Previews: 21 Nov 2019

“All the right votes, but not necessarily in the right order”

Well, Britain Elects is going up in the world thanks to our tie-up with the New Statesman, but the local by-election cycle continues to crank on as if nothing had happened. There are ten local by-elections remaining before the general election on 12 December, and six of them are taking place today. With three polls in England, two in Scotland and one in Wales there is a nice geographical spread, and Andrew’s Previews starts the week with a little piece of electoral history: the first casual vacancy generated by the Brexit Party. Read on…


Bourne

West Sussex county council; and

Loxwood

Chichester council, West Sussex; caused respectively by the resignations of Viral Parikh and Natalie Hume. Parikh had been elected as a Conservative but had defected to the Brexit Party; Hume had been elected as a Liberal Democrat but had defected to the Green Party. They had served since 2017 and May 2019 respectively.

Our first two by-elections are at the western end of Sussex. The Bourne division is the south-western corner of the county, hard up against the border with Hampshire. Its main centre of population is Southbourne, on the road and railway line between Chichester and Portsmouth; also here are the villages of Westbourne and Nutbourne, some smaller parishes to the north within the South Downs National Park, and Thorney Island to the south. No longer an island thanks to the construction of seawalls, Thorney Island’s isolated position in Chichester Harbour has made it attractive to the military for many years: it was a Royal Air Force Coastal Command base during the Second World War, and is now used by the Army. There was an interval between the RAF moving out in the late 1970s and the Army moving in during the mid-1980s; in that time Thorney Island was a temporary home to hundreds of Vietnamese refugee families being resettled in the UK.

Some miles to the north is Loxwood ward, lying in the Low Weald on the border with Surrey. This is one of the most remote parts of south-east England, with scattered villages, no railways and few major roads. The largest parish in the ward is Plaistow with nearly 1,600 electors; other major settlements include Loxwood itself and Wisborough Green on the A272 road. Notable electors here include the actors James Bolam and Susan Jameson and the Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who live in and around Wisborough Green. A shoutout is due to the Stag Inn in Balls Cross, which is doing its bit for democracy as a polling station for this by-election.

The psephologist Robert Waller wrote in every edition of his magisterial and much-missed Almanac of British Politics that “even after the revolution the workers’ soviet for Chichester would be Tory”. Like all good jokes, there’s a grain of truth and a lot of exaggeration in that. The forerunner to the future Chichester Workers’ Soviet does normally have a Conservative majority, but the first election to the modern Chichester council in 1973 saw the Conservative group outnumbered by independent councillors, and at the Tory nadir of 1995 the Liberal Democrats were the largest party on a hung council. It’s a mark of the volatile political times in which we live that the May 2019 election to Chichester council delivered no overall control: the Tories crashed from 42 seats out of 48 to 18 out of 36, and are having to rely for their majority on the casting vote of the council chairman, Cllr Mrs Hamilton.

Loxwood ward was one of the areas where the Tories did badly in May. It was a new ward, including all of the former Plaistow and Wisborough Green wards which were Tory-held at every election this century. And the voters of Plaistow certainly had a lot of chances to reconsider that allegiance: there were by-elections for the old Plaistow ward in 2003, 2009, February 2010, November 2010 and 2012, every one of which was caused by a Tory councillor resigning and every one of which saw the Lib Dems’ Ray Cooper finish as runner-up. So it must have been a surprise to the local Tory group when the Lib Dems won the inaugural Loxwood election in May, prevailing 56-44 in a straight fight. Topping the poll on the Lib Dem slate was Natalie Hume, who subsequently joined the Green Party and then resigned from the council prompting this by-election.

The Bourne division of West Sussex county council has survived a number of boundary reviews to be unchanged since at least 2005. In the late Noughties it was Tory with the Lib Dems in second, but the 2013 election here was a gain for UKIP. The Conservatives recovered Bourne at the most recent West Sussex county elections in May 2017, with 40% of the vote against 26% for UKIP and 20% for the Lib Dems. Topping the poll on the Tory slate was Viral Parikh, who subsequently joined the Brexit Party and then resigned from the council prompting this by-election. Parikh has relocated to Sunderland and he is the Brexit Party candidate for Sunderland Central in the forthcoming general election; since Sunderland is famous for its early declarations you’ll probably see him on the telly on election night.

Bourne division is mostly covered by the Southbourne and Westbourne wards of Chichester council; these returned a full slate of Tory councillors in 2015, but the Conservatives have since lost their three seats in Southbourne ward: one to the Lib Dems at a December 2016 by-election (Andrew’s Previews 2016, page 315), the second to the Lib Dems in May 2019, and the third to the Boundary Commission which cut Southbourne down to two councillors in May. Loxwood ward is part of the Petworth county council division, which was strongly Conservative in 2017.

