Monday, 21 December 2015

By-election Preview: 23 December 2015

You're probably sick of Christmas by know and wondering when it's going to be over.  Spare a thought for your columnist, who had a hernia repaired last week and is presently laid up in that phase they euphemistically call "recuperation".  Luckily he found time before his operation to preview the last local by-election of 2015, just two days before Christmas.  Brill, you say?  Correct...

Aylesbury Vale district council, Buckinghamshire
Caused by the death of Conservative councillor John Cartwright at the age of 75.  Cartwright had had a thirty-year career in local government, starting in June 1985 when he won a by-election in the former Grendon Underwood ward, and served as leader of Aylesbury Vale district council from 2001 to 2013.  He also served on Buckinghamshire county council from 1997 to 2013, and his legacy will be the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury, whose VIP suite is named after him.

St. Leonards, Grendon Underwood
We come to Buckinghamshire, to a group of eight parishes on the Oxfordshire border.  The village of Grendon Underwood lies within the countryside, away from the main road between Aylesbury and Bicester; a good location for the SOE, which had a base here in the Second World War, and now home to a couple of prisons.  The ward named after it extends to the south to include the villages of Ludgershall and (following boundary changes this year) Brill, previously the centre of its own ward and once rather bizarrely the north-western terminus of the London Underground.  Famous people associated with the ward include Tony and Cherie Blair, who bought a house here in 2008 for £4 million; and the Great Train Robbers who hid out in Leatherslade Farm not far away from the Blairs.

Because of the rewarding this year results from Grendon Underwood ward in previous years are not directly comparable, although it's fair to say that on the 2003-2011 boundaries the ward was safe Conservative and Cartwright was unopposed in 2003.  The only previous result on these boundaries is from May, where the Tories beat UKIP 55-22.  UKIP did better in 2013 in the larger Grendon Underwood county division, cutting the Tory majority to nine points; and this ward lies on the proposed route of HS2 so it will be interesting to see whether that has any effect on the election.

The Blairs (if they are registered to vote here) may be disappointed that there is no Labour candidate.  As it's Christmas, the defending Tories have brought out the Branston: Cameron Branston, a Canadian who is the UK commercial officer for the Government of Alberta.  Voters who find Branston not to their taste can choose between UKIP's Gary Good or the Lib Dems' Julian Newman.  Because Thursday this week is Christmas Eve and (understandably) nobody wants to spend Christmas night counting votes, polling for this by-election will be on Wednesday 23rd December.

And that is that for the UK electoral year of 2015.  This column will return in time for the first local by-election of 2016, to take place in flood-hit Carlisle on 7th January; until then, all that remains is for Kris and I to wish both our readers a very Merry Christmas, and a New Year that's better than the year just gone.

Parliamentary constituency: Buckingham
Buckinghamshire county council division: Grendon Underwood
ONS Travel to Work Area: Oxford

May 2015 result C 1068 UKIP 427 Grn 246 LD 213

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

By-election Previews: 15 and 17 December 2015

One by-election on 15th December and four by-elections on 17th December:

15th December:
Spelthorne borough council, Surrey
Caused by the death of the Leader of the Council, Robert Watts, at the age of 64.  A former civil engineer, he was elected to Spelthorne council in 2011 and had been Leader of the Council since 2013.  He was killed in an accidental fire at his home.

This was once Middlesex, the part of what's now Surrey north of the River Thames.  Shepperton is a thriving commuter town within a bend of the Thames; mostly on flood plain, industries here included ropemaking and extraction of brick clay, while in the early 19th century it was a favoured location for writers and artists - Canaletto and Turner both painted pictures of Walton Bridge which links the town with Walton-on-Thames.  The railway came here in 1864 on a branch line from Waterloo, leading to the town being a favoured location for commuters.  As well as Shepperton itself, the ward includes the village of Lower Halliford next to Walton Bridge and some flood plain on the road to Chertsey.

As you might expect, this is a strong Tory ward, although the Lib Dems did win one of the three available seats in the 2003 election.  In May the Tory slate had 56% with UKIP best of the rest of 18%, although the Tory vote here is normally inflated by the presence on the ballot of long-serving councillor Robin Sider who has a large personal vote.

