Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Significant local by-elections

Frank Little writes:

I was waiting for one of the sites which I regularly visit to comment on these results, but surprisingly none of them picked up on them.

By-Election Results: Thursday 10th December 2009.

Bedford BC, Kingsbrook
LD Andrew Gerard 661 (49.4; +3.1)
Lab 370 (27.6; +3.5)
Con 150 (11.2; -9.2)
Others Ind 85 / Ind 73 (11.8; +11.8)
[Green (0.0; -9.2)]
Majority 291
Turnout 13%
LD hold
Percentage change is since June 2009.

East Dunbartonshire UA, (Ward number 3) Bearsden South
LD Ashay Ghai 1110 (29.4; +3.0)
Con 1261 (33.4; +9.0)
SNP 783 (20.7; +1.6)
Lab 626 (16.6; -2.7)
[Green (0.0; -5.1)]
[Others (0.0; -5.7)]
Turnout not known.
LD gain from Con.
Percentage change is since May 2007.

[STV process details redacted ;-)]


Hastings BC, St Helens
Con 609 (40.7; -17.9)
Lab 550 (36.7; +12.5)
LD John Tunbridge 210 (14.0; -3.2)
BNP 93 (6.2; +6.2)
Others (English Democrats) 36 (2.4; +2.4)
Majority 59
Turnout 37.4%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Nuneaton and Bedworth BC, Camp Hill
Lab 670 (47.1; +17.0)
BNP 478 (33.6; -2.6)
Con 275 (19.3; -9.7)
[Others (0.0; -4.7)]
Majority 192
Turnout 27.6%
Lab gain from BNP
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Peterborough BC, West
Con 1252 (58.4; +4.1)
Lab 341 (15.9; +0.9)
LD Virginia McDermid 224 (10.4; +7.4)
UKIP 177 (8.3; +8.3)
Others (English Democrats) 93 (4.3; -20.1)
Green 58 (2.7; -0.5)
Majority 911
Turnout 34%
Con hold
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Rushmoor BC, Heron Wood
Lab 437 (41.6; +11.6)
LD Philip Thompson 354 (33.7; -8.1)
Con 259 (24.7; -3.5)
Majority 83
Turnout 22%
Lab gain from LD
Percentage change is since May 2008.

West Devon BC, Tavistock South
LD Kirstie Clish-Green 523 (45.8; +33.5)
Con 450 (39.4; +13.6)
Ind 170 (14.9; -47.1)
Majority 73
Turnout not known
LD gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2007.

Westminster LBC, Queens Park
Lab 814 (62.6; +10.2)
Con 211 (16.2; -13.7)
Green 152 (11.7; +11.7)
LD Mark Blackburn 123 (9.5; -8.1)
Majority 603
Turnout not known
Lab hold
Percentage change is since May 2006.

Weymouth and Portland BC, Wyke Regis
Lab 579 (40.1; +3.9)
Con 486 (33.7; -30.1)
LD Trefor Morgan 268 (18.6; +18.6)
Citizens Party 111 (7.7; +7.7)
Majority 93
Turnout 33.41%
Lab gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Wyre Forest DC, Areley Kings
Lab 544 (38.3; +5.5)
Independent Community Health Concern 421 (29.6; -2.4)
Con 394 (27.7; -7.5)
UKIP 63 (4.4; +4.4)
Majority 56
Turnout 30.96%
Lab gain from Con
Percentage change is since May 2008.

Goole TC, North
Lab 358 (42.0)
LD Brian Knight 322 (37.8)
UKIP 172 (20.2)
Majority 36
Turnout 17.7%
Lab hold

Hythe TC, West
Con 556 (54.4)
LD Neil Matthews 466 (45.6)
Majority 90
Turnout 34.6%
Con hold

Ivybridge TC, Ivybridge Woodlands
Ind 226 (55.7)
Ind 180 (44.3)
Majority 46
Turnout 11.87%
Ind hold

Rustington PC, East
LD Jamie Bennett elected unopposed.
LD gain from Con.

Stourpoint TC, Areley Kings West
Independent Community Health Concern 294 (41.9)
Con 238 (33.9)
Lab 136 (19.4)
UKIP 34 (4.8)
Majority 56
Turnout 33.86%
Ind gain from Con


This was the first Thursday for many weeks on which so many by-elections took place. It is therefore possible to get a better picture of what is happening out there than from the usual ones and twos.

The first thing to note is that there is no consistent swing to the Conservatives. Indeed, their vote share went down in twice as many contests as it went up. Secondly, Labour is making gains once again, while we are continuing to hold our own (two gains, one loss, in this batch of results).

These are real polls, not newspaper opinion surveys. The professionals are aware of this, hence the increasing confidence shown by Gordon Brown at PMQs, the exhortation by Eric Pickles to Conservative party workers to redouble their efforts and the attempts by both parties to woo Liberal Democrat voters. This may also be the reason for the speculation about a general election earlier than the generally accepted date of May 6th.

Of course, national media coverage will be more important at the general election. The money flowing to the Conservatives (only a few years after it looked they might have to sue for bankruptcy!) and away from Labour is going to enable them to raise their profile. Even so, it looks increasingly unlikely that Labour's overall majority of 60-odd is going to be reversed by the Conservatives.

But for me the most significant result was the BNP failing to hold Camp Hill in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough. This did not seem to register with the national press, who delight in talking up the BNP. To be fair, one Sun reader drew attention to the fact that BNP has great difficulty in holding on to council seats.
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