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

New surroundings, new colours, new styles, a new host, but the same old Andrew’s Previews. After nearly a year of this column being kindly hosted by Ian Warren of Election Data, Ian has decided to move in a different direction. I’d like to place on record my thanks to Ian for allowing me to share his platform over the last few months and for organising an orderly transition to the strong and stable website that is Britain Elects: thanks Ian, and best wishes for the future.

For those who may not have seen this column before, welcome! Andrew’s Previews has been going for over five years now in various corners of the internet examining one of the nerdiest parts of British politics and geography: upcoming by-elections to local councils. Each week we’ll shine a spotlight on an average of four or five tiny corners of Great Britain, describing the reasons why you might want to visit (or not, as the case may be), the demographic makeup, the political colours and how they have changed over the years, and finish with profiles of the candidates involved: for without candidates, there can’t be an election. That is the reason why one of the two local by-elections originally scheduled for today has been cancelled, and this column sends its congratulations to Ian Scott, who has been elected unopposed to Richmondshire council for the Yorkshire Dales ward of Reeth and Arkengarthdale. This cancellation leaves just one ward up for discussion this week, so it’s off to North London we go to relaunch this column with a bang…


Enfield Lock

Enfield council, North London; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Ozzie Uzoanya, who had served since 2010. He is standing down for family reasons.

Bang! Welcome to Enfield, a part of Greater London which many pass through (the West Anglia railway line runs through the ward, while the M25 and A10 roads form the ward’s northern and western boundaries) but few visit. Until the nineteenth century there wasn’t much here to visit, as the ward consisted of marshy ground on the west side of a lock on the Lee Navigation. Napoleon was indirectly responsible for changing all that: the Army was dissatisfied with the performance, quality and cost of its weapons in the Napoleonic Wars, and in time-honoured tradition the government decided that Something Must Be Done. The outcome was the Royal Small Arms Factory, opened in 1816 at an ideal location: close to the river to provide water power and transport of goods and materials, and in an isolated area which could be turned into a weapons testing range without much disturbance.

RSAF Enfield designed and built many of the Army’s most famous weapons of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the Lee-Enfield rifle through the Bren and Sten guns to the modern SA80. However, the factory itself is no longer here: it closed in 1988 and has since been redeveloped into a landmark brownfield housing estate known as Enfield Island Village, which was transferred into Greater London by boundary changes in 1994 having previously been part of Essex. Also from the late 1990s onwards much of the area north-east of Enfield Lock railway station was developed into a large and important industrial estate known as Innova Business Park.

So, much has changed in this area over the last two decades or so; and the population is changing as well. Enfield Lock is one of the youngest wards in England and Wales – under-18s outnumber over-44s – and at the last census 26% of the population were black. Despite the large industrial estates, unemployment is relatively high (7.8% in 2011). The effect of the demographic change can be seen in the ward’s election results: the 2002 borough election here, in which the Conservative slate beat Labour 55-45 and won all three seats, seems a long time ago now. Labour gained one seat in 2006 and the other two in 2010, and the ward now looks very safe for them: at the last borough elections in 2014 the Labour slate had 51% to 18% for UKIP and 15% for the Conservatives. In the 2016 GLA election Sadiq Khan beat Zac Goldsmith here 59-23, and Labour led the Conservatives 59-17 in the London Members ballot: these figures are for ballot box votes only and do not include postal votes, which are not broken down to ward level.

A history like that helps to explain why the local parliamentary seat, Enfield North, was one of the few Labour gains in the 2015 general election. Labour’s Joan Ryan defends a majority of 2.4% going into next month’s snap election which will be the fifth contest between her and Conservative candidate Nick de Bois, who has only one previous win to his name (in 2010). This is the last local by-election in a marginal parliamentary seat before 8th June (the poll in Shoeburyness next week is a rather different kettle of fish), so although a Labour loss in this ward looks unlikely the poll is still one to watch.

Defending for Labour is Elif Erbil: a radiographer who was born in Turkey and came to the UK at the age of 3, she is hoping to join on the council her aunt Nesimi Erbil, who represents Lower Edmonton ward. The UKIP candidate is Gary Robbens, who fought Turkey Street ward in 2014. The Tories have selected Christine Bellas, and completing the ballot paper are Kate McGeevor for the Green Party and Richard Morgan-Ash for the Lib Dems.

Parliamentary constituency: Enfield North

May 2014 result Lab 2395/2203/2189 UKIP 829 C 725/683/537 Grn 443 BNP 296
May 2010 result Lab 3073/2794/2665 C 1939/1859/1754 LD 934 Grn 577 UKIP 540 BNP 477
May 2006 result C 1318/1162/1125 Lab 1143/991/936 Save Chase Farm 893 LD 507 UKIP 485
May 2002 result C 1555/1446/1385 Lab 1256/1204/1200

May 2016 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Lab 1839 C 712 UKIP 188 Grn 107 LD 72 Britain First 52 Respect 48 Women’s Equality 39 BNP 28 Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol 27 Zylinski 18 One Love 5
London members: Lab 1876 C 549 UKIP 287 Grn 112 LD 79 Britain First 69 CPA 53 Women’s Equality 53 Respect 45 BNP 30 Animal Welfare 29 House Party 8


Newtown

Stockton-on-Tees council, County Durham; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Rachael Proud. She had served since 2015.