Defending for the Conservatives is Colin Barnard, a retired baker and director of his local residents association.  The UKIP candidate is Brian Catt from Sunbury-on-Thames, who runs an IT consultancy and management business for the European market.  Also on the ballot are Labour's Jonathan Button, the Lib Dems' Richard Dunn and Nigel Scott of the Green Party.

Parliamentary constituency: Spelthorne
Surrey county council division: Laleham and Shepperton
ONS Travel to Work Area: London

May 2015 result C 2502/2121/2029 UKIP 823/656 Lab 612/554/524 LD 532
May 2011 result C 1852/1726/1428 LD 698 UKIP 607
May 2007 result C 1489/1345/1248 LD 631/608/509 Lab 182

May 2003 result C 1239/1117/1040 LD 1059/955/864 Lab 144

17th December:
London Borough of Brent
Caused by the death of Labour councillor Dan Filson at the age of 67.  He had been a Brent councillor only since 2014, but previously served for twelve years on Hammersmith and Fulham council where he had been Mayor.  Filson spent his career in the civil service, mostly in the Inland Revenue, before retiring in 2010.

This ward is rather misnamed: while it does include Kensal Green station, it's actually based on the eastern half of Harlesden, with Willesden Junction being the most convenient station for most of the ward.  Kensal Green has traditionally been an immigrant area and is still in the top 30 wards for Irish population, as well as having a large black community - this is a traditional working-class area thanks to the presence nearby of the railway works at Old Oak Common (now a major construction site for Crossrail) and the large Park Royal industrial estate.

As you might expect, this is a safe Labour ward under present circumstances, although the Lib Dems were just 58 votes behind the third Labour candidate in the 2010 election in which Sarah Teather became the local MP.  At the most recent Brent council election in 2014 Labour had 54% to 19% for the Green Party and 15% for the Lib Dems; in the 2012 London Assembly elections Ken beat Boris here 53-30, while on the list ballot Labour had 54% to 16% for the Tories and 13% for the Greens.

Defending for Labour is Jumbo Chan, who according to his LinkedIn is a teacher at Hampstead School and secretary of the Young Fabians Education Network.  He is opposed by Jafar Hassan of the Greens, Sarah Dickson of the Lib Dems, Chris Alley of the Conservatives and the ward's first UKIP candidate, Juliette Nibbs.

Parliamentary constituency: Brent Central
ONS Travel to Work Area: London

May 2014 result Lab 1819/1808/1730 Grn 621 LD 510/502/481 C 394/382/330
May 2010 result Lab 2172/2064/1782 LD 1724/1601/1570 C 760/569/516 Grn 653/466/346 Ind 450
May 2006 result Lab 1331/1169/1108 LD 671/583/555 Grn 573/473 C 356/326/298
May 2002 result Lab 1157/1017/1008 Grn 303/239 C 292/280/273 LD 258/209/181

2012 GLA election (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Ken 1419 Boris 816 Grn 166 LD 132 Ind 108 UKIP 24 BNP 11
List: Lab 1444 C 433 Grn 357 LD 205 UKIP 65 Chr 60 TUSC 41 BNP 24 EDP 19 House Party 19 Hayat 7 NF 2 Alagaratnam 2

East Hertfordshire district council
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Adrian McNeece, a secular atheist, after the failure of his motion not to have prayers at council meetings.

Essentially covering the open space between Hertford and Hoddesdon, Hertford Heath ward is not part of the town but named after the village of the same name.  As well as Hertford Heath, the ward also includes the parish of Brickendon Liberty, a wonderful name for what is essentially a collection of hamlets.  The ward is probably best known for Haileybury College, a public school originally built to train East India Company administrators, whose alumni include the former Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the present Tory MP Nick Herbert.

Hertford Heath's councillors seem to have been controversy magnets over the last couple of years.  McNeece had only represented the ward since May, when he polled 45% to 21% for the previous Tory councillor William Ashley, standing as an independent, and 15% for UKIP.  Ashley had got himself into a series of scrapes over planning applications at his farm in Brickendon, and was eventually dropped by the Conservative party.  He had enjoyed much bigger majorities than McNeece before 2015, and was unopposed in the 2007 election.  At county level this ward is part of the Ware South division, which is safely Conservative.

