Another year, another set of local elections and so another exciting* round-up of the local scene on this blog
(*warning: may not actually be very exciting)
The main headlines are that the Tories lost two seats, with the Liberal Democrats and Independents gained taking one each. Otherwise no seats changed hands. Now for the detail:
Admirals & Cawston (Town)
3T. Marginal (was safe). Tories now polling below 50% and falling. Labour varying from 30% up to 42%, but hit by the UKIP surge. UKIP in third with 23%. Greens fourth and Lib Dems rock bottom
3L. Safe. Labour were getting just over 40% in the bad years, but now getting about 50-60% of the vote. Tories ahead of the Greens in second, with an increased vote this year. Lib Dems only just ahead of TUSC here.
3T Safe. 60-65% Tory usually, but down to 55% this year. Labour are the main rivals having overtaken the Lib Dems a few years ago. In fact, the Greens overtook the Lib Dems this year.
Clifton, Newton & Churchover (Rural)
1T Safe. Consistently 65-70% Tory. Labour the only other contestant. No election in 2014.
Coton & Boughton (Town/Rural
3T. Safe-ish. Based on old Brownsover North, with more of the countryside added. Tories usually get over half of the vote, but down to 43% this year. Like Bilton, the Lib Dems used to be runners up but Labour have caught them a couple of years ago and overtook them. UKIP a strong third (22%). The Lib Dems didn’t even stand, and the Greens had one of their lowest votes here.
1T, 2Ind. Should be safe Tory – liable to insurgents. The Independents are ex-Tories. One who won here in 2008 but has fallen out with them over national and local development policies, and other local issues, and now his wife joins him having beaten the Tory. The LD’s did have two seats here but no longer stand. Labour in third and the Greens last
3LD Safe-ish. Usually LDs on 60-70%, but down towards only 33% this year. Tories and Labour compete for second and both are now eating into the Liberal vote. Greens and TUSC often stand and finish in that order, a relatively high Green vote.
3T. Becoming marginal. Usually 45-50%, but down to 42%. Labour have overtaken the Lib Dems in the last few years. The gap is narrowing slightly between first and second, while the Lib Dems slide back and are not far above the Greens on 10-15%
Leam Valley (Rural)
1T. Safe – 80% Tory if there’s even an opponent. Labour haven’t stood here recently. The Lib Dems and the TUSC put up a candidate in 2007 and 2011 respectively. It was uncontested in 2012, and there was no election in 2014
New Bilton (Town)
3L Safe.Usually about 50%. with Cons usually on 30%. The Lib Dems were getting over 20% but slumped to fourth place behind the Green in 2011 and did not contest in 2012. No change at all in 2014.
Newbold and Brownsover (Town)
3L Safe-ish. Based on the villlage part of Newbold ward and Brownsover South. 50% Labour but lower this time, Cons get 30% to 35%. LDs stood for the first time in a while, and came some way behind the Greens
3LD Safe. LDs usually get over 50%, slipping in 2011 but stronger in 2012 and down to 50% in 2014. Cons recovered second place from Labour (me) but both on around 15-25% recently.
Revel & Binley Woods (Rural/edge of Coventry)
Rokeby & Overslade (Town)
1T 1L 1LD 3-way Marginal. Based on Overslade and western side of Caldecott. Overslade was a Tory marginal with Labour close behind. Caldecott was a Liberal marginal with the Tories in second. Labour topped the poll in 2012, with Tories elected in second and third place. That third place seat was up in 2014, and Bill Lewis gained for the Lib Dems with a strong personal local vote. The Tories were second and Labour third, Labour hit more by the Lewis surge.
Wolston & The Lawfords
3T Safe. Tories on about 60-65% but down to 42% in 2014. UKIP second with stalwart former Independent Pat Wyatt did the damage there, coming second. Labour were knocked backed to third place despite increasing vote share.
Wolvey & Shilton
1T Safe. Over 65%. Only challenger is Labour, who went from under 10% in 2008 to a third of the vote this time
Tories – 23 councillors (-2) In every ward where they have councillors, with the exception of Chris Pacey-Day in Wolvey & Shilton, the share of the vote went down. Only four of those had UKIP candidates, so it is not just due to that. They did improve in areas where they are chasing Labour or the Lib Dems, but rarely by enough to make a serious challenge. This may be a result of UKIP voters coming out and not finding UKIP on the local ballot paper. The majority is down to 4 seats – another year like this and Rugby will go to No Overall Control.
Labour – 10 councillors (nc) Vote share tended to hold in the three held seats, and the majorities are at the same level or higher than in 2012. Where they have been challenging the Tories, it was mixed: UKIP took votes but Labour remained second in Admirals & Cawston and in Coton & Boughton. Elsewhere it is hard to compare with 2012 because of the number of candidates.
Lib Dems – 7 councillors (+1) In Paddox they held their large majority. In Eastlands they appear to be sliding down. Bill Lewis’ personal vote and campaign against development helped get a solid win in Rokeby & Overslade, but elsewhere the Lib Dems struggle to beat the Greens to third place.
