Norfolk does different

Posted by David Boothroyd
View David's blog
9 years ago / October 30, 2009

Two council seats in Norfolk went from Independents to Liberal Democrats in byelections on Thursday 1 October. The new councillor for Broadland district council‘s Wroxham ward is 19-year-old Ben McGilvray, while Walsingham ward on North Norfolk district council is now represented by Hugh Lanham.

Labour made one gain when Doon Valley ward of East Ayrshire council elected Moira Pirie to replace Independent councillor Jim Sutherland. It also retained all the seats it was defending, including winning Wednesbury South ward on Sandwell borough council by 60 votes; the ward had elected a Conservative in 2008. Olwen Jones will take over from George Turton, who was made an honorary Alderman during the campaign despite his having moved to Wales. A narrower margin of 7 votes kept Northfield ward of Kettering borough council for Ellie Manns. Former deputy leader of Bolton borough council Guy Harkin won re-election in Crompton ward, while Jennifer Mein took Fishwick ward on Preston city council with a large boost to the Labour majority.

The Liberal Democrats’ Stephanie Vale gained Droitwich South West ward on Wychavon district council from the Conservatives. The party also held Fant ward on Maidstone borough council where Fran Smith was elected. There was less luck in Laleham and Shepperton Green ward on Spelthorne borough council where the Conservatives’ Steve Fairfax held the seat despite a heavy Liberal Democrat challenge. The final result saw the safe ward of Allestree on Derby city council stay with the Conservatives, and elect Saadia Davies, although the majority was halved.

A result missed last week was the unopposed election of Conservative Michael Clarke in Sibsey ward of East Lindsey district council, to succeed the late Dr David Taffinder; as Dr Taffinder was an Independent this marks a rare unopposed gain.

There are four party switchers to note. The most high profile was Francis Eniola, elected for the Labour Party to Brent borough council in Welsh Harp ward; he joined the Conservative Party after being deselected for the 2010 elections.

Two councillors elected as Liberal Democrats to Newcastle-upon-Tyne city council from Westerhope ward, Marc Donnelly and Pat Hillicks, have left the party to sit as Independents. Without much publicity, Lisa Costello who was elected as a Conservative to East Northamptonshire district council from Raunds Saxon ward, has started sitting as an Independent.

A failed attempt to vote out the minority Conservative administration of Calderdale borough council by the Labour opposition was reported this week.