Sunday, June 17, 2007

No change in Newcastle by-elections

A double by-election was held in the Newcastle ward of Wingrove on Thursday with both Labour and Lib Dems defending a seat. The contest was a hang over from the local elections when the death of a Green Party candidate caused the election to be deferred.

The by-election resulted in no change.

The double vacancy was caused by our one councillor in the ward resigning due to a change in job. The ward itself has a bit of a mixed history. Until the late 1980s it was strongly Conservative buth then went Labour. During the 1990s and early 2000s it was safely Labour. As with so much of the North East, the Conservatives have made no recovery at all and are reduced to the margins.

In 2004, when Labour collapsed in Newcastle, the Lib Dems took the top seat but the other 2 stayed Labour. In 2006, Labour were defending and held on with a majority of only 37 over us. Labour were assisted this time by the fact it was a by-election. That meant the fringe parties such as the Greens and Conservatives were able to put more effort into the ward. It also meant Labour were able to throw in all their weight. Their campaign was helped by the fact their defending councillor is high profile.

That wasn't enough however for Labour to take our seat. Labour came first and third, we were 2nd and 4th.

In what is politically a mixed ward, this will make for an interesting contest next year.

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