Having relinquished their Bourne supremacy, there we be no Bourne legacy for the Brexit Party as they are not defending the Bourne by-election. Yes, it’s a free-for-all! The Tories will want their seat back and have selected Mike Magill, a Westbourne parish councillor and former Royal Navy officer. The Liberal Democrat candidate is Andrew Kerry-Bedell, a business growth and marketing specialist who will be presumably putting those transferable skills to good use in his election material. Also standing are Jane Towers for Labour, Michael Neville for the Green Party and Andrew Emerson, a former Labour parliamentary candidate who has founded his own far-right group, Patria, and occasionally rises to the dizzy heights of ten votes. We wait to discover the Bourne identity of the new councillor as the electors deliver their Bourne ultimatum.

The electors in the Loxwood by-election have a wider choice than in May. The defending Green Party candidate is listed on the local party’s website as Frencesca Sechi but on the ballot paper as Frencesca Chetta; whatever her name is, she is a mother-of-two who moved to Plaistow eight years ago after 20 years living and working in London. The Lib Dems will want back the seat they lost to defection and have selected Plaistow resident Alexander Jeffery. The Tories will want back the seat they lost to the Lib Dems and have selected Janet Duncton, who is the ward’s county councillor; if she wins, the Conservatives will gain an overall majority on Chichester council. The aforementioned Andrew Emerson completes the ballot paper.

Bourne

Parliamentary constituency: Chichester
Chichester council wards: Southbourne, Westbourne, Harbour Villages (part: Chidham and Hambrook parish)
Postcode districts: PO9, PO10, PO18

Andrew Emerson (Patria)
Andrew Kerry-Bedell (LD)
Mike Magill (C)
Michael Neville (Grn)
Jane Towers (Lab)

May 2017 result C 1357 UKIP 865 LD 659 Lab 264 Grn 234
May 2013 result UKIP 1241 C 1158 LD 360 Lab 295
June 2009 result C 1948 LD 1382 Lab 127
May 2005 result C 2377 LD 1922 Lab 841 Ind 375 UKIP 347

Loxwood

Parliamentary constituency: Chichester (part: Loxwood, Northchapel and Plaistow parishes), Horsham (part: Ebernoe, Kirdford and Wisborough Green parishes)
West Sussex county council division: Petworth
Postcode districts: GU8, GU28, RH14, RH20

Francesca Chetta (Grn)
Janet Duncton (C)
Andrew Emerson (Patria)
Alexander Jeffery (LD)

May 2019 result LD 1088/938 C 868/781

Llanishen

Cardiff council, Glamorgan; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Phil Bale. A former leader of Cardiff council, he had served since 2012.

We return to Cardiff for the Welsh capital’s fourth local by-election of the year and second in as many months. The name of Llanishen refers to a llan or religious enclosure established on the slopes of Caerphilly Mountain by St Isan, shortly before his death in AD 537. St Isan’s community was a small one until the 1870s, when the Rhymney Railway built a new railway line to Cardiff through a tunnel under Caerphilly Mountain; this led to a population boom as Llanishen became a commuter centre for Cardiff down the hill. Between them the two Rhymney line railway stations serving the division (Llanishen, and Lisvane and Thornhill) serve over half a million passengers a year, with four departures each hour to Cardiff city centre.

Llanishen has continued to see significant development since the Second World War. First was Parc Tŷ Glas, an industrial estate which includes Cardiff’s tallest office building: an 18-story tower block occupied by HM Revenue and Customs. The Welsh-language television channel S4C and the National Eisteddfod also have their head offices on Parc Tŷ Glas, while Ty Glas railway station on the Coryton branch line serves the estate. Next door is the site of the former Cardiff Royal Ordnance Factory, which closed down in 1997 and has since been redeveloped for housing. These are at the southern end of Llanishen division; by contrast the northern half of the division is taken up by Thornhill, a large housing development from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Llanishen and Thornhill are relatively upmarket areas, although not to the extent of Lisvane on the other side of the Rhymney line; that’s one of the most exclusive areas not just of Cardiff but of Wales. Nevertheless this profile gives the Tories the edge in Llanishen although Labour can win seats here in a good year. The division has unchanged boundaries since 1983 (the population growth in Thornhill was dealt with simply by adding a fourth councillor in 1999) so we can track that over a very long period of time. Labour won one seat out of three in 1991, all three seats in 1995, all four seats in 1999, then nothing until 2012 when the seats split three to Labour and one to the Conservatives. Llanishen councillor Phil Bale became Leader of the Council, and a big personal vote meant that he was the only Labour councillor to hold his seat in a very close result at the last Cardiff city elections in 2017, when the Conservatives led Labour 37-36 in Llanishen.

