Wednesday, 5 November 2014

By-election Preview: 6 November 2014

There are just two by-elections on 6th November, one in Cornwall and one in Warwickshire which will be covered on English Elections.  (That low number is good news for your columnist who is still recovering from a long weekend in Bucharest.)  Both are the result of elected councillors moving on to take up new jobs.

The six-month rule comes into effect this week: as of Friday there will be less than six months to go to the 2015 local elections on 7th May.  From then on, any new vacancies in seats which will be up for election in 2015 will not be filled; as most English councils will have whole council elections next year this means there will be relatively few by-elections until then.

Cornwall council
Caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Michael Bunney, who is now employed by the council as a schoolteacher.

Mevagissey Harbour
Here we have one of those picture-postcard fishing villages which Cornwall specialises in. There are still fishermen at Mevagissey, but the economy of this village, on the south coast five miles south of St Austell, is based on tourism; as well as the harbour itself, part of the Heligan estate, with its restored Victorian garden, is within the division.  To the north the division includes the recently-created Pentewan Valley parish, which runs almost to the edge of St Austell and includes the intriguingly-named village of London Apprentice; and to the south is St Goran parish, whose largest village is the harbour of Gorran Haven.

Mevagissey unexpectedly voted Labour in 2013 in a close three-way result; Labour polled 30% of the vote with UKIP second on 28%, the Conservatives third on 24% and the Lib Dems also polling creditably with 14%.  The previous Mevagissey division (boundary changes in 2009 removed part of St Austell Bay parish) was a close Tory/Lib Dem marginal in 2009, and the electoral units which covered the area before the creation of the unitary Cornwall council also tended to be close fights between the Tories and Lib Dems.

The defending Labour candidate is Gorran Haven resident Charmain Nicholas, a nurse specialising in adult safeguarding.  The UKIP and Conservative candidates from last year are standing again; they are Michael Williams (from Gorran Haven) and James Mustoe (from St Austell, a staffer for the local Tory MP) respectively.  The Lib Dem candidate is Chris Maynard, an environmental campaigner and scout group leader from St Austell, while the Greens' Katherine Moseley again completes the ballot paper.

Parliamentary constituency: St Austell and Newquay
ONS Travel to Work Area: St Austell

Christopher Maynard (LD)
Katherine Moseley (Grn)
James Mustoe (C)
Charmain Nicholas (Lab)
Michael Williams (UKIP)

May 2013 result Lab 391 UKIP 363 C 316 LD 184 Grn 62