Previews: 05 Oct 2017

“All the right votes, but not necessarily in the right order”


A special announcement

Before we start this week, I am proud to make the following announcement.

The first Andrew’s Previews book is now available for purchase. This is a permanent written collection of all the articles published under the Andrew’s Previews series in 2016, whether for Kristofer Keane’s blogs or for Election Data, and also including the results of each by-election featured.

If you want to relive the ups and downs of that crazy political year which was 2016; or if you’ve only come to this column recently and want to read more; or if you want to know more about the political and demographic map of Great Britain; or if you just fancy finding out about bits of Britain about which you might know little and visit less, then this is the book for you. If you are looking for an interesting Christmas present for somebody with those interests, then this is the book for you. It’s a unique work – as far as I can tell the only other book primarily focusing on local by-elections is J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which is not exactly non-fiction.

And remember, by buying the book you will help to support the research required to keep this column, and the Local Elections Archive Project, going.

Have I sold this to you yet? If so, get yourself over to Amazon (at the moment it’s only available through Amazon).

If not, have a read of this preview of the eight by-elections on 5th October 2017, and remember that if you like what’s written here there’s a lot more like this waiting for you inside those pages. Read on…


Mash Barn

Adur council, West Sussex; caused by the resignation of UKIP councillor David Lambourne who had served since 2014.

Where better to start than the first English district council, alphabetically? The slightly curious name of Adur district comes from a local river, and Mash Barn ward lies on the western bank of that river. This has always been an outward-looking area: much of the ward’s acreage is taken up by Brighton City (Shoreham) Airport, which opened in 1910 as the oldest purpose-built commercial airport in the world. The terminal building is listed for its 1930s Art Deco architecture. Sold by Adur council in 2006, Brighton City is not one of the UK’s most important airports – it handled fewer than 500 passengers in 2014 – but was notable for the annual Shoreham Airshow until a 2015 incident in which an aircraft crashed onto the A27 road on the ward’s northern boundary, killing 11 people on the ground.

With much of Mash Barn ward’s area taken up by the airport, agriculture or the training grounds for Brighton and Hove Albion FC, the ward’s population is concentrated at its western end in the village of Lancing. One of the many claimants this column comes across for the title of England’s largest village, Lancing is effectively a part of the Brighton-Worthing conurbation and easily large enough to be a town in its own right. Mash Barn is Lancing’s council estate ward, running north from the railway station to the A27 road, and has particularly high levels of part-time working.

In recent years Mash Barn’s politics have been rather volatile. The current ward boundaries date from 2004 when the ward’s two seats split between the Tories and Lib Dems. That split persisted, leading to some wild swings in the following years: the Lib Dems held their seat in 2006 by just 5 votes, increased their majority in the 2010 election to 28 votes, but fell to fourth place in 2012 as the Conservatives held their seat easily. In 2014 the Tory councillor resigned putting both seats in the ward up for election, and both seats were comfortably gained by UKIP. UKIP held the ward easily in 2016 when they had 42% to 23% for the Conservatives and 20% for Labour. However, the purple party seem to have fallen apart in Adur recently: they lost the Lancing county council seat, which covers this ward, to the Conservatives in May, and UKIP are not defending this by-election.

Yes, you guessed it, this is Britain Elects’ favourite type of by-election, a free-for-all! The Conservatives, who control Adur council, have gone for youth in selecting Jack Howard who is involved with the local British Legion branch. Labour, who got a huge swing in their favour in June in the local parliamentary seat (East Worthing and Shoreham), have selected Lancing parish councillor Lee Cowen who stood for the county council seat in May. Two other candidates returning from May’s county council election are Doris Martin of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party’s Paul Hendy, who complete the ballot paper. Whoever wins this by-election will need to be back on the campaign trail in short order to seek re-election in May 2018.

