Council By-election preview by Andrew Teale (14th July 2016)

Here is another great preview of the upcoming by elections by @andrewteale I would like to thank him for letting our blog reproduce his work he runs a fantastic website if you have an interest in election results like myself you will find it an invaluable source of information.

FOREST GATE NORTH, Newham council, North London; caused by the
resignation of Labour councillor Ellie Robinson, who has taken up a new
post with the London Assembly as an advisor to Mayor Sadiq Khan.  She
was first elected to Newham council in 2010.

It's worth saying a few things here to start this week's column.  June
is normally a busy month for local by-elections, as vacancies from April
and May are cleared before the summer holidays and we start to deal with
what might be termed "collateral damage" from the May elections as
councillors move on to bigger and better things which they have been
newly elected to.  The Labour takeover of City Hall in May has led to
quite a lot of such collateral damage, with two by-elections this week
arising from councillors leaving to take up posts in Mayor Khan's
administration and several more in the pipeline, including a by-election
for the elected mayoralty of Hackney which will see an entire London
borough go to the polls.  However, this year the EU referendum - with
which no other poll could be combined, although the returning officer
for Windsor and Maidenhead didn't get that message - has had the effect
of pushing most of June's vacancies back into July where they are being
compressed into a much shorter period before the summer holidays.  This
means that your columnist has twenty wards to write about over this week
and the next, so apologies to my readers (hello Sid, hello Doris) if
there is less detail here and next week than you might have come to
expect.  Having said that, in the case of Forest Gate North your
columnist is very grateful for help received this week from Tim
Roll-Pickering, who is the election agent for the Conservative candidate.

So it is that we start the week in West Ham.  Forest Gate North is the
part of Forest Gate lying to the north of the Great Eastern railway
line, with Forest Gate station on the ward's southern boundary and
Maryland station just off the south-western corner; wholly within the
ward is Wanstead Park station on the Gospel Oak-Barking line, although
that's currently closed for electrification works.  This is a long and
thin ward running from west to east which has been left relatively
untouched by the redevelopment seen in Stratford and the Royal Docks
area; much of the housing is still Victorian, with the effect of wartime
bombing still visible in many streets where replacement houses are in a
different style to the original.  The "village" area at the eastern end
of the ward, close to the heathland of Wanstead Flats, is gentrifying
quickly, although that effect hasn't yet reached the centre of the ward
or the Maryland area at the western end.  Nearly all of the ward is
built up, although it does contain Forest Lane Park and West Ham Cemetery.

While the census statistics perhaps might not catch the full effect of
the recent gentrification, they are very typical of Newham as a whole;
the White British population is just 21%, with consequent very high
scores for pretty much every other ethnic group.  The ward is in the top
100 in England and Wales for black population (25%), people born in the
new EU states (11%) and those with non-UK qualifications (15%); the
over-45 population is very low, 60% of households are rented in some way
or another and there is also a significant student population.

The political complexion of the ward should be obvious from the word
"Newham", where it's now ten years since anyone other than Labour won an
election.  There's not much indication this is going to change in Forest
Gate North, whose predecessor wards last failed to return a full Labour
slate in the Tory landslide of 1968.  One of the past candidates who
tried and failed to break the Labour monopoly was local resident Gerard
Batten of UKIP, who finished last here in 2002 but has since gone on to
greater things as an MEP for London (for how long, who knows?).  At the
most recent borough elections in 2014 Labour had 58% of the vote, with
the Greens best of the rest on 14% only just ahead of the Tories.  Sadiq
Khan beat Zac Goldsmith here 65-15 in May, while in the London Members
ballot the Greens ran second in the ward's ballot boxes with Labour
winning 61-11.

So, not much for the Labour candidate Anamul Islam, who is described as
a long-standing trade union and community activist, to worry about here.
  The Greens, who will be looking to put down a marker in one of their
best Newham wards, have selected conservation campaigner Elisabeth
Whitebread.  Also standing are Conservative candidate John Oxley, a
barrister working in family law, and the Lib Dems' James Rumsby who has
withdrawn from the campaign for personal reasons but will still appear
on the ballot paper.

