Tuesday, 18 August 2015

By-election Preview: 20 August 2015

Three by-elections on Thursday 20th August 2015. Two covered over on English Elections and one below.

Cornwall council
Caused by the resignation of UKIP councillor Harry Blakeley on health grounds.  First elected to Cornwall council in 2013, he was formerly an area manager for a national brewery, and among his work with local organisations is a trustee of St Michael's hospital in Hayle.

This division is southern Camborne, running south from the town centre and railway station.  It also includes the villages of Penponds and Barripper to the south-west of Camborne.  The division is named after the Pendarves family, a major family of local land and mineowners since the sixteenth century; a fitting name for a ward which is pockmarked by old mineshafts.  However, the ward's most famous son is the engineer Richard Trevithick, who was born in Penponds in 1771 and developed the world's first steam locomotive in Camborne.

The present Camborne Pendarves division dates only from 2013 when Cornwall was redistricted.  In that election UKIP won with a rather low vote share of 32%, twenty-one votes ahead of the Conservatives who had 30%; there were also decent vote shares for the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow (20%) and Labour (19%).  Since then UKIP's fortunes have been on the slide in Camborne; their other Cornwall councillor for the town resigned earlier this year and the by-election (held on general election day) was lost to Labour.  At the 2009 election this area was split between the Troon and Beacon division, which voted Conservative, and Camborne South which was one of three Cornish divisions carried by Mebyon Kernow; while the predecessor wards and divisions before the unitary Cornwall council was created in 2009 tended to be carried by the Lib Dems but could return councillors from pretty much any party.

Defending for UKIP is Michael Pascoe, straight back on the campaign trail after finishing second here in May in a by-election to Camborne town council.  The Tories, who won that by-election comfortably, have selected John Herd, who fought the predecessor Camborne South division in 2009 and lost to Mebyon Kernow by just twenty votes.  Deborah Fox is the Mebyon Kernow candidate and Val Dalley stands for Labour.  Also on the ballot paper are Lib Dem Nathan Billings, independent Peter Channon and the Greens' Jacqueline Merrick.

Parliamentary constituency: Camborne and Redruth
ONS Travel to Work Area: Truro, Redruth and Camborne
Postcode district: TR14

May 2013 result UKIP 340 C 319 MK 211 Lab 200