Labour have performed poorly in Cardiff local by-elections this year, losing Ely division (in the west of the city) to Plaid Cymru in February and seeing a swing to the defending Conservatives in the marginal Whitchurch and Tongwynlais division last month. Following that loss Labour are down to 38 seats plus this vacancy, against 20 Conservatives, eleven Lib Dems and five independents. Most of those independents were elected on the Plaid Cymru ticket; the Plaid group on Cardiff council walked out of the party earlier this year in solidarity with Cardiff councillor, Welsh Assembly member and controversy magnet Neil McEvoy, who was expelled from the Plaid group in the Senedd last year. As can be seen, if Labour lose this by-election their majority on Cardiff council will be down to one seat. This result will be another pointer towards Conservative and Labour chances in the general election, where Labour are defending the marginal Cardiff North constituency.

Defending for Labour is Garry Hunt, who was a councillor for this division from 1991 to 2004 and again from 2012 to 2017; he lost his seat in the 2017 election, finishing as runner-up five votes behind the third Conservative candidate. Hunt has been a civil servant for almost 40 years. The Conservatives have selected Siân-Elin Melbourne, a Welsh teacher. Also standing are Chris Haines for Plaid Cymru, Will Ogborne for the Liberal Democrats, Michael Cope for the Greens and independent candidate Lawrence Gwynn, who stood here on the UKIP ticket in 2012 and 2017.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Cardiff North
Postcode district: CF14

Michael Cope (Grn)
Lawrence Gwynne (Ind)
Chris Haines (PC)
Garry Hunt (Lab)
Siân-Elin Melbourne (C)
Will Ogborne (LD)

May 2017 result C 2890/2804/2528/2383 Lab 2805/2523/2282/2254 PC 666 LD 593/575/543/449 Grn 528 UKIP 323/240/220/180
MAy 2012 result Lab 2394/2362/2302/1992 C 2033/1980/1948/1782 PC 418/384/308/246 UKIP 396 Grn 313 LD 286/268/222/215
May 2008 result C 2923/2828/2734/2623 Lab 1769/1496/1491/1478 LD 664/605/544/449 PC 592/588/377/329
June 2004 result C 1999/1847/1827/1807 Lab 1774/1534/1531/1388 LD 1167/1145/1116/1062 PC 559 Ind 449/373
May 1999 result Lab 2436/2427/2363/2354 C 1608/1608/1486/1385 LD 1081/1016/1011/1002 PC 1052
May 1995 result Lab 3367/3240/3167 C 1532/1148/1138 LD 616/593/443 PC 301
May 1991 result C 2382/2316/2158 Lab 2308/2252/2239 LD 989/951/900
May 1987 result C 2308/2272/2228 Lab 1758/1665/1662 All 1706/1662/1661
May 1983 result C 1909/1904/1890 Lab 1578/1550/1506 All 707/705/599 PC 130/110


Birch Green

West Lancashire council; caused by the resignation of Labour councillor Claire Cooper who had served since 2016.

We travel north to a town where the air is so pure you get drunk just by breathing, the washing stays clean on the line, and there’s not a single traffic light to bring your commute to a full stop. A veritable Utopia; or, as Scousers call it, Skelmersdale. This is a New Town of around 40,000 residents, who still get lost in the maze of roundabouts which is the local road network. Birch Green is the ward covering Skem’s town centre, for which West Lancashire council have ambitious and badly-needed redevelopment plans. The ward’s census return still bears all the New Town hallmarks: high levels of social housing, low qualifications, relatively high unemployment, you name it. A ward dominated by the so-called “Labour Leavers” we have heard a lot of in the general election so far?

Well, there may be other factors at work. Skem is in cultural terms an exclave of Merseyside located in central Lancashire, and its voting patterns suggest not Leyland but Liverpool. Birch Green is traditionally the sort of place where the Labour vote is not counted but weighed; Claire Cooper was elected here in 2016 with 89% in a straight fight with the Conservatives. The May 2019 poll, however, broke the mould with the intervention of a localist party, the Skelmersdale Independents; Labour eventually prevailed but only by 59-35, by far the closest result in Birch Green this century. Skem provides the Labour majority in the West Lancashire constituency, so this result should be watched closely for any sign of weakness in the red fortress. Labour’s majority on West Lancashire council is small: going into this by-election they have 28 seats plus this vacancy, against 19 Conservatives and six seats for “Our West Lancashire”, a localist party based in Ormskirk and the surrounding area.