Parliamentary constituency: West Ham

May 2014 result Lab 2324/2126/2120 Grn 562/559 C 548/490/480 TUSC 222 LD
206 CPA 174/146
May 2010 result Lab 3652/3631/3335 Grn 905 C 836/730/710 CPA 411/347 Ind 267
May 2006 result Lab 1678/1552/1443 Respect 757/720/673 Grn 603 C
517/454/418 CPA 409
May 2002 result Lab 1333/1265/1253 Grn 628 C 344 Socialist Alliance 272
UKIP 233

May 2016 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Lab 2238 C 507 Grn 272 LD 95 Respect 79 UKIP 79 Women's Equality
65 Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol 36 Britain First 35 BNP 16 Zylinski 15
One Love 5
London Member: Lab 2138 Grn 369 C 312 UKIP 144 Women's Equality 133 LD
129 Respect 91 CPA 55 Britain First 36 Animal Welfare 34 BNP 25 House
Party 19

BARNSBURY, Islington council, North London; caused by the resignation of
Labour councillor James Murray, who has taken up a new post with the
London Assembly as Deputy Mayor for Housing.  He was first elected in 2006.

Moving further into London, Barnsbury ward is stereotypical Islington
running from the Angel at the southeast corner to the Caledonian Road
and Barnsbury North London Line station at the northwest corner.
Barnsbury developed from the nineteenth century onwards as an escape
from the overcrowded City and industrial Clerkenwell, and as the first
staging post out of London on the Great North Road.  Wikipedia's list of
famous Barnsbury residents reads like a rollcall of the great and good:
Tony Blair, Benjamin Britten, Ian Holm, Walter Sickert, Simon Rattle,
Grayson Perry.  Although Barnsbury's census statistics are overall
similar to Forest Gate North, there are two major differences: the White
British population here is still (just) over 50%, and 51% of the
workforce have degrees with another 11% being full-time students - very
much middle class.  The ward is in the top 100 in England and Wales for
population born in the pre-2004 EU states (7.6%) and, interestingly, for
those who did not answer the census question on religion (16.2%).

The first Barnsbury ward election on the current boundaries in 2002 was
safe Lib Dem, with Labour a long way behind in second; tied for the
runner-up spot that year was human rights barrister and Labour candidate
Emily Thornberry, who has since gone on to greater things as MP for the
local Islington South and Finsbury constituency and (at the time of
writing, this may have changed since) Shadow Foreign Secretary.  Labour
did very well to gain all three seats in 2006 on a 14% swing,
22-year-old James Murray beating the alphabet to top the poll, and with
the implosion of the Islington Lib Dems this has become a safe ward for
them.  The Tories took over second place at the most recent borough
elections in 2014, Labour winning 56-19; in May Sadiq Khan beat Zac
Goldsmith here 55-22 while in the London Members ballot Labour had 47%
to 18% for the Tories and 10% for the Greens.

Defending for Labour is Rowena Champion, a family law barrister.
Another barrister, Edward Waldegrave, is the Conservative candidate;
also standing are physics teacher and former asylum-seeker Ernestas
Jegorovas for the Green Party, Lib Dem candidate Bradley Hillier-Smith
and independent Robert Capper.

