Tuesday, 4 December 2012

By-Election Preview: 6 December 2012

This post is by Andrew Teale, our resident expert in local by-elections.  Read his full introduction here on the English Elections blog.

6th December sees the last by-election in Cornwall before the main Cornwall Council election in May 2013.  While there are two vacant seats on the council, the Ludgvan vacancy will not be filled as councillor Irene Bailey resigned with less than six months of her term left.  So, for the final electoral test here for five months, it's time for a trip to the outskirts of Hayle.

GWINEAR-GWITHIAN AND ST. ERTH

Cornwall Council; caused by the death of Conservative councillor Ray Tovey at the age of 65. 

Main Street Gwinear
  © Copyright Sheila Russell and licensed for reuse
under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
A retired graphic designer and art lecturer with a passion for motorcycling, Mr Tovey had served on the now-abolished Penwith district council and had been a Cornwall cabinet member for localism and devolution until shortly before his death.

One of the more curiously-shaped electoral divisions, Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth curves around the landward side of the Cornish town of Hayle.  The Gwinear-Gwithian parish covers the villages of Gwithian, on St Ives Bay north-east of Hayle, and Gwinear to the east of Hayle, while St Erth, the railway junction for St Ives, is located south-west of Hayle.

The only previous election result for this division is from the first election to the unitary Cornwall Council in 2009, in which Tovey rather narrowly defeated independent candidate Sheila Furneaux.  Tovey had been the Conservative district councillor for the main predecessor ward (Gwinear, Gwithian and Hayle East) since winning a by-election in October 2007, in which he resoundingly defeated independent Derek Elliott and a Labour candidate.  The other former district ward covering the present division, St Erth and St Hilary, had been Conservative since the May 2007 election in which the Conservatives defeated Furneaux in a straight fight.

This by-election has attracted a field of seven candidates, with all the three main parties, Cornish nationalists Mebyon Kernow and three Independents standing.  The Conservatives will try to defend the by-election with Lionel Pascoe, who was the other district councillor for Gwinear, Gwithian and Hayle East ward from 2006 to the abolition of Penwith district council in 2009; he is the current vice-chairman of Gwinear-Gwithian parish council and lives in the hamlet of Fraddam, part of the parish.  The 2009 runner-up Sheila Furneaux, a dental nurse from St Hilary, is standing again as an Independent.  The Liberal Democrat candidate is Yvonne Bates, who lives in Angarrack, another hamlet in Gwinear-Gwithian parish.  St Ives-based Malcolm Hurst is standing for Labour, and Mebyon Kernow are standing here for the first time in the form of John Gillingham; he gives an address in the hamlet of Bolenowe, south of Camborne.  Of the two other independent candidates, Derek Elliott is from Angarrack and stood for Cornwall council in 2009 (as the UKIP candidate in Hayle South) while Michael Roberts lives in Gwithian and has sat on Gwinear-Gwithian parish council for ten years.

The two parish councils jointly arranged a 'Meet the Candidates' event last week at the parish hall in Gwinear.  All seven candidates attended and a report is available at the Gwinear-Gwithian parish council website here.

Parliamentary constituencies: Camborne and Redruth (Gwinear-Gwithian parish), St Ives (St Erth parish)
ONS Travel to Work Areas: Penzance and Isles of Scilly (St Erth parish), Truro, Redruth and Camborne (Gwinear-Gwithian parish)

Yvonne Bates (LD)
Derek Elliott (Ind)
Sheila Furneaux (Ind)
John Gillingham (MK)
Malcolm Hurst (Lab)
(Anthony) Lionel Pascoe (C)
Michael Roberts (Ind)

June 2009 result C 612 Ind 547 LD 356 Lab 90