By-election update: Labour’s Oxford by-election tactics slammed

Election count progressingThere were three principal Council by-elections this week in Oxford, Shepway and Surrey Heath.

In Carfax ward (Oxford City Council) Labour held on with 168 votes (44.2%; +15.6%). Tony Brett, the Liberal Democrat candidate who finished fourth in May’s local election, came a respectable second with 101 votes (26.6%) and increase of 9% since May. The Green Party slipped from first in May to third on Thursday with 16.6% (-14.2%). The Conservatives and UKIP both polled 24 votes (6.3%).

Turnout in the ward was a record low of just 8.6%. The Oxford Labour Party have been slammed for calling a by-election in the student-heavy ward at a time when most students are out of the city. This is also the second by-election in the City since May’s local election and a third is due on 18 September; each costing £4,000. Tony Brett has challenged the local Labour Party to justify their tactics.

In Shepway, UKIP took a seat in Folkestone Harvey Central ward from the Conservatives with 27.9% of the vote. The Tory candidate saw their party’s vote drop by 17.3% to come second with 21.7%. Tom McNeice, a former Folkestone Town mayor, stood for the Liberal Democrats and came third with 19.2%. Labour were just behind on 19%, the Greens came fifth with 9.3% and TUSC finished last with 2.8%.

There was no Liberal Democrat candidate in Surrey Heath. Labour held the seat with 44.1%. The Conservatives were second with 29.8% and UKIP came third with 26%.

For all the detailed results see the ALDC elections page.

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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23 Comments

  • There was no Liberal Democrat candidate in Surrey Heath. Labour held the seat with 44.1%. The Conservatives were second with 29.8% and UKIP came third with 26%.

    Says it all really. The state of the party today just a couple of hundred days away from a general election.

  • David Evans 5th Sep '14 - 6:54pm

    Sadly no candidates for Surrey Heath, Old Dean ward. In 2011 we put up two candidates for the two member ward, but now no motivation even for a by-election.

  • Now there’s a surprise. John Tilley and David Evans focussing on the bad news.
    They couldn’t possibly focus on the good news of jumping from fourth to second in Oxford and signs of recovery in Shepway could they ?
    Of course, everything isn’t rosy, but it’s miles away from terminal.

  • Tim Hill
    At the rate of progress in what you consider ” good news “, how many decades do you calculate it will take for our level of support to return to pre- Clegg levels?

  • cllr Nick Cotter 5th Sep '14 - 10:25pm

    I agree with John !!!

    Cllr Nick Cotter (now Independent, formerly Liberal Democrat)

    30 Years a Member …………..

    Bicester, Oxon.

  • Doom mongers are so self justifying…..33 years a member and still a member and proud of it

  • cllr Nick Cotter 5th Sep '14 - 10:55pm

    Tim Hill – Good for you …………………..I think it’s called “living in a western parliamentary democracy”

  • Bill le Breton 6th Sep '14 - 7:28am

    Intrigued by this comment from Caractatus – what does a ‘clegg fan’ (sic) look like? – I looked up the constituency web site.

    It looks a model of a modern Liberal Democrat campaigning web site. I noticed the name of Tim Prater and concluded that he may be having a good influence on the ‘professionalism’ of the look. The candidate is local, entrenched with a record of hardwork in the community.

    Unless I am shown otherwise, this looks to be the summit of Lib Dem campaigning in 2014. I expect it won the backing of the Dragon in their Den and is visible on the charts in the Wheelhouse.

    Of course it is also a place full of ‘the left behind’. http://www.spiked-online.com/review_of_books/article/ukip-the-revolt-of-the-left-behind/15000#.VAqpbVdrK1s

  • Tony Dawson 6th Sep '14 - 9:29am

    @Tim Hill:

    “They couldn’t possibly focus on the good news of jumping from fourth to second in Oxford ….”

    Gaining 100 votes with about 3 per cent of the electorate voting for you? Signs of recovery? How much do these ‘denial’ pills cost?

    To ‘monger’ is to sell. Those who are doom mongers are those who are selling the doom. Not those who are accurately commenting on the doom which the Parliamentary leadership have been selling to the nation for four years.

  • Well said Tim Hill. I’m 42 years a member done my bit as a PPC, councillor, election agent, Focus editor etc etc. I have also built up and run a business, employed people and paid their wages. One thing you don’t do is clear off when times get tough so I am another member who won’t be going anywhere. What’s more given the hand he was dealt I think Nick Clegg has done a pretty good job!

  • David Evans 6th Sep '14 - 10:18am

    Robert, with 42 years as a member you have been around as long as I and we have all the badges. But it is as a man who has run a business that you interest me.

    Did you ever have to sack a manager for failing to perform?

    Personally losing customer confidence by breaking pledges?

    Failing to do things he had promised to do in staff meetings?

    Unilaterally doing things that had been agreed would not be done?