Parliamentary constituency: Islington South and Finsbury

May 2014 result Lab 2110/1948/1910 C 710/604/594 Grn 467/447/327 LD
400/309/286 TUSC 100
May 2010 result Lab 2399/2165/2064 LD 1460/1358/1221 C 1204/1198/1111
Grn 557/528/490 Ind 87
May 2006 result Lab 1072/986/973 LD 888/789/744 C 445/437/426 Grn
June 2003 by-election LD 940 Lab 311 C 182 Grn 136
May 2002 result LD 1127/1046/1036 Lab 600/600/561 Grn 238/227 Ind 199 C

May 2016 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Lab 1798 C 722 Grn 240 LD 172 Women's Equality 119 UKIP 105
Britain First 34 Respect 27 Cannabis is Safer than Alchohol 21 BNP 14
One Love 8 Zylinski 2
London Member: Lab 1548 C 590 Grn 341 LD 240 Women's Equality 213 UKIP
185 Britain First 53 Animal Welfare 31 Respect 31 House Party 20 CPA 16
BNP 14

TROWBRIDGE GROVE, Wiltshire council; caused by the death of independent
councillor Jeff Osborn at the age of 73.  Osborn started his career at
fifteen by joining the Merchant Navy; in 1962 he enlisted in the Royal
Engineers with whom he served in Germany, Cyprus and Aden, and with the
SAS in Hereford.  He started his political career in the 1980s as a
Labour figure and was their candidate in Somerton and Frome in the 1983
general election; after that he ended up in the Liberal Democrats,
representing Trowbridge for twenty years initially on the former West
Wiltshire district council.  Twice Mayor of Trowbridge and a
long-serving member of Wiltshire council's health committee, Osborn left
the Liberal Democrats over the coalition's health policy, and his final
re-election was as an independent.  He leaves behind his wife Helen,
also a Wiltshire councillor, and two daughters.

Moving out of London, we come to Trowbridge, the county town of
Wiltshire and headquarters of Wiltshire county council.  Although
Trowbridge is an old market town, its economy was traditionally based on
textiles; in 1820 Trowbridge had over twenty factories producing woollen
cloth, a similar level to several northern industrial towns.  Today the
town's largest employers are the council and Apetito, a frozen food company.

The Grove ward covers south-western Trowbridge and has been the Osborns'
personal fief for many years, both under its original guise (as the
Trowbridge South West ward of West Wiltshire council) and now.  At the
inaugural Wiltshire council election in 2009 Osborn (then a Lib Dem)
beat the Tories 68-26; in 2013 as an independent he was not opposed by
the Lib Dems and polled 86% in a straight fight with the Tories.
Wiltshire's district councils were abolished in 2009, so there's not
much else to go on to give clues as to what might happen here without an
Osborn on the ballot.

Defending for the independents is Robert Wall.  The Tories have selected
David Halik, a town councillor and former Mayor of Trowbridge.  The Lib
Dems have returned to the fray by selecting Chris Auckland, who works in
social housing.  Also standing on a crowded ballot paper are Shaun
Henley for Labour, Philip Randle for the Greens and UKIP's Simon Selby.

Parliamentary constituency: South West Wiltshire

May 2013 result Ind 842 C 142
June 2009 result LD 816 C 311 Lab 70

ASTLEY, North Norfolk council; caused by the resignation of Conservative
councillor Steven Ward due to pressure of work.  He had served since May
last year.

For the first of today's rural by-elections we're in Norfolk.  The
Astley ward contains seven parishes, none of which are called Astley;
instead the name commemorates the Astley family of Melton Constable
Hall, an at-risk stately home regarded as the finest example of the
Christopher Wren style.  Melton Constable itself was the most important
settlement in the ward, being a junction of four railway lines and home
to the main workshops for the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway;
but the works closed in 1934 and thirty years later the railway was gone
as well, and the loss of that work means that Melton Constable's
population has halved since 1911.  Today Astley ward as a whole has a
relatively old age profile and high levels of self-employment (17% of
the workforce were self-employed in the 2011 census).

The ward has had a volatile recent political history, with the four
ordinary elections since 2003 electing four different councillors.
Astley elected an independent in May 2003, but went Lib Dem in a
by-election just two months later; the Lib Dems lost the ward to the
Conservatives in 2011 and didn't stand in the 2015 election, in which
the Tories beat the Green Party 56-26.  The ward is part of the Melton
Constable county council division, which is just as volatile: Lib Dem in
2005, Tory gain in 2009, UKIP gain in 2013; the predecessor county
division of Erpingham and Melton Constable was Labour-held from 1993 to
2001 in what was perhaps the last hurrah of Labour strength in
agricultural Norfolk.