Even with McNeece gone the troubles for the local Conservative group are not over: the Tory agent messed up his party's nomination papers with the result that their candidate, 32-year-old mother-of-one Charlotte Snowdon, is on the ballot paper without a description.  UKIP's Sheila Pettman tries again after her third-place finish in May.  Also standing are Labour's Graham Nickson, the Lib Dems' Rob Lambie and the Greens' Hilary Cullen.

Parliamentary constituency: Hertford and Stortford
Hertfordshire county council division: Ware South
ONS Travel to Work Area: Harlow and Bishop's Stortford

May 2015 result C 739 Ind 344 UKIP 249 Lab 204 Grn 96
May 2011 result C 753 Lab 319
May 2007 result C unopposed
May 2003 result C 528 Lab 109 LD 90

Worcestershire county council
Caused by the death of Health Concern councillor Jim Parish.  Parish was a former Mayor of Stourport who first entered politics in 1997; he was first elected to Worcestershire county council in 2001, lost his seat in 2005 but returned in 2009.  He had also served on Wyre Forest district council until losing his seat in May.  Away from politics, Parish formerly ran an engineering business in Wednesbury, and had represented England and Worcestershire at bowls.

This column often talks about railway towns, towns that sprung up in the Victorian era around major railway works or railway junctions.  Stourport is a rare example of a canal town, which grew up in the early Georgian era around the junction of the River Severn and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, and for many years goods were transshipped from canal boats to Severn trows (river boats).  However, Stourport's prosperity didn't last for very long, as it was bypassed by the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and later by the railways.

Stourport is part of the Wyre Forest district, where politics has never been quite the same since 1999 and the foundation of the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern party, initially a single-issue party pressing for the restoration of Kidderminster Hospital's casualty unit which briefly controlled the district council.  Stourport has been a traditional strong point for Health Concern, although they performed poorly in the borough elections this year.  The town forms a two-member county council division whose results have been a mess.  In 2005 the seats split betwen Health Concern and the Tories with Labour not far behind; while in 2009 Health Concern won comfortably.  The May 2013 election saw UKIP top the poll with just 28% and split the seats with Health Concern, Labour and the Tories being close behind, but the UKIP councillor lasted just 13 days in office before it turned out that his Facebook had anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic stuff on it which was too hot even for UKIP to handle.  The resulting by-election at the end of June 2013 saw Health Concern regain their seat with 31%, UKIP polling 26%, the Tories 22% and Labour 18%.  The Conservatives did well here in the 2015 district elections and despite starting in third place will fancy their chances of making a gain.

Defending for Health Concern is Nicky Martin, a Stourport town councillor.  UKIP have reselected their candidate from the June 2013 by-election, former Tory district councillor John Holden.  The Conservative candidate is Tony Muir, a district councillor in the division and a triathlete still in his mid-twenties.  Retired social worker Jill Hawes stands as the Labour candidate, and the ballot is completed by the Greens' Phil Oliver.

Parliamentary constituency: Wyre Forest
Wyre Forest district wards: Areley Kings and Riverside, Lickhill, Mitton
ONS Travel to Work Area: Kidderminster

June 2013 by-election Health Concern 1055 UKIP 892 C 753 Lab 607 Grn 77 BNP 39 LD 30
May 2013 result UKIP 1385/1151 Health Concern 1335/1167 Lab 1141/894 C 984/964 Grn 195
June 2009 result Health Concern 2396/2231 C 1894/1764 Lab 724/703 Ind 510 Grn 318 LD 313 Lib 237
May 2005 result Health Concern 3339/2624 C 3266/3060 Lab 2670/2649 Grn 539/507

Ryedale district council, North Yorkshire
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Phil Evans.  He had served only since May.

For our final by-election of the week we head to North Yorkshire and an agglomeration of fifteen parishes to the east, south and west of the twin towns of Malton and Norton.  The ward is named after the river Derwent, which drains the Vale of Pickering and divides the ward into two parts, either side of the steep Kirkham Gorge.  Many tourists are attracted to the ward by the Baroque stately home of Castle Howard, still in private hands and well-known as "Brideshead" in the 1981 Granada TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.

While Ryedale does have some of a Liberal tradition, this ward is usually safe for the Tories - they have held both seats in every election this century except 2007 when there was only one Conservative candidate.  In May's district election the Tory slate had 47% to 29% for an independent candidate and 25% for the Lib Dems.  The Lib Dems do hold the county council seat for Norton, which covers half the ward, but their vote is concentrated in Norton itself.