Parliamentary constituency: East Worthing and Shoreham
West Sussex county council division: Lancing
ONS Travel to Work Area: Worthing
Postcode districts: BN15, BN43

Lee Cowen (Lab)
Paul Hendy (Grn)
Jack Howard (C)
Doris Martin (LD)

May 2016 result UKIP 398 C 212 Lab 184 LD 146
May 2014 double vacancy UKIP 461/416 LD 265/224 C 245/198 Lab 159
May 2012 result C 269 UKIP 190 Lab 174 LD 151
May 2010 result LD 815 C 787 UKIP 343
May 2008 result C 485 LD 259 UKIP 88 Lab 84
May 2006 result LD 401 C 396 Grn 105
June 2004 result C 342/274 LD 295/264 Ind 200/192 Lab 166


Borehamwood Kenilworth

Hertsmere council, Hertfordshire; caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Thomas Ash, who had served since 2015.

Let’s make a film (or a TV show), shall we? Rather like most of the Los Angeles film studios known generically as Hollywood being actually in neighbouring towns, the series of film and TV studios generically known as Elstree were in fact mostly in what has become the town of Borehamwood. Much of the acreage of Borehamwood’s Kenilworth ward is taken up by the fomer site of the MGM-British Studios, which from 1948 to 1970 made a series of notable films, and not just for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer: The Inn of the Sixth Happiness was made here by 20th Century Fox, and the site was used for the TV series The Prisoner and UFO. MGM-British Studios were essentially put out of business in 1970 by Stanley Kubrick, who tied the site up for two whole years with production of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the studio site was developed for housing. Appropriately the main road through the development is called Studio Way while other streets in the ward commemorate giants of the film industry: among others Korda, Novello, Niven and Danziger (the Danziger brothers also had an Elstree Studio) are all remembered in this way. Those living in this new development may be pleased to know that their polling station for this by-election is a pub – the Toby Carvery on Studio Way.

Kenilworth ward’s population has traditionally lived on the south side of Elstree Way, next to the A1 in housing from the great boom immediately after war which made Borehamwood what it is today. This is a strongly Jewish area – Kenilworth ward is in the top 40 wards in England and Wales for Judaism – and the timing of this by-election on the first day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, has led to an apology from the returning officer, who explained that he had to call a by-election within 35 working days of the request for a by-election being made and there were no other suitable dates. (We will return to this subject next week.) The print run for postal votes has been increased, but there may still be an impact on turnout nevertheless. Social renting in the ward is high, and there is an unusually large black population (6.3%) for a ward in a shire county.

Borehamwood is traditionally the most Labour-inclined part of the strongly Conservative Hertsmere district, which runs along the outer edge of Greater London from Bushey to Potters Bar. At the first poll on its current boundaries in 2002 Borehamwood Kenilworth voted strongly Labour, but then turned into a key marginal. The Conservatives gained one Labour seat in 2006 by 12 votes, and the other in 2007 by 49 votes; that year the outgoing Labour councillor Frank Ward stood for re-election as an independent candidate and polled 216 votes, so Labour could argue that their vote was split. Labour regained the Tory seats here in 2011 and 2014, but in 2015 Hertsmere moved away from the thirds electoral system putting both seats up for election, and the Conservatives narrowly gained both seats in Kenilworth ward beating Labour 53-47 in a straight fight. The ward is split between the two Borehamwood county divisions, both of which voted Conservative in May.

A Tory hold in this marginal ward would give the party a cheer in Conservative conference week. Their defending candidate is Pat Strack; she was a councillor for this ward from 2006 until losing her seat in 2014, served as Mayor of Hertsmere in 2012-13, and still sits on Elstree and Borehamwood town council (although not for this ward). Labour have selected a high-profile candidate from the Jewish community: Jeremy Newmark is the chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement and the party’s Hertsmere branch, formerly worked as a spokesman for then Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and fought Finchley and Golders Green in the general election. Also standing on a much wider ballot paper than usual for this ward are Elaine Elliman for the Liberal Democrats, Vikki Johnson for UKIP and independent candidate Lawrence Stack.

