Ladies and gentlemen, there were several local by-elections from yesterday featuring Green candidates, including the last of the deferred elections from May 2014. Their results were as follows:
Cheshire West & Chester, Broughton: Labour 614 (44.8%), Conservative 469 (34.2%), UKIP 131 (9.6%), Green 86 (6.3%), Liberal Democrat 70 (5.1%).
Cornwall, Illogan: Lib Dem 277 (23.8%), Mebyon Kernow 217 (18.6%), Conservative 215 (18.5%), UKIP 156 (13.4%), Labour 129 (11.1%), Liberal 121 (10.4%), Green 50 (4.3%).
Torridge, Kenwith: Con 136 (29.8%), UKIP 99 (21.7%), Independent G 98 (21.5%), Independent B 69 (15.1%), Green 28 (6.1%), Labour 26 (5.7%).
North Hertfordshire, Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo (deferred election): Conservative 734 (62.0%), UKIP 203 (17.1%), Labour 116 (9.8%), Green 74 (6.3%),Lib Dem 57 (4.8%).
I am pleased that in all those by-elections but one, we finished above a major party. In Cornwall, it would have been wiser tactically for us to endorse Mebyon Kernow, given that we Greens are not that strong in the Camborne and Redruth area, that we share quite a few things in common,and that a Green-Mebyon Kernow informal pact has worked before (in the 2005 general election, we contested St Ives and Mebyon Kernow contested the other Cornish seats). Like Skipton West last week, the Illogan by-election produced a six-way marginal with the winner receiving under 25% of the votes cast-although this is more predictable in Cornwall where locally, the divided electorate shows that FPTP is not viable for local elections, and has not been for some time. Last year, there were several five-way marginal results in Cornwall, especially in the Camborne & Redruth area.
It is rather strange in Torridge that no Liberal Democrat candidate came forward for that by-election, given that Torridge, like most of rural/semi-rural Devon, has strong Liberal Democrat support and little if any Labour support (Labour came fourth behind UKIP in the Torridge & West Devon seat in 2010, and were somewhat close to losing their deposit). I am also surprised we Greens only managed 28 votes in that local by-election, given that we have two council seats in Torridge council.
I am also pleased we are holding our own in North Hertfordshire-our result was a slight improvement on the 2010 result for Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo; meanwhile, both the Liberal Democrat and Labour shares decreased in that ward.
I would like to give my thanks to everyone who turned out for the July 10 strike yesterday, and for those who support the public sector and the useful work it does. My main concern of today, however, is that an emergency Data Retention Bill, which would require telecommunications companies to store all your data for one year, is coming close to being passed in Parliament, with the support of all three major parties (even though the Liberal Democrats just last year said they would oppose such a measure!). This act is just an attempt to push through a snooper's charter even though the European Court of Human Rights has stated this would violate privacy rights-we already have sufficient legislation to deal with actual terrorist threats (which is why David Cameron and Theresa May are claiming that this legislation is needed when it is not).
Please contact your MPs ASAP and ask them not to pass this draconian surveillance law!