This time round an interesting ballot paper could create vote splits on both the Tory and Liberal fronts.  The official defending Conservative candidate is Kerry Ennis, a Malton town councillor.  The ballot paper shows two independent candidates; Stephen Shaw, the former Tory county councillor for Norton who was runner-up here in May, and Darren Allanson who is in fact the official Lib Dem candidate but screwed up his nomination papers (see also Hertford Heath above; it's an amazing coincidence that two candidates can make the same mistake in the same week).  Also standing are Tony Barran for Yorkshire First, and Mike Potter of the unreconstructed Liberal Party who have a power base in Pickering.

Parliamentary constituency: Thirsk and Malton
North Yorkshire county council division: Hovingham and Sheriff Hutton (part: Bulmer, Coneysthorpe, Henderskelfe, Howsham, Huttons Ambo, Welburn and Westow parishes); Norton (part: Acklam, Birdsall, Burythorpe, Langton, Leavening, Scagglethorpe, Scrayingham and Settrington parishes)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Malton and Pickering

May 2015 result C 1077/750 Ind 659 LD 574
May 2011 result C 719/628 Ind 410 LD 329 Lab 265
May 2007 result C 753 LD 444 Ind 401
May 2003 result C 603/510 LD 419

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

By-election Previews: 10 December 2015

Seven local by-elections this week - six taking place in England with one more covered over on the Scottish Elections blog.

Bournemouth council, Dorset
A rare double by-election caused by the elections of Conservative councillors Norman Decent and Roger Marley being voided by the election court.  Both councillors had served only since May.

Sometimes things just go wrong.  When the polls opened on 7th May this year for the ordinary local election in Bournemouth, it quickly became apparent that there was a problem: the books of blank ballot papers which had been sent to the polling stations in Kinson South were actually ballot papers for Kinson North ward, and vice versa.  It took an hour for the problem to be sorted out, and just over 100 voters were affected by what was essentially a printing error.  Unfortunately, these things do happen sometimes.  Even more unfortunately, the votes here in May were close enough that the error might have affected the result, in which two Tory councillors and a UKIP councillor were elected.  The fourth-placed candidate, long-serving Labour councillor Beryl Baxter, took the result to the election court.  The UKIP councillor finished top of the poll, and his majority is large enough that he would have been elected anyway; but the election court has voided the election of the two Conservatives who will now have to go to the electorate all over again.

Kinson itself lies inland, a former village to the north-west of Bournemouth which was annexed by the town in 1931, necessitating a change to what was then the Hampshire/Dorset county boundary.  Kinson South is normally Bournemouth's Labour stronghold, in sharp contrast to the rest of the town which these days votes Conservative; however, the Tories gained one of the three Labour seats in 2011.  The voided 2015 election had a very fractured result: UKIP topped the poll with just 25% of the vote, with the Tories just behind also on 25%, Labour polling 22% and 10% of the vote each for the Bournemouth Independent Alliance and the Green Party.

This double by-election has attracted a field of twelve candidates.  The two outgoing Tory councillors, Norman Decent and Roger Marley, are standing for re-election.  UKIP, interestingly, only have a single candidate, Duane Farr, who according to his Twitter is an "NHS pain management volunteer".  The mind boggles.  On the Labour slate, Beryl Baxter is hoping to complete the job of getting her seat back after winning her case in the election court; she is joined by Mel Semple, a doctor who has fought the ward in the last two elections.  Philip Davenport and Roger West stand for the Bournemouth Independent Alliance: Davenport stood here in May while West is a former Lib Dem borough councillor.  The Greens have two new candidates, Geoffrey Darnton and Carla Gregory-May.  Completing the ballot paper are Phil Dunn and Gill Pardy, who form the Lib Dem slate, and Kevin Dixon who is the candidate of Patria, an obscure far-right group.

Parliamentary constituency: Bournemouth West
ONS Travel to Work Area: Bournemouth

May 2015 partially void result UKIP 1224 C 1188/1147/919 Lab 1083/951/875 Bournemouth Independent Alliance 489 Grn 471 LD 378
May 2011 result Lab 1043/992/892 C 922/787/782 LD 308/256
May 2007 result Lab 861/736/711 LD 536/534/523 C 493/486/476 UKIP 233/211 Ind 118
May 2003 result Lab 940/876/862 C 457/448/437 LD 321/268/251

Huntingdonshire district council, Cambridgeshire
Caused by the resignation of UKIP councillor Andrew Hardy on health grounds.  Having served since May 2014, he was about to be disqualified for non-attendance.

