne and Wear
Caused by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Andras, who has been appointed as a professor of computer science and informatics at Keele University in Staffordshire.  Andras had been a Newcastle upon Tyne city councillor since 2011 and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Northumbria police and crime commissioner in 2012.

West Jesmond
Directly to the north of Newcastle city centre, Jesmond has always been one of the city's most upmarket suburbs, and a list of famous former residents is essentially a Who's Who of people connected with Newcastle.  The North Jesmond ward is sandwiched between Jesmond Dene, a public park following the steep-sided Ouseburn valley which was once a site of pilgrimage, and the Town Moor to the west.  The ward is served by the West Jesmond station, one of the busiest stations on the Tyne and Wear metro.  Its proximity to Newcastle and Northumbria universities has resulted in an increasing student population in recent years.

In Northern cities this sort of demographic (see also places such as Didsbury in Manchester, Headingley in Leeds) produced a safe Liberal Democrat ward during the Blair and Brown years, but one in which the party came under increasing pressure after the formation of the Coalition.  Unlike Didsbury and Headingley, the Lib Dems have so far managed to keep hold of all three seats in North Jesmond, but the majorities have often been small - Labour were 100 votes behind at the 2011 election and just 32 votes behind the Lib Dems in May.  The August timing of this by-election may be connected to the fact that the ward's student population will be on vacation; the Lib Dems are not exactly flavour of the month among students at the moment.

Defending for the Liberal Democrats is Gerard Keating, a former councillor for Blakelaw ward who stood down from the council in 2012.  The runner-up in May's ordinary election, Peter Smith, tries again for Labour.  The Green Party have selected psychotherapist Shehla Naqvi, while the Tories again run local businessman Duncan Crute who fought the ward in May.  Completing the ballot paper is UKIP's Daniel Thompson, who stood in May in his home ward of West Gosforth.

Parliamentary constituency: Newcastle upon Tyne East
ONS Travel to Work Area: Newcastle and Durham
Postcode district: NE2

Duncan Crute (C)
Gerard Keating (LD)
Shehla Naqvi (Grn)
Peter Smith (Lab)
Daniel Thompson (UKIP)

May 2014 result LD 621 Lab 589 Grn 277 C 276 UKIP 144
May 2012 result LD 978 Lab 523 C 229
May 2011 result LD 870 Lab 770 C 419 Grn 273
May 2010 result LD 1938 Lab 987 C 945 Grn 281
May 2008 double vacancy LD 1013/944 Lab 486/397 C 371/340
May 2007 result LD 1065 Lab 316 C 311 Grn 202
May 2006 result LD 1050 Lab 400 C 290 Grn 190

June 2004 result LD 1521/1260/1176 Lab 602/562/529 C 433/370/368 Ind 193

Friday, 15 August 2014

By-election Results: 14 August 2014

Results are now in for both local by-elections held on 14 August 2014.

It was a straightforward week with Labour easily holding both of their seats.

Full result breakdown:

South Normanton East
Lab hold
Knight's Hill
Lab hold

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

List of BME MPs' Majorities

A friend of mine was asking about the majorities of black and minority ethnic MPs earlier, so I put this list together. I include it here in case it's of use to anybody else.

Adam Afriyie - Windsor - Con - maj 19,054
David Lammy - Tottenham - Lab - maj 16,931
Sam Gyimah - East Surrey - Con - maj 16,874
Shailesh Vara - North West Cambridgeshire - Con - maj 16,677
Priti Patel - Witham - Con - maj 15,196
Diane Abbott - Hackney North and Stoke Newington - Lab - maj 14,408
Keith Vaz - Leicester East - Lab - maj 14,082
Khalid Mahmood - Birmingham Perry Barr - Lab - maj 11,908
Rushanara Ali - Bethnal Green and Bow - Lab - maj 11,574
Nadhim Zahawi - Stratford-on-Avon - Con - maj 11,346
Sajid Javid - Bromsgrove - Con - maj 11,308
Anas Sarwar - Glasgow Central - Lab - maj 10,551
Lisa Nandy - Wigan - Lab - maj 10,487
Shabana Mahmood - Birmingham Ladywood - Lab - maj 10,105
Kwasi Kwarteng - Spelthorne - Con - maj 10,019
Virendra Sharma - Ealing Southall - Lab - maj 9,291
Rehman Chishti - Gilingham and Rainham - Con - maj 8,680
Yasmin Qureshi - Bolton South East - Lab - maj 8,634
Mark Hendrick - Preston - Lab - maj 7,733
Chi Onwurah - Newcastle upon Tyne Central - Lab - maj 7,466
Alok Sharma - Reading West - Con - maj 6,004
Helen Grant - Maidstone and The Weald - Con - maj 5,889
Marsha Singh - Bradford West - Lab - maj 5,763 (lost to Respect in 2012 by-election)
Chuka Umunna - Streatham - Lab - maj 3,259
Sadiq Khan - Tooting - Lab - maj 2,524
Valerie Vaz - Walsall South - Lab - maj 1,755
Paul Uppal - Wolverhampton South West - Con - maj 691