    Ignoring staff concerns to the extent over a third of the staff left (paid or unpaid);

    Personally disparaging those ex staff saying they were not wanted;

    Turnover down by nearly two thirds;

    Making losses in all areas – locally (down over 10% year on year for five years); nationally (down 5% in his best year) and internationally (down 90% having taken on an up and coming competitor face to face and losing);

    Refusing to acknowledge that others’ input was valid and in their areas of expertise better than his;

    Employing staff on very high salaries who had little experience of the what the firm was all about;

    Indeed jeopardising the continuing existence of your business;

    and all in the hope of getting the credit in five years time for helping your biggest competitor.

    If you can put the views of a business manager on all of this, I would be very interested. From my business perspective it is trying saving the business for the next generation, not doom mongering.

  • Charles Beaumont 6th Sep '14 - 12:56pm

    Back in the 1990s I was registered to vote in Oxford when the Lib Dems and the Greens were the main game in town. Lib Dems scheduled a by-election outside term time in order to minimise Green votes (which largely came from students). I was so outraged that, for the only time in my life, I voted Green, going to the trouble of getting a postal vote.

    Looks like there’s nothing new under the sun….

  • I was the LibDem Candidate in Carfax on Thursday. I realise 101 votes doesn’t sound like much but you have to remember that 70-80% of the ward is students and they are all still away. If you think our vote was bad, consider that the Greens won the ward in May with 483 votes but came third this time with just 63 votes. In May the Tories came third with 315 votes (to my 276) but this time got just 24 votes. I’m pretty proud of that squeeze!

  • Peter Watson 6th Sep '14 - 9:21pm

    @Charles Beaumont and @Tony Brett
    Your posts make me wonder what will be the effect of the student vote in some constituencies in May 2015.
    I understand that electoral reforms under this government mean that fewer students might be registered to vote than used to be the case unless there is a successful campaign for voter registration, but it might suit both coalition partners not to encourage that very much.

  • Charles Beaumont wasn’t that the time when LDV’s Stephen Tall was a councillor in Oxford ? 🙂

  • Tim Hill do you think that describing people as “doom mongers” convinces anyone that your view might be right?

    You seem to be in denial of the facts as reported in the original post and repeatedly at virtually every type of election during the last eight years.

    We do not need to be “doom mongers” to face the facts, we need to be realists. Rebuilding the party out of the ashes of Cleggery will require realism and common sense. Denying that there is a problem is a mug’s game.

  • Paul In Wokingham 7th Sep '14 - 9:46am

    @JohnTilley – worse still, denying that Clegg is a problem (despite the evidence of opinion polls and elections) is not only willful blindness, it is playing into the hands of our political opponents. Electoral calculus showed that across the average of all VI polls in August, that all of Labour ,Conservative and UKIP recorded an increase in support, but Liberal Democrat support fell. Today’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times (somewhat overshadowed by another poll!) once again reports Lib Dem support at 7%. That is not “doom-mongering”. That is admitting to the facts on the ground.

    I had hoped in May that Mr. Clegg and his advisors would acknowledge the damage they were inflicting and take the honourable path. I was wrong. At this point I no longer hold out any hope that Mr. Clegg will resign before next May. So we are left carrying the dead weight of his leadership into the next general election.

    Perhaps those who object to “doom-mongering” could explain the process that is going to unfold in the 242 days that will turn around the party’s current fortunes. Because simply insisting that it’ll be alright on the night isn’t going to do it.

  • Paul In Wokingham 7th Sep ’14 – 9:46am
    Perhaps those who object to “doom-mongering” could explain the process that is going to unfold in the 242 days that will turn around the party’s current fortunes. Because simply insisting that it’ll be alright on the night isn’t going to do it.

    The ” alright on the night tendency” seem short of arguments but long on abuse. I look forward to any of them providing a considered. And realistic response to your challenge.

  • David Evans 8th Sep '14 - 10:49am

    It is rather disappointing that in every thread where Nick’s failings are mentioned ,a couple of bods turn up to say things like “I think Nick’s a jolly good sort!” and then when questioned about it they fade into the background. I sometimes wonder if they are just highly paid SPAD’s with a bit too much time on their hands, deciding they need to defend their master.

  • Liberal Neil 8th Sep '14 - 3:12pm

    @Caractatus – if you’d read the article before commenting you would have known why the actual vote dropped in Carfax. So while it is the case that the Lib Dem vote dropped by 175, the Labour vote dropped by 280, Green by 420, and Con by 291.

    @Charles Beaumont – you are correct, it was the old Oxford Central ward, and still I remember the internal argument about it at the time. It backfired though and may even have been the by-election that Caroline Lucas first got elected in?

  • Charles Beaumont 10th Sep '14 - 8:41pm

    I’m pretty sure the LibDem candidate was Gideon Amos. He was quite high profile at that time.

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