Only TUSC and UKIP increase their vote in Brighton council by-election
LAST WEEK'S council by-election in Brighton's Hanover and Elm Grove ward saw only the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and UKIP increase their vote since the last time there was an election here, in May 2011.
Against a background of a week-long strike in the local City Clean depot by GMB workers fighting pay cuts of up to Â£4,000 being imposed by Brighton's Green-led council, it was a tightly fought contest.
In a previously solid Green seat, the Labour Party narrowly won but both parties saw their vote fall, the Greens by nearly 1,500 from their 2011 score. Labour increased its percentage share but actually lost over 250 votes.
The TUSC candidate, the Brighton Trades Council secretary Phil Clarke, polled 172 votes (4.9%), an increase in both percentage and actual terms from TUSC's result in 2011 (156 votes, with a 2.9% share) despite a turnout this time nearly one fifth lower (1,800 fewer voters).
TUSC moved above the Liberal Democrats, gaining over three times their vote, and came very close to the Tories and UKIP.
Of course, TUSC's results are still very modest and we have never claimed otherwise (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16801/05-07-2013/council-by-elections-round-up for a full list of all council by-elections contested by TUSC this year).
There are few guarantees in elections: on the same day that Labour won the Brighton seat from the Greens, a Labour candidate came in last with 29 votes in a district council by-election in Lincolnshire.
But one thing is guaranteed: if there is no trade unionist or socialist candidate standing as an alternative to the austerity parties, a cuts candidate will win unchallenged.
July 11 - Brighton council, Hanover & Elm Grove ward:
Labour 1,396; Green 1,358; Conservatives 275; UKIP 250; TUSC 172 (4.9%); Liberal Democrats 56