Allen Branley, who was controversially disqualified from representing Westoe ward on South Tyneside borough council after failing to attend any meetings in six months, won his seat back at the byelection on Thursday 10 September. Branley’s majority was slashed almost tenfold from 1,259 in May 2008 to only 127 in the byelection, during which he acknowledged his mistakes in not going to meetings and pledged to rectify it if re-elected. It was the second time Branley had been disqualified for lack of attendance (the first was in 1993).
The Labour Party increased its majority on Leicester city council by winning the Castle ward byelection from the Green Party. Lynn Senior took the seat although the turnout was an abysmal 12.65%. Labour kept its seat in Heworth ward on City of York council with Barbara Boyce being elected.
The Liberal Democrats held their marginal seat in Cheadle and Gatley ward, Stockport borough council, with Iain Roberts winning convincingly over his Conservative challenger. Colin Davies also held a seat in Market Harborough Welland ward on Harborough district council for the Liberal Democrats.
Wyre Forest borough council‘s Independent Community and Health Concern group defended their seat in Lickhill ward, with Jim Parish winning election to the council. Finally, two byelections for Daventry district council were both held by the Conservatives: Alan Chantler won easily in Drayton ward, while Chris Eddon prevailed in the more marginal Yelvertoft ward.
As ward parties and associations in London gear up for the elections next year, the deselection of some sitting councillors continues to prompt defections. Two serving members on Redbridge borough council who have been dropped by their local Labour Party have joined the Liberal Democrats: Satnam Singh of Goodmayes ward, and Faiz Noor of Clementswood ward. On Wandsworth borough council, after the Conservatives deselected Susan John-Richards (Tooting ward), she has switched to sit as an Independent citing discrimination and sexist remarks.
Brian Dixon, elected as a Labour councillor from Distington ward to Copeland borough council, has left the party to sit as an Independent over intimidation by party members; he refused to drop a committee recommendation that the council be run on a cross-party basis. Meanwhile on Stoke-on-Trent city council, Gavin Webb (Stoke and Trent Vale ward), who had been sitting as a ‘Liberal Democrat (Libertarian)’, has now joined the Libertarian Party as their first and only councillor. He has also resigned as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Burton.