Wednesday, 5 November 2014

By-election Preview: 6 November 2014

There are just two by-elections on 6th November, one in Warwickshire and one in Cornwall which will be covered on Cornish Elections.  (That low number is good news for your columnist who is still recovering from a long weekend in Bucharest.)  Both are the result of elected councillors moving on to take up new jobs.

The six-month rule comes into effect this week: as of Friday there will be less than six months to go to the 2015 local elections on 7th May.  From then on, any new vacancies in seats which will be up for election in 2015 will not be filled; as most English councils will have whole council elections next year this means there will be relatively few by-elections until then.

BILTON
Rugby district council, Warwickshire
Caused by the resignation of the leader of the council, Conservative councillor Craig Humphrey, who has a new job as managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Clearing House.

Main Street, Old Bilton
The Bilton area is an old village in western Rugby which has become absorbed into the town.  Here can be found the Rugby High School (not the famous public school but a girls' grammar school) together with some very expensive housing.  This is one of the most desirable areas in Rugby and its demographic profile is determinedly middle-class.

It's not surprising, therefore, to find that the Bilton ward is safe Conservative.  Rugby was re-warded in 2012 which makes comparisons difficult, but the 2002-2012 version of Bilton ward returned Tories at every election, and the ward actually swung towards the Conservatives between 2012 and 2014.  There are no implications for control of the council, which has a small Conservative majority.

The defending Conservative candidate is library volunteer Julie A'Barrow, who stood in the neighbouring ward of Rokeby and Overslade (a three-way marginal) in May this year and heavily lost a Tory seat to the Lib Dems.  She should have fewer problems here.  Labour have selected John Wells, a former Warwickshire county councillor.  Also standing are the Greens' Kate Crowley; the Lib Dems' Lesley George who, like Crowley, fought the ward in May; Pete McLaren for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition; the ward's first UKIP candidate Gordon Davies; and independent John Herman.

Parliamentary constituency: Rugby
Warwickshire county council division: Caldecott (most), Admirals (small part), Lawford and New Bilton (small part)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Rugby

Julie A'Barrow (C)
Kate Crowley (Grn)
Gordon Davies (UKIP)
Lesley George (LD)
John Herman (Ind)
Pete McLaren (TUSC)
John Wells (Lab)

May 2014 result C 1187 Lab 468 Grn 220 LD 207 TUSC 107
May 2012 result C 1134/1004/968 Lab 643 LD 397/373 TUSC 299

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