Defending for the Tories is Jo Copplestone, an artist.  The Greens have
selected Mandy Huntridge who is the only candidate to give an address in
the ward.  Callum Ringer is the Labour candidate, the Lib Dems return to
the fray with Pierre Butifoker, and the UKIP county councillor David
Ramsbotham completes the ballot paper.

Parliamentary constituency: Broadland
Norfolk county council division: Melton Constable

May 2015 result C 734 Grn 344 Lab 233
May 2011 result C 359 LD 257 Lab 156 Grn 134
May 2007 result LD 475 C 331 Grn 75
July 2003 by-election LD 441 C 346 Ind 38 Lab 32
May 2003 result Ind 349 C 267 LD 144 Grn 54

BYRAM AND BROTHERTON, Selby council, North Yorkshire; caused by the
death of Labour councillor Jack Crawford at the age of 69.  First
elected in 1995 for the former Byram cum Sutton ward (although with
broken service), Crawford had been chairman of Selby council in 2012-13.

Anybody who has travelled up the old A1 through Yorkshire has passed
through this ward.  Generations of travellers will be familiar with
Ferrybridge, the crossing point of the A1 and the M62 motorway, and its
large power station.  On the other side of the power station, the River
Aire and the county boundary is Brotherton, bypassed by the old A1, and
its twin village of Byram cum Sutton; further up the Great North Road is
Fairburn, once sliced in two by a busy dual carriageway but now enjoying
some relief thanks to the completion of a motorway bypass for the area.
Just outside the ward boundary is Kellingley, home to the UK's last deep
coal mine until its closure last Christmas; the presence of the now
former coalfield gives this area a working-class economic profile.

Selby council got new ward boundaries in 2015 which makes comparison
rather difficult; this new ward is a cut-down version of the former
two-seat Fairburn with Brotherton ward, with Birkin and Burton Salmon
parishes having moved out in the boundary changes.  Fairburn with
Brotherton was a key Labour/Tory marginal, but the new ward appears to
be better for Labour: in 2015 Crawford had 44% of the vote to 33% for
the Conservatives and 23% for UKIP.  At county council level this ward
is combined with better Tory territory to form the reliably Conservative
Mid Selby division.

Defending for Labour is Steven Shaw-Wright, a former coalminer, Selby
town councillor and present Mayor of Selby.  He is opposed by Bryn Sage,
the Tory candidate, who runs a digital health company.  UKIP have not
nominated a candidate, so the ballot paper is completed by Chris
Whitwood of the regionalist movement Yorkshire First.

Parliamentary constituency: Selby
North Yorkshire county council division: Mid Selby

May 2015 result Lab 648 C 480 UKIP 345

WIBSEY, Bradford council, West Yorkshire; caused by the death of Labour
councillor Lynne Smith.  Smith had spent twenty years working in the
voluntary sector with disabled people and also taught at university
before being elected to Bradford council in 2006; in her council role
she was chairman of the council's governance and audit committee.

Wibsey ward is the first part of Bradford that drivers see when they
come off the M606 motorway.  A relatively late part of the West
Yorkshire conurbation to develop, Wibsey was not incorporated into
Bradford until 1899 and much of its housing stock is inter-war.  As well
as Wibsey village, the ward also includes much of the Odsal area
including the Richard Dunn sports centre, named after a local boxer who
fought Muhammad Ali.

The red corner have held the upper hand in recent fights for the Wibsey
ward title, with opposition to Labour in recent years coming from the
populist right: the BNP took one of the three seats in 2004 but lost it
back to Labour in 2006.  In 2012 UKIP took over as runners-up here; they
were close in 2014 but Labour were well ahead in May's ordinary
election, polling 47% to 21% for UKIP and 16% for the Conservatives.