Monday, 11 August 2014

By-election Previews: 14 August 2014

Lambeth borough council, South London
Caused by the disqualification of Labour councillor Sonia Winifred.  Winifred was a Lambeth council employee at the time of her election and was therefore ineligible to be a Lambeth councillor.

Lamberhurst Road
We have seen a couple of postponed polls in London since the 2014 borough elections, but this is the first by-election arising from the 2014 intake in what amounts to an unforced error by the Labour selection.  The Knight's Hill ward covers the western end of West Norwood, and is mostly in the West Norwood SE27 postcode with smaller parts in SW16 (Streatham) and SE19 (Upper Norwood).  The ward is served by West Norwood railway station, from which Southern run regular trains to Victoria and London Bridge.

The Wikipedia entry for Knight's Hill ward points out that the ward has an high proportion of pensioners for a London ward, and also a high proportion of people with long-term illnesses.  It's clearly not a particularly well-off area, and in this political climate that creates a safe Labour ward.  Not that it has always been so; the Liberal Democrats had a convincing win here in 2002 and only narrowly lost the ward to the Labour slate in 2006.  Since then the Lib Dems have fallen here to the extent that in last May's ordinary election the (very distant) second place was disputed by the Tories and the Greens.  In the 2012 GLA elections Ken beat Boris in the ward's ballot boxes 57-25, while Labour led on the London Member vote with 58%, to 16% for the Conservatives and 12% for the Greens.

Having resigned her employment, Sonia Winifred is seeking re-election for Labour.  Her opposition will come from the Tories' Heidi Nicholson, the Greens' Christopher Hocknell, the Lib Dems' Robert Hardware, UKIP's Robin Lambert and independent candidate Nelly Amos.

Parliamentary constituency: Dulwich and West Norwood
Greater London Assembly constituency: Lambeth and Southwark
ONS Travel to Work Area: London
Postcode districts: SE19, SE27, SW16

Nelly Amos (Ind)
Robert Hardware (LD)
Christopher Hocknell (Grn)
Robin Lambert (UKIP)
Heidi Nicholson (C)
Sonia Winifred (Lab)

May 2014 result Lab 2182/2169/1911 C 468/442/382 Grn 457/388/365 LD 256/238/202 UKIP 249
May 2010 result Lab 3039/2900/2768 LD 1480/1430/1415 C 942/926/809 Grn 420/378/357
May 2006 result Lab 1358/1352/1349 LD 1273/1218/1116 Grn 514 C 435/426/417
May 2002 result LD 1331/1263/1260 Lab 949/926/908 C 258/250/245 Grn 251 Socialist Alliance 113
May 2012 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Ken 1693 Boris 756 Grn 195 Benita 142 LD 137 UKIP 39 BNP 24
Assembly list: Lab 1738 C 488 Grn 348 LD 174 UKIP 94 CPA 54 TUSC 37 BNP 31 House Party 17 EDP 15 NF 6 Hayat 6 Alagaratnam 1

Bolsover district council, Derbyshire
Caused by the death of Labour councillor Terry Cook.

Corner of King Street and Market Street
Covering only a relatively small part of South Normanton, this ward straddles the M1 motorway to the north of junction 28.  To the west of the motorway is very much the downmarket end of South Normanton, a classic ex-coalmining community developed from almost nothing in the early twentieth century, and whose coalmining had ceased by 1970.  To the east of the motorway is a significant local employer: the East Midlands Designer Outlet, an upmarket clothes shopping centre developed here thanks to its proximity to the M1 and good road links to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.  The designer outlet was partially destroyed by fire in 2004 but has been rebuilt and now appears to be thriving.