Parliamentary constituency: Hertsmere
Hertfordshire county council division: Borehamwood South (part south of Elstree Way), Borehamwood North (part north of Elstree Way)
ONS Travel to Work Area: London
Postcode district: WD6

Elaine Elliman (LD)
Vikki Johnson (UKIP)
Jeremy Newmark (Lab)
Lawrence Stack (Ind)
Pat Strack (C)

May 2015 result C 1363/1290 Lab 1206/1084
May 2014 result Lab 595 C 485 UKIP 413
May 2011 result Lab 859 C 652
May 2010 result C 1253 Lab 1188
May 2007 result C 467 Lab 418 Ind 216
May 2006 result C 511 Lab 499 LD 167
May 2003 result Lab 349 C 321 LD 175
May 2002 result Lab 463/457 C 231/208 Ind 195


Burnham Lent Rise and Taplow

South Bucks council, Buckinghamshire; caused by the death of Conservative councillor Alan Samson. Samson was first elected in 2010 to Burnham parish council and had served on South Bucks council since 2011, originally from Burnahm Church ward before transferring in 2015 to this ward. Before becoming a councillor he had a 30-year career in operational management and 15 years in logistical management.

Nothing ordinary ever happened here, nor could it.
– motto of Cliveden

Moving to the west of London, we come to a long and thin ward which covers the area between Slough and Maidenhead while definitely not being part of either. The ward is based on most of Burnham, which likes to call itself a large village but which I’m going to mortally offend here by describing it as a Slough suburb. Burnham was once a market town on the London-Bath road, but fell into decline after the Maidenhead bridge over the Thames was opened in 1280 and the road diverted over it. To the south is Dorney, which came to international attention in 2012 as the venue for the rowing and sprint canoeing events in the London Olympics.

Further upstream on the Thames is the village of Taplow, which anchors a long and thin parish running from the M4 motorway almost as far as the edge of High Wycombe. Taplow is the site of the ward’s railway station, a grand Victorian structure rather out of kilter with its relatively low usage, and covers the eastern end of the modern Maidenhead Bridges – the handsome A4 road bridge dating from 1777 and Brunel’s flat-arch railway bridge, opened in 1839 with the widest and flattest arches in the world at that time. Both of these are Grade I listed, as is the Italianate mansion house of Cliveden. Home to various scions of the upper class from Frederick, Prince of Wales all the way down the social scale to the Viscounts Astor, and later scene of the notorious Profumo Affair, Cliveden is now a five-star hotel owned by the National Trust and home to its own species of snail – Britain’s only colony of the Mediterranean land snail Papillifera bidens, happily living on the Borghese Balustrade.

We have heard a lot recently about the appalling tragedy at Grenfell Tower in west London which has thrown a spotlight on living conditions in the capital. Compare and contrast with the living conditions of the family after which the tower was named. Three generations of MPs called Grenfell lived in Taplow: Pascoe Grenfell, a Cornishman from a family of tin and copper merchants (Great Marlow 1802-20, Penryn 1820-26), his son Charles Grenfell (Preston 1847-52 and 1857-65) who bought the country house of Taplow Court adjacent to Cliveden, and his grandson William Grenfell (Salisbury 1880-82 and 1885-86, Hereford 1892-93, Wycombe 1900-05 thence Lord Desborough) who was a noted sportsman – among other achievements he was on the Oxford crews that dead-heated the 1877 Boat Race and won the race the following year, and Desborough was the first Briton to carry the flag at the opening of the Olympic Games, going on to win a silver medal for team fencing at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens. Desborough was also the father of the First World war poet Julian Grenfell. The ill-fated tower itself was named after Field Marshal Francis Grenfell, later Lord Grenfell, a Zulu War veteran who was another grandson of Pascoe Grenfell MP. The noted actress Joyce Grenfell had acquired the name by marriage – her husband Reggie was a great-great-grandson of Pascoe Grenfell MP – but, appropriately enough, lived on the Cliveden estate in her early life.

Compare and contrast.

At the time of the last census in 2011 Taplow parish formed a single-member ward of South Bucks district with upper-class demographics to match its upper-class history: a majority of its workforce were in some sort of management occupation. (One wonders how the census enumerators classified Sir Terry Wogan, who lived in Taplow for decades until his death last year.) The former Dorney and Burnham South ward made the top 100 wards in England and Wales for Sikhism – presumably overspill from over the county boundary in Slough – and the former Burnham Lent Rise ward wasn’t all that much further down the social scale. Boundary changes in 2015 fused the area into a single ward which is as safe Conservative as you’d expect: that year the Conservative slate had 42% to 18% for UKIP, 16% for Labour and 13% for the Greens. In May’s Buckinghamshire county elections the Cliveden division, which is based on this ward, was also safely Conservative.

