Close call in Warrington rebel councillor re-election bid
Despite a fantastic campaign that showed the depths of local support which existed for TUSC's Kevin Bennett, the rebel Warrington councillor has lost by just 76 votes in his bid for re-election in Thursday's local council poll.
The right-wing dominated local Labour group threw everything they had into the campaign against the real opposition voice on the council. Never mind the Tories, TUSC were the enemy to beat!
Kevin duly hammered the Tory candidate in the Fairfield & Howley ward, who polled 332 votes, but his 921 votes - a 30% share - was tantalisingly short of the 997 votes of Labour candidate Peter Carey.
But right-wing Labour are mistaken if they think TUSC in Warrington will be silenced by this narrow defeat. The six TUSC candidates in the town between them polled 1,719 votes, with Bob Taylor coming in a strong second place in Poulton South with 20.8%. The pressure on Labour to stand up to Tory austerity will remain.
Commiserations are also due to the Walsall independent anti-cuts councillor, Pete Smith, who spoke at the TUSC conference in 2014, who was standing for re-election in his Blakenall ward. In a three-way contest Labour won with 1,068 votes with Pete second on what was still an impressive score of 811.
But these and other results do show that support can be won for a clear anti-austerity socialist message when the local Labour candidate is not prepared to fight.
In addition to Kevin and Bob in Warrington, the latest results that have come in show TUSC candidates polling over 10% in two Knowsley council wards - Shevington (23.5%) and Halewood South (17.3%) - in High Fell ward in Gateshead (12%), 11.5% in Burnley's Queensgate ward, 10.9% in Boston Castle ward in Rotherham, and 10.6% in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire.
These follow the earlier results reported for Coventry and Liverpool (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17240/06-05-2016/fourth-place-for-tusc-mayoral-candidate-in-britains-eighth-biggest-city), including Roger Bannister's victory over the Tories in the Liverpool mayoral contest.
There are still more TUSC results to collate as counts extend into Saturday (and even Sunday for Bristol council) and updates will be posted here over the weekend.