Wednesday, 1 July 2015

By-election Previews: 25 June 2015

MARKET AND WEST DEEPING
South Kesteven district council, Lincolnshire
Postponed from 7th May due to the death of outgoing independent councillor Reg Howard, who was standing for re-election.

Welcome to Market Deeping, the western half of the settlement known as The Deepings: a small town on the north bank of the River Welland which here forms the Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire boundary.  The market of the name has been held here for eight centuries, but the town's economy is now underpinned by being a service centre for the fenland to the north, some light industry, and commuting to Peterborough.  Possibly the town's best-known resident is Martin Adams, a three-time winner of one flavour of the darts world championships.  The ward also includes the parish of West Deeping, a tiny village to the west of the town.

The town's local election results are weird.  In 2003 there were only three candidates for the three seats who were therefore elected unopposed: Reg Howard and one candidate each from Labour and the Tories.  The Labour councillor lost his seat for non-attendance in 2006 and the Tories won the by-election, again unopposed.  In 2007 there was finally a contested election, which saw the Tories lose their second seat to an independent candidate, Bob Broughton.  There was no change in partisan balance in 2011, but the previous Conservative councillor Michael Exton lost his seat to his running-mate, Paul Cosham; that year the Tory slate topped the poll with 40% to 35% for the independents and 26% for the Green Party.  At county level the Market and West Deeping county division (which is slightly larger than this ward) is normally safe Conservative but in 2013 the Tories finished only seventeen votes ahead of the Lincolnshire Independents candidate.

The Conservatives this time stand only one candidate.  Paul Cosham has stood down and is replaced by Nick Neilson.  On the independent side, Bob Broughton is standing for re-election and is joined by Ashley Baxter, who fought this ward for the Green Party in 2007 and 2011 and was runner-up in the 2013 county election here, and David Shelton.  There is a full UKIP slate of William Learoyd, Robert O'Farrell and Roger Woodbridge (two of whom give addresses in Bourne, Lincolnshire) and the ballot paper is completed by a single Lib Dem candidate, Adam Brookes.

Parliamentary constituency: South Holland and the Deepings
Lincolnshire county council division: Market and West Deeping
ONS Travel to Work Area: Peterborough

May 2011 result C 959/766 Ind 847/844/533 Grn 622/330/302
May 2007 result Ind 903/806 C 827 Grn 667 Lab 360
March 2006 by-election C unopposed
May 2003 result Lab/Ind/C unopposed



ROMSEY
Cambridgeshire county council
Caused by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Killian Bourke, who has a new job in London.  He had been a Cambridgeshire county councillor since winning a by-election in May 2008.

Romsey is a division of eastern Cambridge, to the east of the railway line.  Developed either side of Mill Road during the Victorian era, it was predominantly settled by railway workers and is thus very much on the "town" side of Cambridge's traditional town/gown divide.  Romsey Town, as the area is known, is traditionally a working-class area and its local politics had a socialist tradition.

That socialist tradition can be seen in Colin Rosenstiel's excellent archive of Cambridge's election results, and comparison is eased by the fact that this county division has the same boundaries as the Romsey ward of Cambridge city council.  There has been a Romsey ward since before the Second World War, and from 1935 until 1998 the ward voted Labour at both county and city level at every opportunity, with the exception of a by-election in November 1981 which was won by the SDP.  In 1998 the Lib Dems broke through to the city council; they gained a second city council seat from Labour in 2003, completed the set in 2004 and finished off by gaining the county council seat from Labour in 2005.  By 2010 Romsey had become safe Lib Dem, but the changed political environment after the formation of the Coalition turned the ward back into a Labour/Lib Dem marginal during the Parliament just gone.  Labour gained city council seats in 2011 and 2014, but the Lib Dems held the other city council seat in 2012 and the county seat in 2013. Killian Bourke did well in his last re-election in 2013 to beat Labour 48-32, the Greens' 6% winning a close four-way race for third.  Romsey went to the polls in May to elect a Cambridge city councillor: Labour held the seat with 38%, the Lib Dems were second on 30% and the Greens had a strong performance to finish third on 22%.

Defending for the Lib Dems is Nichola Martin.  Zoe Moghadas, who retired as a city councillor here in May, is the Labour candidate.  The Green Party have selected Debbie Aitchison.  Also standing are Rahatul Raja for the Tories (who is straight back on the campaign trail after standing for the city council in May) and UKIP's Richard Jeffs.

Parliamentary constituency: Cambridge
Cambridgeshire county council division: Romsey
ONS Travel to Work Area: Peterborough

May 2015 city council result Lab 1636 LD 1314 Grn 951 C 436
May 2014 city council result Lab 1205 LD 1093 Grn 394 C 206
May 2013 result LD 1118 Lab 741 Grn 138 UKIP 118 Cambridge Socialists 118 C 103
May 2012 city council result LD 1020 Lab 813 Cambridge Socialists 457 C 175
May 2011 city council result Lab 996 LD 870 Grn 411 C 360 Cambridge Socialists 356
May 2010 city council result LD 1615 Lab 928 Grn 697 C 600 Cambridge Socialists 404
June 2009 result LD 829 Lab 493 Ind 425 Grn 297 C 270 UKIP 96
May 2008 by-election LD 781 Lab 597 C 289 Grn 237 Left List 207
May 2008 city council result LD 791 Lab 535 Left List 328 C 285 Grn 189
May 2007 city council result LD 774 Lab 496 Respect 358 Grn 271 C 238
May 2006 by-election LD 955 Lab 656 Grn 265 C 258 Respect 240
May 2006 city council double vacancy LD 1065/815 Lab 623/491 Grn 358/216 Respect 294/268 C 235/216
May 2005 result LD 1668 Lab 1235 Grn 402 C 359 UKIP 45
June 2004 city council result LD 1192/1184/1125 Lab 746/658/577 Grn 394/360 C 206/186/172 UKIP 119

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