Moving north, we take the Great North Road and come to Huntingdon, a thriving market town in Cambridgeshire which was once the centre of its own county.  One of three wards covering the town itself, Huntingdon East ward covers part of the town centre but is based on Hartford, a suburb which now forms the eastern edge of town.

This ward has traditionally been a Tory/Lib Dem marginal: it elected three Conservatives at the first poll in its current form in 2004, with the Lib Dems gaining two of the seats in 2006 and 2008 respectively.  That balance persisted until 2014, when UKIP topped the poll in a close three-way result and gained a seat from the Lib Dems.  At the most recent ordinary election in May the Tory seat was up, and the Conservatives held it with 35% to 28% for the Lib Dems and 23% for UKIP, a Conservative majority of 331.  The ward forms part of a county council division based on Godmanchester which has been trending towards the Lib Dems over the last decade, although the most recent county election was a very close three-way split with Lib Dem majorities of 55 and 24 over UKIP.

Defending for UKIP is Martin Cohen, the runner-up here in 2013's county council election.  Tom Fletcher hopes to make the gain for the Conservatives.  The Lib Dems have selected Ste Greenall, a district councillor for this ward from 2010 until losing his seat to UKIP in 2014.  Completing the ballot paper is Labour's Duncan Williams.

Parliamentary constituency: Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire county council division: Godmanchester and Huntingdon East
ONS Travel to Work Area: Huntingdon

May 2015 result C 1595 LD 1264 UKIP 1065 Lab 566 TUSC 52
May 2014 result UKIP 882 LD 848 C 702 Lab 282
May 2012 result LD 823 C 789 UKIP 336 Lab 282
May 2011 result C 1424 LD 989 Lab 492
May 2010 result LD 2075 C 1766 Lab 453 Grn 202
May 2008 result LD 1239 C 1016 Lab 154 UKIP 145 Grn 64
May 2007 result C 1173 LD 901 Lab 188 Grn 125
May 2006 result LD 1326 C 1073 Lab 247
June 2004 result C 1236/1146/1114 LD 1040/988/960 UKIP 442 Lab 297/289/272

Harborough district council, Leicestershire
Caused by the death of Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Callis at the age of 76.  Callis had a long career in local government, sitting on Harborough district council from 1979 to 1983 and continuously since 1991, and also on Leicestershire county council from 1993 to 2009.  Away from politics he worked as a carpet fitter, and leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Moving into the Midlands with another market town on a main line from London.  Market Harborough has a long history as a royal manor and a service centre for Rockingham Forest, an ancient royal hunting forest.  In the early nineteenth century the town was joined to the canal network with a branch of the Grand Union canal terminating here; a century later a National Festival of Boats held in the canal basin kickstarted a revival in the canal network for leisure use.  One of four wards covering the town, Logan ward is the north-west corner, containing part of the town centre and the canal basin, and is named after Logan Street which connects the canal with the Coventry Road.

Peter Callis had a strong personal vote and tended to run well ahead of his Lib Dem running-mate in this ward, which is one reason that the ward's two seats have split Lib Dem/Tory at every election since 2007.  In May's local elections the Lib Dem slate was top with 36% to 35% for the Tories and 15% for Labour, Callis being just 21 votes ahead of the new Tory candidate.  The Conservatives hold the local county council seat, defeating Callis in 2009 by just eight votes and increasing their majority in 2013 to eighteen votes.

Defending for the Lib Dems is Barbara Johnson, a former district councillor for the town's Great Bowden and Arden ward who lost her seat in May.  The Tories' Paul Bremner is also hoping to make a quick return to the council, having been the Tory councillor here from 2007 until standing down in 2015.  The Labour candidate is Anne Pridmore, a disability rights campaigner.  Also standing are UKIP's Robert Davison and Darren Woodiwiss of the Green Party.