Defending for Labour is Joanne Sharp, chair of the party's Wibsey
branch.  UKIP's candidate is Jason Smith, chair of the party's Bradford
branch who fought the ward in 2015.  The Tories have reselected their
regular candidate for the ward Richard Sheard, who works for a software
company.  Lib Dem candidate Angharad Griffiths completes the ballot paper.

Parliamentary constituency: Bradford South

May 2016 result Lab 1651 UKIP 739 C 547 Ind 310 LD 156 Grn 121
May 2015 result Lab 2683 UKIP 1795 C 1228 LD 247 Grn 216 TUSC 55
May 2014 result Lab 1467 UKIP 1355 C 499 LD 191
May 2012 result Lab 1753 UKIP 781 C 399 LD 384
May 2011 result Lab 1814 C 809 UKIP 373 LD 243 EDP 226
May 2010 result Lab 2454 C 1422 LD 1158 BNP 765 UKIP 291
May 2008 result Lab 1397 C 921 BNP 595 LD 410 EDP 183 UKIP 100
Democratic Nationalists 26
May 2007 result Lab 1546 BNP 1128 C 821 LD 558
May 2006 result Lab 1427 BNP 1251 C 928 LD 513
June 2004 result Lab 1460/1426/1331 BNP 1355 C 1341/1279/1234 LD 581/380

NEWQUAY TREVIGLAS, and ST TEATH AND ST BREWARD, Cornwall council; caused
respectively by the resignations of UKIP councillor Mark Hicks and
independent councillor John Lugg.  Hicks, who had served since 2013, has
resigned for personal reasons.  Lugg, who started his local government
career over forty years ago and was first elected to the former North
Corwall district council in 1979, is suffering from poor health.

There are two Cornish by-elections this week.  One comes in the village
of St Columb Minor, once the major settlement in its area but now an
eastern suburb of the seaside resort of Newquay; it is the major part of
Newquay Treviglas division, whose name refers to Treviglas College, a
secondary school and sixth-form college located just outside the village.

Further up the north coast is St Teath and St Breward division, which
runs from the summit of Cornwall's highest point, Brown Willy, down to
the sea, surrounding the town of Camelford on three sides.  The Brown
Willy moorland is known for prehistoric remains and also for granite and
china clay quarrying, while the divison's largest centre of population
is the slate-quarrying village of Delabole, once the location of the
world's deepest man-made pit and since 1991 home to the UK's first
commercial onshore windfarm; Delabole's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean
and high altitude (around 800 feet) made it a perfect site for a windfarm.

Newquay Treviglas was created for the inaugural 2009 Cornwall council
election and was won in its first contest by independent candidate Harry
Heywood, who had been Restormel district councillor for the Rialton ward
which covered the area before 2007.  Heywood stood down in 2013 and his
seat went to UKIP on a low share of the vote, 30% to 27% for the
Conservatives, 25% for the Lib Dems and 18% for Labour.

St Teath and St Breward is another 2009 creation, surviving unchanged in
the 2013 boundary review except for its name - the 2009 division with
the same boundaries was simply called St Teath.  Before 2009 most of
this area was in the Camelot ward of North Cornwall council, which Lugg
represented as an independent with large vote shares; St Breward was in
a ward with Blisland to the south which was Tory unopposed in 2003 but a
Lib Dem gain in 2007.  Lugg's popularity has carried over to the unitary
Cornwall council, and at his last re-election in 2013 he beat the Tories
65-35 in a straight fight.

