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

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