Wednesday, 9 July 2014

By-Election Preview: 10 July 2014

Five by-elections and one deferred election on 10th July 2014.  One Cornish contest is covered here, with the rest covered over on the English Elections blog.

Cornwall council
Caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Terry Wilkins.  A former London policeman, Wilkins resigned after it was revealed that for nearly two decades he had falsely claimed to have been appointed MBE.

Terraced Houses, Illogan
Illogan is a satellite village of Camborne and Redith, located between the two on the north side of the A30 bypass.  Originally an agricultural area, Illogan's economy was traditionally based on tin-mining, like much of the Camborne-Redruth conurbation.  The mines and their employment are now gone, but Illogan is one of the more better-off villages in the area. The ward includes some minor tourist attractions, including part of the Tehidy country park and the cliffs on the north coast, including the clifftop fort of Crane Castle.  In literature, Demelza from the Poldark novels was born here.

The only previous result on these boundaries is from 2013 and was a three-way marginal, the Tories winning the seat with 29% of the vote to 25% for Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish nationalist movement, and 23% for UKIP.  The Tories had a bigger majority in the Illogan ward that existed in 2009 at the first election to the unitary Cornwall council.  Before then the ward formed part of the Illogan North ward of the abolished Kerrier district council (which voted C/Liberal Party/Lib Dem in 2003, the Lib Dems gaining the Conservative seat in 2007) and part of the Illogan and Portreath division of the former Cornwall county council (which voted for an independent in 2005).

History records that the 2001 county election result in the former Illogan North division, which originally elected a Liberal Party county councillor, was so close it was eventually voided by the courts on the grounds that two votes were wrongly included in the count.  Despite what some high-profile recent fraud cases like Birmingham 2004 or Oldham East and Saddleworth 2010 may lead people to believe, most successful challenges to election results are not due to fraud or falsehoods told in the campaign, but due to procedural errors like that which are unlucky enough to occur in a very close election and affect the result.  Human errors like that do happen every so often and all we can hope to do is catch them before they make an impact.

Defending for the Conservatives is Adam Desmonde, who is a councillor on the parish-level Truro city council and as such lives a fair distance away from the ward.  The runner-up last year, Illogan parish councillor Stephen Richardson, tries again for Mebyon Kernow.  UKIP are standing Clive Polkinghorne, a parish councillor in Hayle further down the A30.  The Lib Dems have reselected Illogan parish councillor David Ekinsmyth, who has fought this area several times over the last decade or so.  Labour's candidate is Trevor Chalker, the deputy mayor of Camborne; Jacqueline Merrick stands for the Green Party; and completing the ballot paper is Paul Holmes of the continuing Liberal Party, a former district councillor for the area and the winner of the voided 2001 county election.

Parliamentary constituency: Camborne and Redruth
ONS Travel to Work Area: Truro, Redruth and Camborne
Postcode districts: TR14, TR15, TR16

Trevor Chalker (Lab)
Adam Desmonde (C)
David Ekinsmyth (LD)
Paul Holmes (Lib)
Jacqueline Merrick (Grn)
Clive Polkinghorne (UKIP)
Stephen Richardson (MK)

May 2013 result C 331 MK 290 UKIP 259 LD 157 Lab 113

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