There was only one byelection held on 7 May and it resulted in Labour holding their seat at Rossmere ward, Hartlepool borough council.
Much more dramatic news came at Ashfield district council in Nottinghamshire where the council’s annual meeting saw the ruling minority Liberal Democrat administration of Jason Zadrozny deposed and replaced by a minority Labour leadership. Most of Ashfield’s Independent councillors sit in a joint group with the Conservatives and they turned against the Liberal Democrats over the council’s financial situation and claims that the previous administration was unresponsive to political pressure.
There are a number of defections to report this week. The largest is the move of four Conservative councillors in Wigan borough council, all members of the Fairhurst family, to create a new Wigan Independent Conservative Party. The group are Gareth Fairhurst (Wigan Central ward), his father George Fairhurst (Standish with Langtree ward), his wife Debra Fairhurst (Shevington with Lower Ground ward) and his sister Angela Bland (also Shevington with Lower Ground ward).
In Moray council, Independent councillor Fiona Murdoch of Speyside Glenlivet ward has left the ruling Independent/Conservative alliance and shifted to the opposition; this move endangers the administration which is now tied with the opposition at 13 councillors each. Meanwhile in Northamptonshire county council, veteran Labour councillor and former council leader Roy Mayhew (Grange division) has left the party as he is seeking re-election as an Independent candidate.
Finally for this week it falls to note that Commissioner Richard Mawrey has dismissed a petition against the May 2008 election of Mohammed Amin (Labour) in Manningham ward, Bradford city council. The petition had been lodged by Norman Scarth, founder of the “Anti-Crime Party”, who claimed that his arrest on polling day prevented him from campaigning and so ensured his defeat (he had 66 votes; Mr Amin won with 2,319). The commissioner found that the police were “upholding democracy in trying to ensure that citizens of Bradford exercising their lawful right to vote were not subjected to manic abuse by a crazed old man.”
Details about candidates fighting local byelections are often available on the invaluable and politically neutral Votewise site which can be found at the end of this link.