In ancient Rome, March 25th would have fallen in the middle of the Hilaria festival – a weeklong celebration of Spring that began on the first day that daylight lasted longer than the night. With Spring Equinox on the 20th this year, we’ve turned that particular corner and our days are finally getting brighter. There was one principal by-election and three Town Council by-elections reported to ALDC this week. The results were a little dimmer than the weather, however, with the Greens stealing a march to gain the principal seat from the Tories, and only one new Liberal Democrat Town Councillor of a possible four.
The Haughley and Wetherden ward of Mid-Suffolk District Council is nestled in the heavily Conservative parliamentary constituency of Bury St Edmunds, which has been continually represented by Tories in Parliament as far back as 1826. The election in this rural ward was triggered by a Conservative resignation and featured five candidates – one from each of the main three main parties, with UKIP and the Greens making a showing from the fringes. The Lib Dem campaign was well received on the doorstep, with excellent leaflet coverage in a variety of formats and good use of telephone canvassing and EARS. Particularly popular were Lib Dem policy positions on local transport provision. An insurgent Green Party managed to make good political capital out of their candidate being the only one to live within the ward itself. The Greens took the seat with a 45% swing and on a good turnout. Our only consolation here was the significant number of voters on the doorstep who doubted the Greens’ ability to scale up to a credible national campaign, and who have said their vote in the upcoming general election will go to the Lib Dems.
The first of the Town Council by-elections to be reported to ALDC was a Labour gain from Conservatives in the Old Bracknell Town ward of Bracknell Town Council. Colwyn Bay Town Council saw Labour pick off an Independent, taking 31% of the vote in Glyn ward. Finally, two seats were up for grabs on Nailsworth Town Council following two resignations, one a Tory and one ‘unknown’. Congratulations to Miles Robinson, the Liberal Democrat who now occupies one of these two seats.
Remember, nominations open on Monday 29th March for the local elections on May 6th, and they close at noon on Thursday 8th April. Controversial with those of a traditionalist disposition, there will be a number of Maundy Thursday by-elections next week and details of these can be found under the ‘Forthcoming By-Elections’ tab, above.
ALDC By-Election Team