It’s worth pointing out a few things here to start this one. There is no definitive official list of upcoming local by-elections. Instead there are a number of unofficial lists put together (mainly) by the political parties from press reports and suchlike. This crowdsourcing effort is good at identifying future vacancies, but not infallible; and this vacancy slipped through the net, not coming to your columnist’s attention until very late on the day before polling day, by which time (after a 17-hour day and a horror journey home) I was too exhausted to write a preview in time. These things happen sometimes, and I’m sorry that it happened in the first week of Britain Elects hosting these previews. Must do better next time.

Anyway, we’re in Stockton-on-Tees here. Newtown ward is inner Stockton, running north-west along the Durham Road from Stockton railway station. This is a ward of Victorian and Edwardian terraces with lots of social housing, a declining population and very high unemployment: in the 2011 census 10.8% of the workforce were looking for a job, putting Newtown in the top 40 unemployed wards in England and Wales. Something, no doubt, for the new Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen to loook at – and it says something for how far Labour have sunk in the North East that they contrived to lose the inaugural Tees Valley mayoral contest to the Conservatives two weeks ago.

Not that this is likely to have been one of the Tory-voting wards in that election. Newtown was a close Labour versus Lib Dem contest in the early years of this century, but in 2007 the Lib Dem campaign team declared UDI as the Newtown Independent Party, coming a more distant second to Labour in that year and in 2011 before disappearing from the scene. The 2015 election saw UKIP take over second place in Newtown, with Labour winning comfortably by the score of 56-23.

Defending for Labour is Marilyn Surtees, who runs the Elm Tree community centre in Stockton. With no Kipper on the ballot this time, she is opposed by Miguel Rodrigues for the Conservatives, independent candidate David Kirk and Lib Dem Jason Rossiter.

Parliamentary constituency: Stockton North

May 2015 result Lab 1568/1208 UKIP 657 C 481/303 Libertarian 90
May 2011 result Lab 736/684 Newtown Independent Party 407/366 C 159/132 LD 78
May 2007 result Lab 620/565 Newtown Independent Party 369/347 BNP 189 C 154/87 UKIP 131/106
May 2005 result Lab 1120/1033 LD 952/859 C 206


Andrew Teale edits the Local Elections Archive Project and sometimes tweets at @andrewteale.

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

New surroundings, new colours, new styles, a new host, but the same old Andrew’s Previews. After nearly a year of this column being kindly hosted by Ian Warren of Election Data, Ian has decided to move in a different direction. I’d like to place on record my thanks to Ian for allowing me to share his platform over the last few months and for organising an orderly transition to the strong and stable website that is Britain Elects: thanks Ian, and best wishes for the future.

For those who may not have seen this column before, welcome! Andrew’s Previews has been going for over five years now in various corners of the internet examining one of the nerdiest parts of British politics and geography: upcoming by-elections to local councils. Each week we’ll shine a spotlight on an average of four or five tiny corners of Great Britain, describing the reasons why you might want to visit (or not, as the case may be), the demographic makeup, the political colours and how they have changed over the years, and finish with profiles of the candidates involved: for without candidates, there can’t be an election. That is the reason why one of the two local by-elections originally scheduled for today has been cancelled, and this column sends its congratulations to Ian Scott, who has been elected unopposed to Richmondshire council for the Yorkshire Dales ward of Reeth and Arkengarthdale. This cancellation leaves just one ward up for discussion this week, so it’s off to North London we go to relaunch this column with a bang…


ENFIELD LOCK

Enfield council, North London; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Ozzie Uzoanya, who had served since 2010. He is standing down for family reasons.

Bang! Welcome to Enfield, a part of Greater London which many pass through (the West Anglia railway line runs through the ward, while the M25 and A10 roads form the ward’s northern and western boundaries) but few visit. Until the nineteenth century there wasn’t much here to visit, as the ward consisted of marshy ground on the west side of a lock on the Lee Navigation. Napoleon was indirectly responsible for changing all that: the Army was dissatisfied with the performance, quality and cost of its weapons in the Napoleonic Wars, and in time-honoured tradition the government decided that Something Must Be Done. The outcome was the Royal Small Arms Factory, opened in 1816 at an ideal location: close to the river to provide water power and transport of goods and materials, and in an isolated area which could be turned into a weapons testing range without much disturbance.

RSAF Enfield designed and built many of the Army’s most famous weapons of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the Lee-Enfield rifle through the Bren and Sten guns to the modern SA80. However, the factory itself is no longer here: it closed in 1988 and has since been redeveloped into a landmark brownfield housing estate known as Enfield Island Village, which was transferred into Greater London by boundary changes in 1994 having previously been part of Essex. Also from the late 1990s onwards much of the area north-east of Enfield Lock railway station was developed into a large and important industrial estate known as Innova Business Park.

