Friday, 10 March 2017

My analysis of by-elections from 9/3/17

The results of this week's local by-elections were as follows:

Broxbourne BC, Waltham Cross: Conservative 650 (41.0%, -3.5%), Labour 646 (40.8%, -14.8%), UKIP 200 (12.6%), Liberal Democrats 89 (5.6%). Conservative gain from Labour; all changes are since May 2016.

Derby UA, Derwent: Conservative 789 (37.1%, +28.1%), Labour 611 (28.7%, -2.4%), UKIP 537 (25.2%, -7.2%), Liberal Democrats 192 (9.0%, -15.4%). Conservative gain from UKIP; all changes are since May 2014.

East Hertfordshire DC, Hertford Castle: Conservative 593 (49.0%, +8.8%), Labour 207 (17.1%, -2.4%), Liberal Democrats 188 (15.5%), Green 157 (13.0%, -5.1%), UKIP 65 (5.4%).

Harrow LBC, Roxbourne: Labour 1,554 (62.8%, +13.8%), Conservative 533 (21.5%, -0.5%), Liberal Democrats 240 (9.7%, +0.7%), UKIP 148 (6.0%).

Rutland UA, Exton: Conservative 238 (59.5%, +6.5%), Liberal Democrats 123 (30.8%, +11.6%), UKIP 39 (9.8%, -5.0%).

Stratford-on-Avon DC, Red Horse: Conservative 476 (53.4%, -9.0%), Liberal Democrats 266 (29.8%, +20.3%), UKIP 92 (10.3%, -4.8%), Green 58 (6.5%).

West Oxfordshire DC, Hailey, Minster Lovell & Leafield: Liberal Democrats 567 (46.7%, +34.0%), Conservative 504 (41.5%, +3.8%), Labour 71 (5.8%, -4.5%), Green 38 (3.1%, -2.8%), UKIP 35 (2.9%). Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative; all changes are since May 2016.

I actively assisted in the Hertford Castle by-election and helped make sure it was called this early in the first place (for a local government by-election to be called, two electors in the principal authority must write to the acting returning officer first, who will then set a date; unlike in Ireland and Canada the UK has no time limits for by-elections from the date the vacancy occurs). The result can be explained by the fact that the victorious Conservative, Linda Radford, is currently Mayor of Hertford, the widow of a former Conservative councillor, and therefore well-known in Hertford; despite the fact that Hertford Castle is normally Conservative Mark Prisk (Conservative MP for Hertford & Stortford, in which this ward lies) went out to actively campaign, partly because the last time Hertford Castle had a by-election an Independent, Jim Thornton, won the seat from the Conservatives. He lost it in 2015, and the fact he did not stand in this by-election indirectly helped the Conservatives. Hertford has a surprisingly considerable amount of Green Party support for a commuter town and traditional county town, and the fact our vote share held up well in spite of the Liberal Democrats pushing us into fourth (when they did not even stand in this ward in 2015) reflects this and the hard work of our candidate, Tony Tarrega.

Meanwhile, Labour's loss of the Waltham Cross by-election, and in the only reliably Labour area of otherwise ultra-Conservative Broxbourne Borough Council (even in the 1990s it remained under majority Conservative control), is yet another example on how Labour is losing its grip on many of its more traditional voters (reflected in their loss of the Copeland constituency a fortnight ago), and the same applies for its failure (in addition to the unpopularity of Derby City Council at present) to recapture Derwent ward in Derby despite UKIP's woes. The announcement of an increase in NI contributions from the self-employed two days ago turned out to only have a minor effect on the by-election results. The Liberal Democrats' gain from the Conservatives in West Oxfordshire is partly down to the fact that a strong Independent challenge there in 2016 opened the floodgates for the Lib Dems to make their own challenge, especially given their strong performance in the Witney by-election last year (the constituency of Witney is coterminous with West Oxfordshire District Council), and even in the safer rural wards the Liberal Democrats are reasserting their challenge to the Conservatives again, particularly when Labour is often absent. Labour's only good result came in Harrow, where they were able to recover most of the vote that they had lost to the Independent Labour group (a splinter group of Labour councillors in Harrow) back in 2014; this Independent Labour group did not stand in the Roxbourne by-election.

UPDATE: I finally got news of the full Roxbourne result in Harrow, 20 minutes after I originally posted this.

1 comment:

  1. I think as the Hertfordshire by-election rings true there is significant enough disgruntled ex Tories on the remain side who will vote for a viable Green candidate. As our local election results in SW Surrey testified with 3rd/4th place in 2 seat wards. We had expected 7th/8th and prepared for it.