Defending for Labour is Sue Gregson, a registered social worker. The Skelmersdale Independents have reselected Andrew Taylor who was runner-up here in May. Completing the ballot paper is the Conservatives’ George Rear, whose surname is also his likely finishing position in this by-election. Whoever wins here will need be back on the campaign trail in short order, as they will be due for re-election in May 2020.

Parliamentary constituency: West Lancashire
Lancashire county council division: Skelmersdale Central
Postcode district: WN8

Sue Gregson (Lab)
George Rear (C)
Andrew Taylor (Skem Ind)

May 2019 result Lab 463 Skem Ind 277 C 50
May 2016 result Lab 662 C 83
May 2015 result Lab 1255 UKIP 272 C 135
May 2012 result Lab 686 C 60 Grn 45
May 2011 result Lab 789 C 105
May 2008 result Lab 394 C 125
May 2007 result Lab 424 C 97
June 2004 result Lab 676 C 159
May 2003 result Lab 323 C 59
May 2002 result Lab 410/320 Ind 165 C 56


Keith and Cullen

Moray council, Scotland; caused by the resignation of independent councillor Ron Shepherd.

Our two Scottish by-elections this week are both in the north-east of the country, in parliamentary seats which the Conservatives gained in 2017 and will need to defend next month. We start with Moray, where the defending Tory MP is 36-year-old Douglas Ross, a qualified football referee (he was a linesman in the 2015 Scottish Cup final) who ended 30 years of Scottish National Party representation in Moray by defeating Angus Robertson in June 2017. A particularly embarrassing loss for the SNP, as Robertson was their Westminster group leader going into the election. Ross had previously been elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 from the Highlands and Islands list, and before that was part of the ruling Tory-Independent coalition on Moray council.

Also part of that coalition was councillor Ron Shepherd, a veteran of local government. He had started his public career before the 1970s reorganisation on the Royal Burgh council for Cullen, a small fishing village on the coast of what was then Banffshire. Cullen was the site of the death of Indulf, king of Alba, in 962 fighting the Vikings; a later king of Scotland, no less than Robert the Bruce, had awarded an annuity to the local kirk to say prayers in memory of his wife, who had died in Cullen. These payments – currently set at £2.10 per annum – fell into abeyance after the dissolution of the Royal Burgh of Cullen in 1975, but were restarted by Moray council in 2000. The council have also made good 25 years’ arrears to the kirk.

Shepherd returned to local government in 1999 as independent councillor for the Rathford ward of Moray council, covering Cullen and some villages to the south of it. In 2007, with the advent of proportional representation for Scottish local government, this was merged into a larger ward based on the towns of Keith and Cullen, with three councillors. If Cullen depends for tourism on picturesqueness (there are a lot of holiday homes there), Keith’s tourism appeal comes from whisky: there are three distilleries in the town, with Strathmill, Glenkeith, Strathisla and Chivas Regal all being made here. Keith is located on the main road and railway line between Aberdeen and Inverness, giving it good connections to the outside world.

In the 2007 election to Keith and Cullen ward the SNP topped the poll with 37% of the vote and won one seat, the remaining two seats going to independent candidates Shepherd and Stewart Cree. The SNP polled over 50% – two full quotas – in 2012, but they blew their chance of a second seat with terrible vote balancing that allowed the two independent councillors to be re-elected.

The Conservatives broke through in the May 2017 local elections, increasing their vote from 10% to 34% in a sign of what was to come here at the general election five weeks later. On first preferences the SNP led with 39% and won one seat, the Conservatives had 34% and won one seat, and Ron Shepherd polled 17% to win the final seat very comfortably ahead of the second SNP candidate. The Tories picked up the seat previously held by independent Stewart Cree, who retired. As usual, Allan Faulds of Ballot Box Scotland has done the redistributions, and found that if the 2017 Keith and Cullen election had been for one seat then it would have gone Conservative; the Tories would have picked up the lions’ share of Shepherd’s transfers to beat the SNP 52-48 in the final reckoning.

The ruling Conservative-Independent coalition in Moray fell apart in 2018, and the SNP – who are the largest party with 9 out of 26 seats – are now in minority control. Going into this election there were eight Conservatives, seven independent councillors plus this vacancy, and one Labour councillor.

With Ron Shepherd’s retirement we have an open seat. There is one independent candidate looking to succeed Shepherd: he is Rob Barsby, who stood here in May 2017, polled 9% and was eliminated in fifth and last place. The SNP have selected Jock McKay, whose varied career has included running a pub and working as a prison officer and school janitor. The Tory nominee is Laura Powell, who like Barsby is from Portknockie on the coast; Powell is involved with local groups in Portknockie and has worked in local government and run a Post Office. Completing the ballot paper is Ian Aitchison for the Liberal Democrats.

