Bad night for the blues

Posted by David Boothroyd
View David's blog
9 years ago / November 3, 2009

The Conservatives were defending five seats at local council byelections on 5 March, and managed to lose two of them while coming close to losing a third. The most spectacular gain was by the Liberal Democrats in Buxton ward of Broadland district council, where the party increased their share of the vote by over 50% to win with 71%. Labour then won back the previously Conservative seat in Atherstone Central ward, North Warwickshire district council, a ward which had been split at the last full council election.

Saved by a whisker by the Conservatives, with a 19-year-old candidate winning by 16 votes (having the support of only 25% of the poll), was Ravenscliffe ward on Newcastle-under-Lyme borough council. The Conservatives did hold two wards with some comfort. Llandow-Ewenny ward on Vale of Glamorgan county borough council, which had managed to have a byelection without much publicity, again returned a Conservative councillor.

The Conservative candidate rose above a disputed selection to hang on to Belah ward of Carlisle city council, while coalition partners the Liberal Democrats also held onto their seat in Castle ward; the Carlisle byelections had been given national publicity over the possibility of the British National Party winning but in the event the BNP candidates polled poorly.

Two ex-group leaders have left their parties this week. Roger Ibbs (Trentham and Hanford ward), who was a cabinet member on Stoke-on-Trent city council until his arrest by police investigating corruption, has left the Conservative and Independent group; meanwhile the police have turned their attention to the directly-elected Mayor, Mark Meredith (Labour). On Worcestershire county council, former Labour group leader John Buckley (Gorse Hill and Warndon division) has resigned from the Labour group over the breakdown of relations with Worcester MP Michael Foster.