In addition to being both April Fools’ Day and Maundy Thursday this year, the first of April has, for the last ten years, been ‘Edible Book Day’. Anyone who fancies whipping up a gastronomic masterpiece for next year should check out www.books2eat.com for inspiration. Unfortunately, our electoral tasting menu is again rather sparse this week, with one principal by-election and one single Town Council result reported to ALDC.
The principal by-election contest took place in the John O Gaunt ward of Lancaster City District Council. It is all change in the parliamentary constituency, the thirteen-year-old constituency of Lancaster & Wyre is giving way to the new Lancaster & Fleetwood for next month’s general election. In John O Gaunt itself, the Labour party were defending this highly urban ward following a resignation, with the Greens aiming to make the jump from second to first place and become the largest group on the Lancaster City Council. The Liberal Democrat campaign benefited from an enthusiastic new candidate in Harry Armistead, a mature student at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus, whose tireless campaigning impressed many. Also adding value was the ‘back-room’ organisation of Michael Mumford, which had doubled the activist base in Lancaster over the preceding year. A variety of leaflets included a candidate introduction, two newsletters, and a candidate’s blue letter. A postal vote drive at the University also bore fruit, with 300 PV’s returned overall, and mainly to our advantage. The Liberal Democrats’ policy positions on unaffordable rent levels in Lancaster’s market and traffic issues in the city centre proved popular on the doorstep. In the end, Labour held the seat with a marginal reduction in their vote. The main losers in this contest were the Greens, whose plans to become the largest party in Lancaster were frustrated primarily by the presence of a Liberal Democrat candidate – the Greens were pushed from second to third, losing almost a fifth of their previous vote.
In Seaton Ward of Ashington Town Council, the Labour party gained the seat from the Liberal Democrats.
Finally, the ALDC is providing the party’s election law helpline for both the local and general elections. Any candidates or campaigners with legal queries can reach our team on 01422 843 785 between 0915 and 1715. Enquiries can also be submitted by email via our website, we aim to provide a same-day advice service to any email enquiries received prior to 1400 each day.
ALDC By-Elections Team