As usual, the equation "coal mining = safe Labour" applies.  The only competitive election here in recent years was the district election in 2007, in which the Labour slate was opposed only by a single BNP candidate, who lost out by just 98 votes.  The ward is split between two safe-Labour county divisions; UKIP were a fairly distant second in both of them last year.

Another easy Labour win is ensured by the candidate list, which reveals a straight Labour/Tory fight.  In the red corner is South Normanton parish councillor Tracey Cannon; in the blue corner is Robert Sainsbury, who wasn't that far off winning a seat in the more-upmarket South Normanton West ward at the last borough election in 2011.

Parliamentary constituency: Bolsover
Derbyshire county council division: South Normanton and Pinxton (part); Tibshelf (part)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Mansfield
Postcode district: DE55

Tracey Cannon (Lab)
Robert Sainsbury (C)

May 2011 result Lab 647/597 C 248/228 BNP 176
May 2007 result Lab 527/521 BNP 423
May 2003 result Lab 448/396 C 218/190

Friday, 8 August 2014

By-election Results: 7 August 2014

Results are now in for all five local by-elections held on 7 August 2014.  The Conservatives and Greens held all the seats they were each defending, while the Liberal Democrats lost their seat in Worthing, Castle to UKIP.

Overall, it was a good week for UKIP, with strong second places in Epping Forest and Huntingdonshire as well as their gain in Worthing.  The Conservatives and Greens will be happy holding their seats, but it's been a very disappointing set of results for the Liberal Democrats - not only losing their Worthing seat but also polling a rather miserable seven votes in Epping Forest.

Full result breakdown:

Epping Forest
Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing
Con hold
Warboys and Bury
Con hold
Malvern Hills
Con hold
Grn hold
UKIP gain

Thursday, 7 August 2014

By-election Previews: 7 August 2014

Epping Forest district council, Essex
Caused by the death of Conservative councillor Penny Smith at the age of 55.  A former chairman of the council, Smith had also served on the council's cabinet.

Epping Upland
This is a large and slightly unwieldy rural ward, which basically consists of the countryside between Waltham Abbey to the south-west, Epping to the south-east and Harlow to the north.  Despite the order of the names, the largest unit within the ward is the parish of Epping Upland, a small village north-west of Epping.  Broadley Common is a village on the edge of Harlow, while Nazeing can be found between the two.

This is a very strongly Conservative ward; in the four previous contests this century Penny Smith polled over 83% every time.  The Tories also safely hold the wider North Weald and Nazeing county division, although UKIP were a strong second in the 2013 county elections.

Defending for the Tories is Robert Glozier, a former district councillor; he served for Theydon Bois ward but lost his seat to the Lib Dems in 2006.  On paper he should have a much easier task here.  His opposition will come from William Hartington of the Green Party, Arnold Verrall of the Lib Dems and Ron McEvoy of UKIP.

Parliamentary constituency: Epping Forest
Essex county council division: North Weald and Nazeing
ONS Travel to Work Area: London

Robert Glozier (C)
William Hartington (Grn)
Ron McEvoy (UKIP)
Arnold Verrall (LD)

May 2011 result C 585 Grn 69 LD 43
May 2007 result C 481 LD 77
May 2003 result C 389 LD 65
May 2002 result C 448 LD 74

Worthing borough council, West Sussex
Caused by the disqualification of Liberal Democrat councillor David Potter, who failed to attend any council meetings in six months.

Goring-by-Sea Railway Station
The Castle ward of Worthing is one of those places that's neither here nor there, a tract of housing on the western edge of town between the South Coast railway line to the south and the dual-carriageway Littlehampton Road to the north.  The two railway stations serving the ward are Goring-by-Sea (Goring lies to the south of here) and the notably ugly Durrington-by-Sea station (Durrington lies to the north).  It's not all a retirement area though and there are some large employers: a large Revenue and Customs office is located here, while just outside the ward boundary is the headquarters and call centre of Southern Water.

