27 April 2013
Edging out the Tories in Newcastle
THURSDAY SAW two council by-elections take place in Newcastle, both contested by Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates.
Labour held on to the South Heaton ward with 61% of the vote, with the Green Party keeping hold of their second place position from when this seat was last contested, in May 2012. The Liberal Democrats remained in third but this time the TUSC candidate Paul Phillips, who stood in South Heaton in 2012, came in fourth ahead of the Tories, with 5.3%. Paul also outpolled a Newcastle First candidate – “UKIP in disguise” – and another independent.
TUSC also stood in the by-election for the Castle ward seat, which was held by the Liberal Democrats. Rory Jobe carried the TUSC anti-cuts banner for the first time in this north end of the city seat.
The Newcastle contests were the seventh and eighth council by-elections fought by TUSC in 2013. The only breakthrough has been in Maltby (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press080313.php) but even the more modest results contribute to building a working class political alternative to the pro-austerity establishment parties.
Newcastle city council
South Heaton ward:
Labour 798; Green 205; Lib Dems 114; TUSC 69 (5.3%); Conservative 52; Newcastle First 44; Independent 22
Lib Dems 1,165; Labour 1,043; Newcastle First 215; Conservative 194; TUSC 47 (1.8%)