Parliamentary constituency: Harborough
Leicestershire county council division: Market Harborough East and Foxton
ONS Travel to Work Area: Leicester

May 2015 result LD 996/660 C 975/645 Lab 416 Grn 368
May 2011 result LD 734/609 C 729/508 Lab 230/220 Ind 98
May 2007 result C 718/584 LD 663/528
Aug 2004 by-election LD 615 C 570
May 2003 result LD 876/808 C 592/460

North East Derbyshire district council
Caused respectively by the resignation of Conservative councillor Gary Griffin-Chappel and the death of Labour councillor Tricia Williams at the age of 64.  Griffin-Chappel's resignation comes after just five months on the council as he is moving to New Zealand.  Williams was a retired NHS administrator who had served on North East Derbyshire council since 1996.

Continuing our trip north, we come to two Derbyshire wards which despite being within the same district are chalk and cheese.  Centred on junction 29 of the M1, Holmewood and Heath is a rather strange name for a ward which is based on the parish of Heath and Holmewood: the explanation for this reversal is that Holmewood is now the major player in the division, the village having been built essentially from scratch in 1905 by and for the Williamthorpe Colliery Company.  Yes, this is a pit village, which has suffered massive unemployment since the Williamthorpe Colliery closed in 1970.  In response, the Thatcher government and the local council set up an enterprise zone, using the village's proximity to the M1 and a series of financial incentives to lure business to the area.  It's a textbook example of the decline of the former pit villages, and indeed the story of Holmewood was used as an example in a 2004 GCSE geography textbook.  The ward has politics to match, being Labour at every election this century except a by-election in April 2008 which saw a freak Lib Dem win; that seat was recovered by Labour at a further by-election in February 2010 and the Lib Dems haven't been seen here since.  Last May's election was a straight fight between Labour and the Tories, with Labour winning 71-29.

Given what I've just said, you might have expected that Coal Aston would have a similar history and economy.  You'd be wrong: it's a village on the eastern edge of Dronfield and just outside the Sheffield city limits.  In other words, it's a commuter village and has politics to match: it has been trending towards the Tories in recent years and in May the Tories beat Labour here 51-34.

So, two by-elections in safe seats, both of which are straight fights between the Tories and Labour.  In Coal Aston, Dronfield town councillor Gareth Hopkinson (Conservative) is opposed by banker David Cheetham (Labour).  In Holmewood and Heath the Labour candidate, "business advisor, social enterprise expert and employability coach" Suzy Cornwell Ball (appearing on the ballot paper as Suzy Cornwell) is opposed by the Tories' Caroline Ellis.

Coal Aston
Parliamentary constituency: North East Derbyshire
Derbyshire county council division: Eckington and Killamarsh (most); Dronfield East (small part)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Sheffield and Rotherham

May 2015 result C 1034/941 Lab 691/608 UKIP 283
May 2011 result C 730/680 Lab 546/543 LD 198
May 2007 result C 569/514 Lab 378/341 LD 221/220
May 2003 result C 484 Lab 439/418

Holmewood and Heath
Parliamentary constituency: Bolsover
Derbyshire county council division: Sutton
ONS Travel to Work Area: Chesterfield

May 2015 result Lab 925/841 C 376/325
May 2011 result Lab 607/582 C 248
Feb 2010 by-election Lab 373 C 209
Apr 2008 by-election LD 382 Lab 356 C 165
May 2007 result Lab unopposed
May 2003 result Lab unopposed

Fylde district council, Lancashire
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Len Davies, who had served on Fylde council since winning a by-election in November 2009.

A bit bracing at this time of year, but welcome to the seaside.  This is the centre of Lytham, covering the East Beach (almost as far as the windmill) and Lytham railway station.  The ward is named after the Clifton family, who controlled Lytham until the middle of the twentieth century, and has a reputation as the rich end of the Blackpool conurbation.

Despite that, this ward hasn't been plain sailing for the Tories who are often run close by independent candidates, and in 2011 for some reason the Conservatives only stood two candidates for the three seats.  In May's election the Conservatives recovered the monopoly on the ward which they had lost in 2007, but outgoing independent councillor Kenneth Hopwood lost his seat by just six votes; he had 36% to 46% for the Tory slate and 18% for Labour.  The Conservatives do better here at county council level where Lytham is a safe seat.

Defending for the Tories is Peter Anthony, a singer, entertainer and bar owner who fought Blackpool South in this year's general election.  Noreen Griffiths stands as an independent candidate.  Labour have selected Jed Sullivan, a youth worker who fought Fylde in this year's general election.  Also on the ballot are Luke Gibbon of the Lib Dems and Tim Wood of UKIP.