One of the streets within the ward is called Poling Close, and that is a pretty good description of recent elections here.  The three seats within the ward originally split two to the Lib Dems and one to the Conservatives in a 2004 result which was essentially a photo-finish, and despite a series of further close results the balance of seats stayed that way until 2010.  David Potter was first elected in 2007 in a double-vacancy election, holding the seat of Lib Dem councillor Claire Potter (no relation) who had resigned.  The 2010 election saw the Lib Dems gain the Tory seat, but the Conservatives struck back to regain a seat in the ward in 2011.  Potter was re-elected in 2012 although his attendance was reportedly already becoming erratic.  In 2014 the Tories took the lead on seats in the ward for the first time, with the Lib Dem vote badly crashing and the seat developing into a close Tory/UKIP fight.  At county level most of the ward is within
 the Northbrook division, which the Lib Dems held in 2013 by just five votes over the Tories, but the southern fringe of the ward can be found within the Tory/UKIP marginal Goring division.

With the last Lib Dem seat up for grabs, it will be interesting to see if May's election result marks a realignment of the ward's politics or turns out to be something of an aberration.  The Lib Dem candidate Nicholas Wiltshire is obviously hoping for the latter; he works in the local hospital and with local sports teams.  The Tory candidate is 20-year-old Alex Harman, chairman of the local Conservative Future branch; he fought Worthing's Central ward in May and lost by nine votes to Lib Dem-to-Green defector, former Mayor of Worthing and Cleverdick James Doyle.  Could Harman make it two losses in three months to an ex-Mayor of Worthing called James who had recently defected to another party and lost his first election under his new colours?  UKIP's Charles James will certainly hope so; he was a Tory mayor of the town in 2012/3 but narrowly failed to win re-election as UKIP in May.  Also on the ballot paper are Labour's Jim Deen and the Green
 Party's Stefan Sykes.

Parliamentary constituency: Worthing West
West Sussex county council division: Goring (part), Northbrook (part)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Worthing

Jim Deen (Lab)
Alex Harman (C)
Charles James (UKIP)
Stefan Sykes (Grn)
Nicholas Wiltshire (LD)

May 2014 result C 702 UKIP 653 LD 414 Lab 324 Grn 88
May 2012 result LD 701 C 505 UKIP 270 Lab 262
May 2011 result C 892 LD 807 Lab 436 UKIP 251
May 2010 result LD 2199 C 1542
May 2008 result LD 1167 C 926
May 2007 double vacancy LD 1025/952 C 944/924 Grn 251 UKIP 204
May 2006 result C 999 LD 884 Grn 228
June 2004 result LD 1093/1090/1078 C 1081/1042/1012

Stroud district council, Gloucestershire
Caused by the resignation of Green Party councillor Molly Scott-Cato, who has been elected to the 
European Parliament.

Stroud - World's First Bee Guardian Town
Wards called "Valley" (and there are a fair few of them) are rarely that clear as to their location; but with Stroud being known as the meeting place of five valleys this is even less informative than usual.  The valley which gives its name to this particular ward is that of the Slad, whose reaches above the town were immortalised in Laurie Lee's book Cider with Rosie.

Stroud is one of the oldest Green Party hotspots at local government level, and this a safe ward for the party. Scott-Cato was first elected here in 2011, having previously contested a variety of elections including the 1996 Northern Ireland forum/talks election and two tilts at the Preseli Pembrokeshire parliamentary constituency. The Greens also safely hold the local county council division (Stroud Central).

Defending for the Green Party is author and publisher Martin Baxendale.  James Heslop stands for Labour.  The Conservative candidate is IT worker Stephen Davies. Also standing are UKIP's Stuart Love and Lucy Roberts from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Parliamentary constituency: Stroud
Gloucestershire county council division: Stroud Central
ONS Travel to Work Area: Swindon

Martin Baxendale (Grn)
Stephen Davies (C)
James Heslop (Lab)
Stuart Love (UKIP)
Lucy Roberts (TUSC)

May 2011 result Grn 417 Lab 279 C 190
May 2007 result Grn 340 C 148 Lab 89
June 2004 by-election Grn 319 C 174 Lab 100 LD 64
May 2003 result Grn 296 C 145 Lab 113 LD 57
May 2002 result Grn 217 Lab 158 C 112 LD 92

Huntingdonshire district council, Cambridgeshire
Caused by the death of Conservative councillor Flight Lieutenant John Pethard at the age of 71.

