There were three principal council elections held on the 22nd January. The Tories held two seats and the Lib Dems one. Of four Town and Parish Council results reported to ALDC the Tories held two seats and gained one off the Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems gained one seat from the Tories. In the East Wickenham Ward of the London Borough of Bexley the BNP came within 8 votes of taking the seats from the Tories. See last weeks article highlighting the relative threat posed by the BNP.

Nobody will be surprised that, without a candidate, UKIP’s vote seems to have switched directly to the BNP. In each of the principal council by-elections held last Thursday the deceased’s party held the seat.

When the incumbent is one of the established parties and the by-election follows a death then it usually – though emphatically not always – is held. In the final 3 months of 2008 there were four by-elections following the deaths of Lib Dem councillors, of which we held three. In the eight following resignations we only held four, just 50%. People don’t like going to the polls unnecessarily. If the by-election is predicable for any reason and we would be defending the seat early work pays dividends. Find and then establish in the community and focus your “reserve” candidate. Make sure casework is being done and the wards data is kept or backed up to multiple sites.

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