Parliamentary constituency: Fylde
Lancashire county council division: Lytham
ONS Travel to Work Area: Blackpool

May 2015 result C 1385/1136/1087 Ind 1081 Lab 554
May 2011 result C 828/699 Ind 813/804
Nov 2009 by-election C 386 Fylde Ratepayers 372 LD 241 Lab 80 Grn 13
May 2007 result C 837/739/710 Ind 735 Lab 239
May 2003 result C 874/722/651 Fylde Ratepayers 609/559 Lab 232

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

By-election Previews: 3 December 2015 (including Oldham West and Royton)

With apologies, our usual contributor was unavailable this week and our editor is still buried up to his eyeballs with his day job, so it's a skeleton service for this week's by-elections...

House of Commons
Michael Meacher (Labour) died.

2015: Lab 23630, UKIP 8892, Con 8187, LD 1589, Grn 839
2010: Lab 19503, Con 10151, LD 8193, BNP 3049, UKIP 1387, Respect 627
2005: Lab 18452, Con 7998, LD 7519, BNP 2606, UKIP 987
2001: Lab 20441, Con 7076, BNP 6552, LD 4975, Grn 918

Sir Oink A-Lot (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)
John Bickley (UK Independence Party (UKIP))
Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrats)
James Daly (The Conservative Party Candidate)
Simeon Hart (Green Party)
Jim McMahon (Labour Party)

Guildford borough council
Stephen Mansbridge (Conservative, former council leader) resigned in protest to changes to the council's leadership model.

2015: Con 2299/2199/2104, Guildford Greenbelt Group 999, LD 900/665, Lab 746
May 2013 by: Con unopposed
2011: Con 1684/1683/1636, Lab 643/474
2007: Con 1393/1377/1354, LD 538/478/1354
Jul 2006 by: Con 1245, LD 684
2003: Con 1691/1395/1356, LD 1035/985/967, Lab 276/262/243

George Dokimakis (Labour Party Candidate)
Andrew Gomm (Conservative Party Candidate)
Kyle Greaves (UK Independence Party (UKIP))
Alan Hilliar (Liberal Democrat)
Ramsey Nagaty (Guildford Greenbelt Group) 

Malvern Hills district council
Gill Farmer (Conservative) died. She was councillor for more than 20 years and was Chairman of the Council in 2004.

2015: Con 797, UKIP 306
2011: Con unopposed
2007: Con unopposed
2003: Con unopposed

Andrew Dolan (UKIP)
Caroline Palethorpe (Conservative)
Daniel Walton (Labour)

Newham London borough council
Charity Fiberesima (Labour) died.

2014: Lab 2658/2505/2425, Con 869/823/756, TUSC 342, CPA 270/259
2010: Lab 3261/3221/3107, Con 1354/1177/844, CPA 386/314/275, Kamran Malik Communities Welfare Party 116/81
2006: Lab 1627/1547/1512, Respect 1219/1082/1007, Con 528/484/426, CPA 308
2002: Lab 1321/1224/1122, Con 579, Grn 507, CPA 289

Emmanuel Finndoro-Obasi (Conservative Party Candidate)
David Mears (UK Independence Party (UKIP))
Sheree Miller (Liberal Democrats)
Veronica Oakeshott (Labour Party)
Diane Ofori (Independent)
Frankie-Rose Taylor (The Green Party)

Shropshire council
Mike Owen (Conservative) resigned to spend time with his family. He was a member of the Cabinet and county councillor between 2000 and 2001 and since 2005.

2013: Con 689, Lab 473, LD 92
2009: Con 1035, LD 416

Nat Green (Liberal Democrat) 
Nic Laurens (Conservative Party Candidate)
John Lewis (Labour and Co-operative Party)
David Morgan (UK Independence Party (UK I P))
John Newnham (Green Party)

South Kesteven district council
Thomas Webster (Conservative) resigned to focus on personal issues and closing his business.

2015: Con 1749/1570, Lab 763

Louise Clack (Labour Party)
Laura King (Independent)
Mike Taylor (UK Independence Party (UKIP))
Hannah Westropp (The Conservative Party Candidate)

Thanks go to 'maxque' who prepared the local previews originally for this week's local elections thread on the forum, here.