Defending for the Conservatives is Matt Bezzant, policy and public affairs manager for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society who ran the Berkshire branch of the Remain capaign during last year’s EU referendum. UKIP have not nominated a candidate this time. Labour have selected Alexa Collins, who runs an interior design company, is secretary of the Beaconsfield branch of Labour and is finance officer for Burnham parish council. The Green candidate is Zoe Hatch, who resigned from Taplow parish council last year and, perhaps because of this, has resorted to Crowdfunder to pay for her campaign. Completing the ballot paper is Carol Linton for the Liberal Democrats.

Parliamentary constituency: Beaconsfield
Buckinghamshire county council division: Cliveden
ONS Travel to Work Area: Slough and Heathrow
Postcode districts: HP10, SL1, SL4, SL6

Matt Bezzant (C)
Alexa Collins (Lab)
Zoe Hatch (Grn)
Carol Linton (LD)

May 2015 result C 2056/1715/1584 UKIP 872 Lab 779 Grn 651 Ind 501


Stoneleigh and Cubbington

Warwick council; caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Nick Harrington, who had served since 2015.

We move to the Midlands for a large agricultural ward immediately to the south of Coventry. We may be in the Midlands now but we haven’t got away from the aristocratic country estates: Stoneleigh Abbey, a Cistercian foundation founded in 1154, was acquired after the Dissolution by Sir Thomas Leigh, Lord Mayor of London. The Leigh family became Warwickshire’s largest landowners and built an impressive Georgian country house where they lived until 1990; it is now open to the public. Stoneleigh cricket club play their matches in the grounds of the house, and Wisden have previously named their ground as England’s most beautiful cricket pitch.

The Leighs closed down all of Stoneleigh’s pubs, allegedly after Lord Leigh’s daughter was laughed at by drunks as she was going to church on a tricycle. So we have to look elsewhere for the main contributor to the local economy, and we find it in exhibitions. The 800-acre Stoneleigh Park was formerly the National Agricultural Centre, hosted the annual Royal Show every year from 1963 to 2009, and is still in use as an exhibition and conference centre. The Royal Agricultural Society of England and the British Charolais Cattle Society are still based at Stoneleigh Park.

Rather more sleepy is Cubbington, a village on the outskirts of Leamington Spa which is perhaps best known as a filming location for Keeping Up Appearances and Chucklevision. (To me, to you, to me, to you.) Other parishes within the ward include Baginton which is the site of Coventry Airport, a minor airfield used for cargo, private jets and flight training. The airport site may be subject to future redevelopment: Jaguar Land Rover have their eyes on the area for a new factory.

This ward was created in 2015 by merging most of the former Cubbington and Stoneleigh wards. The 2003-15 Stoneleigh ward made several top 100 lists for unusual demographics, but that was because the boundaries of that ward included Burton Green parish which covers part of the University of Warwick campus; Burton Green parish was transferred to Kenilworth’s Abbey ward in 2015. Comparisons should instead be made with the former Cubbington ward, which in 2011 had a commuter demographic thanks to its proximity to the Leamington-Warwick conurbation.

In 2015 the Tory slate in Stoneleigh and Cubbington was run fairly close by independent candidate David Ellwood: the Tories won both seats with 40% to 30% for Ellwood and 17% for Labour. The Conservatives had a big lead in May in the local county division. Shortly afterwards Nick Harrington was suspended from the Conservative party for making a racist tweet during the Eurovision Song Contest, and subsequently resigned from the council. Given that Harrington’s tweet was aimed at Ireland, it’s unlikely that Terry Wogan would have been amused.

Defending for the Conservatives is Trevor Wright, a business consultant from Kenilworth. The independent candidate from 2015 is not standing again. Labour have selected Josh Payne, an activist from Kenilworth who will hoping for more than the 9% he got in the safe-Tory Lapworth division in May’s county elections. Completing the ballot paper are Chris Philpott for the Green Party and Richard Dickson for the Lib Dems.