Clock Tower, Warboys
On the edge of the Fens, the large village of Warboys can be found on the Huntingdon-Wisbech road, while Bury can be found to the north-west and is essentially a southern extension of Ramsey.  Warboys is probably best known for a late-sixteenth-century witchcraft trial, while Bury is the birthplace of bandy, a winter sport similar to ice hockey but using smaller sticks and a ball, which was first played on the Bury Fen.  The ward also includes the small parish of Wistow.

The ward was created for the 2004 elections at which its two seats split between the Lib Dems and Conservatives.  This split continued until 2012, suriving a by-election in 2007 which the Lib Dems held; the Lib Dem hold in 2008 was the only close result in this period.  In 2012 the Lib Dem vote crashed and they fell from first place to fourth behind John Pethard, who won convincingly for the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour.  May's ordinary election confirmed that pattern, with UKIP's vote rising slightly from 2012.  Since 2013 UKIP have held the local county seat (Warboys and Upwood), gaining what had previously been a safe Tory division.

Defending for the Conservatives is Angie Curtis, from nearby Ramsey.  On paper her biggest challenge will come from the local UKIP county councillor Michael Tew, who is the only candidate to live within the ward (in Bury).  Also standing are the reselected Labour and Lib Dem candidates from May, respectively Mary Howell (from Yaxley) and Christine Wills (from Somersham).

Parliamentary constituency: North West Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire county council division: Warboys and Upwood
ONS Travel to Work Area: Huntingdon

Angie Curtis (C)
Mary Howell (Lab)
Michael Tew (UKIP)
Christine Wills (LD)

May 2014 result C 864 UKIP 576 Lab 172 LD 138
May 2012 result C 612 UKIP 346 Lab 195 LD 169
May 2010 result C 1746 LD 906 UKIP 407 Lab 299
May 2008 result LD 839 C 787 UKIP 138 Lab 59
Feb 2007 by-election LD 1122 C 495 UKIP 97 Lab 20
May 2006 result C 1012 LD 643 Lab 90
June 2004 result LD 1051/782 C 1008/929 Lab 162

Malvern Hills district council, Worcestershire
Caused by the death of Conservative councillor Chris Cheeseman at the age of 73.  A councillor for Wells ward since 2007, Cheeseman collapsed and died while speaking at a meeting of the council's planning committee.

Assarts, Malvern Wells
In the shadow of the Malvern Hills and running from the Worcestershire Beacon to the Herefordshire Beacon, the Wells ward is based on the villages of Malvern Wells and Little Malvern.  There are many strings to the ward's economic bow: firstly, on the flat ground at the bottom of the hill is the Three Counties Showground, which on polling day will feature the final day of the National Pony Society's summer championships.  Up on the slopes is the source of Wells ward's principal export: bottled Malvern spa water.  Schweppes no longer bottle Malvern water commercially, but their original spring at Holywell - claimed to be the world's oldest water bottling plant - has now been brought back into use on a smaller scale.  The ward has strong links with the composer Edward Elgar, who is buried in Little Malvern.

The Wells ward was safely Lib Dem in 2003, but the Tories gained the two seats in 2007 and increased their majority in 2011 against only Green Party opposition.  Cheeseman clearly had a personal vote in the ward, as he beat his running-mate despite being lower down the ballot paper.

Defending for the Conservatives is retired teacher, businesswoman and Malvern Wells parish councillor Chris O'Donnell.  Fighting the ward for the first time, Labour have selected teacher Christopher Burrows.  Independent candidate Louise Gibson is campaigning against overdevelopment of the area.  The Lib Dems have selected IT engineer Simon Gill, and the UKIP candidate is water distribution engineer Richard Spencer.

Parliamentary constituency: West Worcestershire
Worcestershire county council division: Malvern Chase
ONS Travel to Work Area: Worcester and Malvern

Christopher Burrows (Lab)
Louise Gibson (Ind)
Simon Gill (LD)
Chris O'Donnell (C)
Richard Spencer (UKIP)

May 2011 result C 822/784 Grn 491/386
May 2007 result C 631/584 LD 525/453 Grn 217 UKIP 106
May 2003 result LD 639/533 C 373/324 Grn 168