So the previous form in both divisions doesn't really tell us all that
much, although it says something of the disarray that Cornwall UKIP find
themselves in that they have not found a candidate to defend Newquay
Treviglas.  From winning six seats in 2013, this will be UKIP's fourth
by-election loss in Cornwall since then and they have another seat to
defend later this year.  With Newquay Treviglas up for grabs, the Tories
have selected a strong candidate in Carl Leadbetter, the Mayor of
Newquay who represents the ward on Newquay town council; he is a former
hotelier and had served in the RAF.  The Lib Dem candidate is Paul
Summers, a former town councillor who has recently retired after 36
years as a teacher.  Julian Grover is the Labour candidate.  Completing
the ballot paper is George Edwards, a former Mayor of Newquay and former
Restormel councillor for the town, who lost his seat on Cornwall council
in 2013 - in those previous elections he was a Lib Dem, but he is now
standing as an independent.

In St Teath no fewer than three independents have come forward to
succeed Lugg.  Taking them alphabetically, Eddie Jones is a former
chairman of St Teath parish council; William Kitto gives an address in
St Teath; and Susan Theobald is a former clerk to St Teath parish
council.  On the party political side of a crowded ballot paper, the
Conservative candidate is Jeremy Stanford-Davis of St Teath; the Lib
Dems' Dominic Fairman is a farmer who has diversified into camping and
yurts; and the Labour candidate David Garrigan has resorted to
crowdfunding websites to finance his campaign.

Newquay Treviglas
Parliamentary constituency: St Austell and Newquay

May 2013 result UKIP 266 C 237 LD 218 Lab 156

St Teath and St Breward
Parliamentary constituency: North Cornwall

May 2013 result Ind 628 LD 388 C 204
June 2009 result (St Teath) Ind 957 C 512

MARCHOG and Y FELINHELI, Gwynedd council; caused respectively by the
resignations of independent councillor Chris O'Neal and Plaid Cymru
councillor Siân Gwenllian.  O'Neal, who has served since 2012, resigned
after pleading guilty to assaulting an employee of the taxi firm he
formerly ran; he also spent part of last year in court being cleared of
a blackmail charge.  Gwenllian was first elected in 2008, and is moving
on to bigger things after being elected as Plaid Cymru AM for Arfon in
this year's Senedd election.

North Wales is having a bumper crop of by-elections this month, with a
poll in Llandudno last week and a third Gwynedd poll coming up next
week.  Marchog division consists entirely of Maesgeirchen, a huge
isolated 1930s-era council estate cut off from the city of Bangor by
Bangor Mountain.  57% of the households are still socially rented - one
of the top 40 figures in England and Wales - and the demographic
indicators are as bad as you'd expect from an isolated council estate,
with only 28% of the workforce in full-time employment and high scores
in every other category for economic activity except "self-employed" and

Doing better is Y Felinheli, a village on the south bank of the Menai
and historically a port; in 1825 a narrow-gauge railway opened
connecting the village with the Dinorwic slate quarry in Llanberis, and
readers of a certain age might know the village better under the name of
Port Dinorwic.  During the Second World War Y Felinheli was a centre for
building landing craft, and its harbour is still in use today for
pleasure boating and sailing. The village's location midway between
Bangor and Caernarfon means there is commuting to both towns, and a
number of Bangor University students live here.

Gwenllian never faced a contested election in her eight years on Gwynedd
council, having been unopposed in 2008 and 2012.  The last contested
election in Y Felinheli was in 2004 with Labour narrowly beating an
independent candidate.  Marchog's representation had a clearout in 2012,
with the previous Labour and Independent councillors losing their seats
to two new independent councillors.

Both by-elections are straight fights.  In Marchog the defending
independent candidate Dylan Fernley is challenged by Labour's Luke
Tugwell; both candidates give addresses on the estate.  In Y Felinheli
the new Plaid candidate is Gareth Griffith, who is opposed by
Bangor-based Conservative candidate Andrew Kinsman.

May 2012 result Ind 365/248/76 Lab 218/143
May 2008 result Lab 247/184 Ind 202
June 2004 result Lab 324/172 Ind 303

Y Felinheli
May 2012 result PC unopposed
May 2008 result PC unopposed
June 2004 result Lab 384 Ind 354


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