Parliamentary constituency: Kenilworth and Southam
Warwickshire county council division: Cubbington and Leek Wootton
ONS Travel to Work Area: Coventry (Baginton and Stoneleigh parishes); Leamington Spa (Ashow and Weston under Wetherley parishes and part of Cubbington parish)
Postcode districts: CV3, CV8, CV32, CV33

Richard Dickson (LD)
Josh Payne (Lab)
Chris Philpott (Grn)
Trevor Wright (C)

May 2015 result C 1390/1177 Ind 1039 Lab 614/376 Grn 468/224


Burbage Sketchley and Stretton

Hinckley and Bosworth council, Leicestershire; caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Stan Rooney who had served since 2015.

For our East Midlands by-election this week we move just across the county boundary from Warwickshire into Leicestershire. The large village of Burbage has grown strongly since the Second World War thanks to the building of large housing estates in Sketchley, attracted by the area’s proximity to the M69 motorway giving good road links to Leicester and Coventry. Now effectively a southern suburb of Hinckley, Burbage is large enough to need two wards of its own. This is the southern ward, including the southern part of the old village around Lutterworth Road; the Sketchley housing estates; and some countryside down to the A5 Watling Street, around which a number of business parks and distribution centres have sprung up. Appropriately, the ward has a commuter economic profile.

This ward was safely Conservative when it was first fought in 2003, but in 2007 the Liberal Democrats – who are strong in Hinckley town – put together a large swing to gain the ward and control of Hinckley and Bosworth council. The Tories got one seat back in 2011 (by a majority of 5 votes) and easily gained the other two seats in the ward in 2015; vote shares that year were 44% for the Conservatives, 29% for the Liberal Democrats and 14% for UKIP. The Conservatives consolidated their position in May’s county elections in which the Burbage division (based on this ward) was safe for them.

Defending for the Conservatives is David Macdonald, a businessman and executive director of Uttoxeter Racecourse who fought the ward in 2011. Hoping to get back on the council is Lib Dem candidate Robert Mayne, who represented this ward on Hinckley and Bosworth council from 2007 to 2015. The UKIP candidate is Neale Smith, who fought the county council seat in May, and the ballot paper is completed by Labour candidate Christina Emmett and independent candidate Danny Findlay.

Parliamentary constituency: Bosworth
Leicestershire county council division: Burbage
ONS Travel to Work Area: Leicester
Postcode district: LE10

Christina Emmett (Lab)
Danny Findlay (Ind)
David Macdonald (C)
Robert Mayne (LD)
Neale Smith (UKIP)

May 2015 result C 2313/2176/1998 LD 1537/1436 UKIP 753 Lab 701/666/614
May 2011 result LD 1458/1428/1404 C 1409/1299/1254 Lab 412/361
May 2007 result LD 1184/1163/1144 C 1107/1098/1086 Ind 243/181 Lab 233
May 2003 result C 1474/1411/1377 LD 623/621/596 Lab 288/288/272


Crewe East

Cheshire East council; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor David Newton, who is retiring from public service on health grounds. A Deputy Lieutenant for Cheshire, Newton had served on Cheshire East council since 2011 and before that was a long-serving Cheshire county councillor, chairing the county council for four years.

This ward is easily described: it is Crewe east of the West Coast main railway line. The archetypal railway town, Crewe developed from nothing in the 1840s at the behest of the Grand Junction Railway, which had built a station, railway junction and locomotive works here in 1837. Engineering still forms the basis of the local economy; the railway works remain in operation, there is a large factory producing Bentley cars, and the defence and aerospace industries have presences. Also here, for now (it’s scheduled for closure in the next couple of years), is a campus of Manchester Metropolitan University which leads to a significant student population. If High Speed 2 gets off the ground, Crewe station could be redeveloped to handle it.

