In the two principal authority by-elections that took place on Thursday 13th January 2011 the Tories held one seat and Labour gained one from the Tories. There were no town or parish council election results reported to ALDC.In Camborne North ward Labour were fifth in the first elections for a unitary Cornish County Council in 2009 with only 100 votes, we were second with 182. Labour held the parliamentary seat from 1997 to 2005. We held the parliamentary seat till 2010 when we lost it to the Tories. The Tory councillor for Camborne North resigned whilst facing a legal battle over assault charges.
Labour came from fifth to take the seat in the by-election taking our campaign by surprise. We had a good candidate who was a town councillor in the ward and ran a campaign that would usually have delivered a better result. The full post mortem has yet to take place but what is clear is that:
a) Our campaign team were taken by surprise – we fought the Tories and did not pick up on the Labour threat.
b) We should have stood a candidate in a December town council by-election (always stand a candidate!) as our voters voted Labour in that election and gave Labour a better bar graph to counter our squeeze.
c) A Christmas campaign and bad weather on the day depressed the turnout.
d) We did not do enough to consolidate and reaffirm our historic support.
e) Now that we are in government the level of campaigning required in previous years needs to be stepped up. This means better resourced campaigns and therefore tighter targeting.
We did not lose this seat, the Tories did, but there were some powerful messages to all campaigners particularly in areas where Labour has traditionally been squeezed. Some of our historic supporters may be tempted to “punish” the coalition. We need to make sure that we work with our historic D’s and P’s, that they are re-canvassed before May and firmed up. Why not start canvassing them on phone and foot now.
On Norfolk County Council the Tories held the Humbleyard ward.