Independents – 2 (+2) The ‘Dunchurch’ effect is being repeated. A while ago Ron Ravenhall left the Tories and won Dunchurch as a Lib Dem (but primarily against development). Shortly afterwards his wife Sally stood and they stayed on in what would appear to be safe Tory seats. Ron sadly died, and Sally stood down soon after, and the Tories regained all the seats. However, one of the new Tory councillors, Howard Roberts, left the Tories and became an Independent (primarily against development) and topped the poll in 2012’s all out election. This year his wife Deepah stood and won against the Tories.
UKIP –Stood in four wards. Former ‘Independent’ Pat Wyatt got the best result, 2nd place and 28.8% of the vote in Wolston & Lawfords – possibly due to her previous profile as well as the profile of Long Lawford. They also came second in Revel & Binley Woods on 26%. In the two town wards they tried to make out they were neck and neck with the Tories, but did less well, coming third and getting 22-23% of the vote.
Greens – The only party other than Labour and the Tories to stand in every seat. They came third in 6, and fourth in 8 seats. Often ahead of the Lib Dems, but averaging less than 200 votes per candidate.
TUSC – Anti-Cuts campaign based on the far left parties. Last in every seat they stood in, and getting about 100 votes each.
The general trends continue – The Tories are still the main party across the Borough, are holding on but are being slowly eroded. Labour are the second party, are gaining inch by inch but are a little away from a breakthrough – if they do make a modest gain in vote share several seats come into play. The Lib Dems are strong in their heartlands (Paddox and the Caldecott estate), but slipping away elsewhere. The Greens are tenacious but are not better than third place anywhere – but are ahead of the Lib Dems in several areas. TUSC are not making any headway at all. UKIP made a splash in 2014, the first time they stood in the Borough May elections. As in the County elections last year, they do better in rural Tory seats than in the town, but not yet well enough to be close to a gain. The Dunchurch Independents are proving to be a thorn in the side of the Tories,
UKIP had a greater effect in the Euro election – coming first and seemingly taking votes from everyone. Locally they only stood in a few places but where they did they did have an impact. Where they didn’t, the Tory vote seemed to do well – which is a mixed portent for the Tories for the next General Election, will they ‘get back’ UKIP votes, or will they see more people defecting?
UKIP and the Tories were the top two parties across Rugby. There were about 1250 more votes in the EU Parliament elections than in all of the local wards. As UKIP only stood in 4 wards, it’s hard to compare their result. Also, there were a number of small anti-EU parties that were standing for the EP but not here. But what we can do is compare the total votes from local to EU and make some observations.
Firstly the parties that stood everywhere:
ToriesL 10,096 local, 8583 EU, difference -1513
Labour: – 6943 local, 5972 EU, difference -971
Greens: – 2619 local, 1577 EU, difference -1042
Then the other parties that stood in both elections:
Lib Dems: – 3669 local (8 wards), 2089 EU, difference -1558
UKIP: 2047 local (4 wards), 6253 EU, difference +6253
Even with 1841 votes for other parties in the EU elections (mainly right wing anti-EU groups: the two formed by ex-UKIP MEPs, and the BNP and English Democrats) and 1739 cast in the local elections for either TUSC (who are allied to the left wing NO2EU but I doubt many knew that) or the Dunchurch Independent, the following can be at least guessed at:
1) A lot of Liberal Democrats in local elections voted UKIP in Europe – especially as in six wards no Lib Dem stood for council
2) Even a fair number of Green voters voted UKIP
3) UKIP takes more support from the Tories than from Labour
May 29, 2014 at 22:29
I take some pride in being able to say “I was correct” in my prediction that Bill Lewis would win in Rokeby and Overslade. It was a quite remarkable result given the national mood music.
The Independent gain was interesting. I wonder whether Roberts clan has designs on extending their numbers beyond the two currently serving councillors? It might be that their next target is the Leam Valley ward as this does sit within the County Division of Howard Roberts.
The Conservatives should be quite content with their showing. UKIP certainly didn’t damage them in the marginal wards. The Conservatives are, electorally, very organised and this is probably due to their MP. Without Ministerial ambition he has become a full-time campaigning member which will improve his prospects next year.
Labour have some work to do. They didn’t really come close to taking any seats this time. It is a little perplexing because they have some time-served candidates who gave the impression of working very hard. Possibly it’s a case of needing to focus on one or two ward rather than four or five?
May 31, 2014 at 11:04
I don’t know much about the Roberts family or allies to know if they have potential other candidates. I assume that Howard and Deepah only married relatively recently as she was running under her maiden name in 2011 (back when they were both Conservatives). If they did, I would expect them to concentrate on Dunsmore first, as next year they have the chance to complete a clean sweep. But Leam Valley is interesting as up next year and is also the area that would be most affected by the proposed ‘Underground Coal Gasification’ (UCG) – setting fire to seams of coal underground so that the gases can be extracted and converted. It’s pretty much as solidly Tory as you can get, so perhaps the Greens or another ‘party’ would not get very far, but local independents who can distance themselves from Tory planning policy could have an in.
The Ashcroft polling swing of 6.5% put Rugby as Labour (with a majority of 0.4%, which would be less that 200 votes on the same turnout as 2010). I think people vote differently in the locals compared to the general election, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the Lib Dem vote when you compare the two elections next year. Labour do have a lot to do to win more seats, and there are about 4 seats that could change, depending on the conditions. Whether it makes sense to target all of them or not I don’t know.