Crewe is a Labour-inclined town, and this ward is no exception. In the days of the old Crewe and Nantwich council this area was covered by two-and-a-half wards: Maw Green ward (covering the north-east corner of the town) was solidly Labour, Waldron ward (the south-east corner) was normally Labour except for a Conservative win in 2006, and the modern Crewe East also included part of Delamere ward which was a Lib Dem area. The creation of Cheshire East council in 2009 consolidated these areas into a single ward which was safely Labour, and boundary changes in 2011 haven’t changed that. At the most recent election in 2015 Labour had 46% of the vote to 23% for UKIP and 22% for the Conservatives. The Crewe and Nantwich constituency was an unexpected, if razor-thin, Labour gain in the general election, suggesting that the local Labour machine is in as a good a shape as anything out of Crewe Works.

Defending for Labour is Joy Bratherton, a former Crewe town councillor and former Crewe and Nantwich councillor: she represented Valley ward for the Liberal Democrats from 2006 to 2009. Also elected in that 2006 election to Crewe and Nantwich council was Eddie Ankers, who gained Waldron ward for the Conservatives; Ankers is standing in this by-election with the UKIP nomination. The official Conservative candidate is Mary Addison, a politics graduate who, like Ankers, gives an address in Shavintgon. Completing the ballot paper is Melanie English for the Green Party. Some of the electors may be pleased to note that their polling station is a pub – the Sydney Arms.

Parliamentary constituency: Crewe and Nantwich
ONS Travel to Work Area: Crewe
Postcode districts: CW1, CW2, CW3

Mary Addison (C)
Eddie Ankers (UKIP)
Joy Bratherton (Lab)
Melanie English (Grn)

May 2015 result Lab 2752/2421/2103 UKIP 1371/1087/1075 C 1307/1204/942 Grn 567
May 2011 result Lab 2128/2058/1730 C 975/937/902 LD 343


Claremont

Salford council, Greater Manchester; caused by the death of long-serving Labour councillor Joe Murphy at the age of 80. Murphy was one of the few remaining veterans of local government from before the 1974 reorganisation, having first been elected to Salford county borough council in 1971. The Mayor of Salford in 1992, Murphy was deselected in his former Irwell Riverside ward in 2011 but found a new berth in Claremont ward, gaining it from the Liberal Democrats. Away from the council he had played professional football for Rochdale, and then became an engineer.

Let’s go to Salford, shall we? (Note to Conservative party conference attendees: you want the 8 or 37 bus, and try not to wince when the driver quotes you a fare. You’re not in London any more, this is how the rest of the country lives.) Now let’s get one thing clear: not all of what was once Salford county borough is rough. In fact parts of it are quite nice and many of the nicest bits are in Claremont ward. The core of Claremont ward is Irlams o’ th’ Height, the eastern terminus of the East Lancashire Road and the southern terminus of the Highway to Hell (or Blackburn, whicever comes first), the A666; this is an area of desirable Victorian houses along Claremont Road which was described to your columnist, when he worked for Salford council many years ago, as the area where the city’s drug dealers liked to live. Make of that what you will. Further out of the city are 1930s semis along Lancaster Road, Swinton Park Road and the aforementioned Highway to Hell. Owner-occupation in Claremont ward is high with little social housing.

This is the second Claremont by-election of the year, the first having been on general election day in June. As this column said very briefly in the preview of that poll, this is an area which was Lib Dem until the Coalition took the floor out of their vote. The Lib Dem organisation in Salford seems to have fallen apart: one of their former councillors for this ward, (Margaret) Mary Ferrer, was the Green candidate in the June 2013 Weaste and Seedley by-election, and finished as runner-up here in each year from 2014 to 2016 with the UKIP nomination. In that 2016 result Labour had 48% to 25% for UKIP and 18% for the Conservatives; UKIP didn’t stand in June’s by-election in which Labour led the Tories here 62-27.

Defending this second Claremont by-election of the year for Labour is Mike Pevitt, who is also fighting his second by-election of the year: he was the Labour candidate who embarrassingly lost Kersal ward to the Conservatives in March, the first time Labour had failed to win that seat since 1992. At the risk of tempting fate, this should be safer for him. The Tories have reselected Charlotte Woods who fought the June by-election. Also returning from June are the Lib Dems’ Stef Lorenz and the Greens’ Daniel Towers, and the ballot paper is completed by Mary Ferrer who, having seemingly run out of parties to join, is now standing as an independent.