So, much has changed in this area over the last two decades or so; and the population is changing as well. Enfield Lock is one of the youngest wards in England and Wales – under-18s outnumber over-44s – and at the last census 26% of the population were black. Despite the large industrial estates, unemployment is relatively high (7.8% in 2011). The effect of the demographic change can be seen in the ward’s election results: the 2002 borough election here, in which the Conservative slate beat Labour 55-45 and won all three seats, seems a long time ago now. Labour gained one seat in 2006 and the other two in 2010, and the ward now looks very safe for them: at the last borough elections in 2014 the Labour slate had 51% to 18% for UKIP and 15% for the Conservatives. In the 2016 GLA election Sadiq Khan beat Zac Goldsmith here 59-23, and Labour led the Conservatives 59-17 in the London Members ballot: these figures are for ballot box votes only and do not include postal votes, which are not broken down to ward level.

A history like that helps to explain why the local parliamentary seat, Enfield North, was one of the few Labour gains in the 2015 general election. Labour’s Joan Ryan defends a majority of 2.4% going into next month’s snap election which will be the fifth contest between her and Conservative candidate Nick de Bois, who has only one previous win to his name (in 2010). This is the last local by-election in a marginal parliamentary seat before 8th June (the poll in Shoeburyness next week is a rather different kettle of fish), so although a Labour loss in this ward looks unlikely the poll is still one to watch.

Defending for Labour is Elif Erbil: a radiographer who was born in Turkey and came to the UK at the age of 3, she is hoping to join on the council her aunt Nesimi Erbil, who represents Lower Edmonton ward. The UKIP candidate is Gary Robbens, who fought Turkey Street ward in 2014. The Tories have selected Christine Bellas, and completing the ballot paper are Kate McGeevor for the Green Party and Richard Morgan-Ash for the Lib Dems.

Parliamentary constituency: Enfield North

May 2014 result Lab 2395/2203/2189 UKIP 829 C 725/683/537 Grn 443 BNP 296
May 2010 result Lab 3073/2794/2665 C 1939/1859/1754 LD 934 Grn 577 UKIP 540 BNP 477
May 2006 result C 1318/1162/1125 Lab 1143/991/936 Save Chase Farm 893 LD 507 UKIP 485
May 2002 result C 1555/1446/1385 Lab 1256/1204/1200

May 2016 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Lab 1839 C 712 UKIP 188 Grn 107 LD 72 Britain First 52 Respect 48 Women’s Equality 39 BNP 28 Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol 27 Zylinski 18 One Love 5
London members: Lab 1876 C 549 UKIP 287 Grn 112 LD 79 Britain First 69 CPA 53 Women’s Equality 53 Respect 45 BNP 30 Animal Welfare 29 House Party 8


NEWTOWN

Stockton-on-Tees council, County Durham; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Rachael Proud. She had served since 2015.

It’s worth pointing out a few things here to start this one. There is no definitive official list of upcoming local by-elections. Instead there are a number of unofficial lists put together (mainly) by the political parties from press reports and suchlike. This crowdsourcing effort is good at identifying future vacancies, but not infallible; and this vacancy slipped through the net, not coming to your columnist’s attention until very late on the day before polling day, by which time (after a 17-hour day and a horror journey home) I was too exhausted to write a preview in time. These things happen sometimes, and I’m sorry that it happened in the first week of Britain Elects hosting these previews. Must do better next time.

Anyway, we’re in Stockton-on-Tees here. Newtown ward is inner Stockton, running north-west along the Durham Road from Stockton railway station. This is a ward of Victorian and Edwardian terraces with lots of social housing, a declining population and very high unemployment: in the 2011 census 10.8% of the workforce were looking for a job, putting Newtown in the top 40 unemployed wards in England and Wales. Something, no doubt, for the new Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen to loook at – and it says something for how far Labour have sunk in the North East that they contrived to lose the inaugural Tees Valley mayoral contest to the Conservatives two weeks ago.

Not that this is likely to have been one of the Tory-voting wards in that election. Newtown was a close Labour versus Lib Dem contest in the early years of this century, but in 2007 the Lib Dem campaign team declared UDI as the Newtown Independent Party, coming a more distant second to Labour in that year and in 2011 before disappearing from the scene. The 2015 election saw UKIP take over second place in Newtown, with Labour winning comfortably by the score of 56-23.

Defending for Labour is Marilyn Surtees, who runs the Elm Tree community centre in Stockton. With no Kipper on the ballot this time, she is opposed by Miguel Rodrigues for the Conservatives, independent candidate David Kirk and Lib Dem Jason Rossiter.

Parliamentary constituency: Stockton North

May 2015 result Lab 1568/1208 UKIP 657 C 481/303 Libertarian 90
May 2011 result Lab 736/684 Newtown Independent Party 407/366 C 159/132 LD 78
May 2007 result Lab 620/565 Newtown Independent Party 369/347 BNP 189 C 154/87 UKIP 131/106
May 2005 result Lab 1120/1033 LD 952/859 C 206


Andrew Teale edits the Local Elections Archive Project and sometimes tweets at @andrewteale.