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Friday 5 July 2013

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Council by-elections round-up

JULY'S MEETING of the TUSC national steering committee discussed a 'half-term report' on the results achieved by TUSC candidates in council by-elections in the first half of 2013.

The results from the seventeen by-elections contested by TUSC in that period are listed below.

A total of 35,007 electors have voted in these contests, with TUSC's aggregate score of 1,266 votes representing 3.6% of all the ballots cast.

For every TUSC voter in these seats there have been eleven Labour voters, six Tories and three Lib Dems.

Across the 17 seats there were more TUSC voters than Green Party voters but that was because the Greens only contested ten of the 17 seats.

Where there was a seat with both a TUSC and a Green candidate, TUSC polled 582 votes to the Greens 1,109, one TUSC voter for every two Green voters.

The most interesting feature, in so far as any conclusions can be drawn from what is still a very small sample of electoral trends, is the impact of the rise of UKIP as a vehicle for 'protest votes'.

Before the May county council elections UKIP fielded a candidate in just three of the eight by-elections, coming in second, third and fifth.

From May, however, UKIP has stood in eight out of the nine contests, winning one seat and coming second in the other seven.

Another sign of the impact of UKIP on TUSC's vote at this point was the fact, brought out in the steering committee discussion, that the average TUSC vote in May's county council elections was greater in the 34 seats where there was no UKIP candidate than in the 85 seats where there was a contest.

Of the 'top 25' TUSC results in May (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press050513.php ) 16 seats did not have a UKIP candidate. In contrast, of the 25 lowest TUSC results, 23 seats had a UKIP candidate.

UKIP's bubble can be burst - the recent Mirror expose of Nigel Farage's offshore tax arrangements is a sign that his position as a 'media darling' will not continue indefinitely.

A renewed movement against austerity, which could be sparked by community campaigns to stop bedroom tax evictions or autumn strike action by the trade unions, would challenge UKIP's 'anti-establishment' positioning. But being prepared to take them on at the ballot box is also part of the battle.


TUSC council by-election results in 2013

January 17 - Lambeth council, Brixton Hill ward:

Labour 1,593; Green 344; Liberal Democrats 274; Conservatives 164; TUSC 72 (2.8%); UKIP 63; SPGB 34

January 17 - Wirral council, Leasowe & Moreton East ward:

Conservatives 1,620; Labour 1,355; UKIP 148; TUSC 31 (1%); Liberal Democrats 28; Green 28

January 17 - Wirral council, Heswall ward:

Conservatives 1,254; UKIP 460; Labour 289; Green 110; TUSC 19 (0.9%)

March 7 - Maltby Town council, Maltby North ward:

TUSC 303 (60.1%); Independent 201

March 14 - Camden council, Gospel Oak ward:

Labour 1,272; Conservatives 419; Green 134; Liberal Democrats 132; TUSC 109 (5.1%); BNP 57

April 4 - Knowsley council, Prescot West ward:

Labour 441; Liberal Democrats 403; TUSC 86 (8.5%); Conservatives 62; Green 14

April 25 - Newcastle council, Castle ward:

Liberal Democrats 1,165; Labour 1,043; Newcastle First 215; Conservatives 194; TUSC 47 (1.8%)

April 25 - Newcastle council, South Heaton ward:

Labour 798; Green 205; Liberal Democrats 114; TUSC 69 (5.3%); Conservatives 52; Newcastle First 44; Independent 22

May 2 - Canterbury council, Seasalter ward:

Conservatives 789; UKIP 706; Labour 427; Liberal Democrats 93; TUSC 41 (2%)

May 2 - Rugby council, Bilton ward:

Conservatives 851; UKIP 440; Labour 345; Liberal Democrats 308; Green 57; TUSC 37 (1.8%)

May 9 - Leicester council, Abbey ward:

Labour 1,190; Conservatives 562; Independent 352; Liberal Democrats 212; TUSC 165 (6.6%)

May 16 - Rotherham council, Rawmarsh ward:

UKIP 1,143; Labour 1,039; Conservatives 107; BNP 80; TUSC 61 (2.5%); Liberal Democrats 28

June 6 - Newcastle council, Walkergate ward:

Labour 1,080; UKIP 668; Liberal Democrats 460; Independent 64; Newcastle First 61; Conservatives 54; Green 30; TUSC 24 (1%); Independent 12

June 13 - Southampton council, Woolston ward:

Labour 864; UKIP 731; Conservatives 704; TUSC 136 (5.1%); Liberal Democrats 120; Green 107

June 20 - Salford council, Weaste & Seedley ward:

Labour 785; UKIP 401; Conservatives 280; Green 80; BNP 74; Independent 64; Liberal Democrats 58; TUSC 30 (1.7%); Independent 15

June 27 - Plymouth council, Southway ward

Labour 1,247; UKIP 764; Conservatives 487; Independent 290; Liberal Democrats 82; TUSC 22 (0.8%); Independent 12

July 4 - Newcastle-under-Lyme council, Silverdale & Parksite ward:

Labour 387; UKIP 254; Conservatives 58; TUSC 14 (2%)