Parliamentary constituency: Salford and Eccles
ONS Travel to Work Area: Manchester
Postcode districts: M6, M27

Mary Ferrer (Ind)
Stef Lorenz (LD)
Mike Pevitt (Lab)
Daniel Towers (Grn)
Charlotte Woods (C)

June 2017 by-election Lab 3300 C 1455 LD 319 Grn 236 Republic Party 49
May 2016 result Lab 1294 UKIP 666 C 489 Grn 245
May 2015 result Lab 2335 UKIP 1124 C 1014 LD 315 Grn 305 TUSC 80
May 2014 result Lab 1230 UKIP 904 C 446 Grn 163 LD 142 TUSC 52
May 2012 result Lab 1310 LD 697 C 250 UKIP 234 BNP 198 Community Action 69
May 2011 result Lab 1540 LD 809 C 460 UKIP 282
May 2010 result Lab 1837 LD 1783 C 887 BNP 386 Ind 143
May 2008 result LD 1277 Lab 737 C 525 BNP 295 UKIP 149
May 2007 result LD 995 Lab 845 C 492 BNP 316
May 2006 result LD 1162 Lab 707 BNP 424 C 331
June 2004 result LD 1505/1166/1074 Lab 964/848/830 C 764


St Germain’s

Redcar and Cleveland council, North Yorkshire; caused by the death of Liberal Democrat councillor Marjorie Moses at the age of 83. The Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland in 2005, Moses had served since 1999.

For our final poll of the week we are not in a seaside resort, but we are by the seaside. Marske-by-the-Sea lies midway along that long, sandy beach that stretches all the way from the Tees estuary to Saltburn. St Germain’s is the eastern of Marske’s two wards, named after St Germain’s church which predated the Conquest, being consecrated by Bishop Ægelric during the Confessor’s reign. Most of the church was demolished in 1950, but the ward also includes the oldest house in the village, a cottage called Winkies Castle which is now run as a museum. In more modern times Marske was an aeronautic centre – the Royal Flying Corps had a landing strip here where Captain W E Johns, author of the Biggles books, was briefly based – but now it’s a retirement centre. St Germain’s is in the top 200 wards in the UK for retired population; those who are young enough to work tend to commute to Redcar or the Teesside towns, to which Marske railway station (on the Saltburn branch) links the ward.

In a by-election in February 2002 St Germain’s ward turned in a result which may well be unique for all time – a Liberal Democrat gain from Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party. In that case the Socialist Labour councillor had originally been elected as a Lib Dem. St Germain’s is generally a strong Lib Dem ward; although Labour gained two of the ward’s seats in 2011, the Lib Dems took them back in 2015. Lib Dem seat gains in the 2015 local election are not something the dedicated student of local elections sees very often; that year the Liberal Democrat slate had 30% of the vote to 20% for Labour, 16% for UKIP, 13% for the Conservatives and 12% for the Greens.

Defending for the Lib Dems is Deborah Dowson, a councillor for this ward from 2007 to 2011 who is seeking to return to the council chamber. The Labour candidate is David Jones. UKIP are not standing in this by-election. The Conservatives have selected Olwyn Twentyman who is a Saltburn, Marske and New Marske parish councillor for the ward. The Green nominee is Nicola Riley, and independent candidates Vic Jeffries and John Lambert complete the ballot paper.

Parliamentary constituency: Redcar
ONS Travel to Work Area: Middlesbrough and Stockton
Postcode districts: TS11, TS12

May 2015 result LD 1293/1218/1125 Lab 861/842/816 UKIP 694 C 549 Grn 500/417 Ind 432/296
May 2011 result Lab 1263/1001/991 LD 1054/998/921 Ind 547 C 359
May 2007 result LD 1218/1107/1088 Lab 546/503 C 541/498
May 2003 result LD 1763/1702/1477 Ind 1025/536 C 487/428 Lab 452/355

Deborah Dowson (LD)
Vic Jeffries (Ind)
David Jones (Lab)
John Lambert (Ind)
Nicola Riley (Grn)
Olwyn Twentyman (C)