Parliamentary constituency: Moray
Scottish Parliament constituency: Moray (Keith), Banffshire and Buchan Coast (remainder of ward)
Postcode districts: AB45, AB54, AB55, AB56

Ian Aitchison (LD)
Rob Barsby (Ind)
Jock McKay (SNP)
Laura Powell (C)

May 2017 first preferences SNP 1463 C 1298 Ind 655 Ind 354
May 2012 first preferences SNP 1619 Ind 702 Ind 474 C 312
May 2007 first preferences SNP 1555 Ind 827 Ind 698 Ind 582 LD 300 C 256


Torry/Ferryhill

Aberdeen council, Scotland; caused by the resignation of Scottish National Party councillor Catriona Mackenzie who had served since 2017.

We finish in the centre of Aberdeen with a ward which is almost all part of the Aberdeen South parliamentary seat. Like Moray, this is a constituency represented by a young Tory who had gone through the route of local council to MSP to MP. Ross Thomson wasn’t yet 20 when he had his first election campaign, finishing third in Coatbridge and Chryston at the 2007 Holyrood election. He went on to stand unsuccessfully for Gordon at the 2010 general election, Aberdeen Donside at the 2011 Holyrood election and 2013 Holyrood by-election, Aberdeen South at the 2015 general election, and Aberdeen South and North Kincardine at the 2016 Holyrood election. Thomson’s first success came in May 2012 when he was elected to Aberdeen city council, and he got into the Scottish Parliament in 2016 through the Conservative list for North East Scotland.

Ross Thomson was elected in June 2017 as MP for Aberdeen South at the age of 29, defeating the SNP’s Callum McKaig (another young rising star who had become leader of Aberdeen city council at the age of 26). Thomson was a right-wing Brexiteer, having been a Scottish spokesman for Vote Leave; he was the only Scottish Conservative to join the European Research Group, and ran the Scottish wing of Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign. His year in Holyrood and single term in Westminster were dogged by controversy, and ultimately an allegation that he had groped Labour MP Paul Sweeney in a Commons bar led to Thomson losing the confidence of his constituency party. Aged 32, he is now an ex-MP seeking new employment. New candidate Douglas Lumsden has the task of trying to hold Aberdeen South for the Tories on 12th December.

Before then the SNP are defending an Aberdeen council by-election in Torry/Ferryhill ward. This is a ward spanning both sides of the River Dee. On the north bank is Ferryhill, an early suburb of Aberdeen just south of the city centre (indeed this ward includes Aberdeen railway station and the associated shopping centre). On the south bank is Torry, a former fishing village which was once a Royal Burgh in its own right. Torry is a more suburban area but does have some jobs associated with the fishing and North Sea oil industries.

In 2003, at the last first-past-the-post elections to Aberdeen council, the Ferryhill area had returned two Lib Dems while Torry was represented by a Labour and an SNP councillor. The introduction of PR in 2007 allowed the Conservatives to win one of the Lib Dem seats, partly helped by the SNP (who topped the poll) only having one candidate. The SNP put that mistake right for the 2012 election and won a second seat, gaining it from the Lib Dems; Labour actually had more first preferences than the SNP but poor balancing of their two candidates cost them a seat.

Things were even more interesting in the 2012 Aberdeen election for the neighbouring ward of Hazlehead/Ashley/Queens Cross, a middle-class area in the west of the city. Nine candidates were nominated in the election: two Lib Dems, two SNP, one each from the Tories (Ross Thomson, no less), Labour and Scottish Greens, and two independent candidates. The first of these, Jim Farquharson, had been elected as that ward’s Conservative councillor five years earlier but was seeking re-election as an independent. The second, Helena Torry, had no previous electoral experience. As it turned out, there was a good reason for this. “Helena Torry” was in fact a mannequin who had been entered into the election by one Renée Slater to represent “the voice of the silent majority” and specifically campaigning against an unpopular proposed redevelopment of the city’s Union Terrace Gardens. Slater had been named on the paperwork as Torry’s election agent.

This column does not like to criticise election administrators, who make sometimes-superhuman efforts to put an election on for your benefit. It’s a hard job, it’s not always well paid, and it’s often unappreciated, thankless work. We should support our council election teams, not denigrate them.

Having said that, the Aberdeen elections office must look back on the Helena Torry affair and conclude, with the benefit of hindsight, that it was not their finest hour. Once the realisation sunk in that they’d been pranked, the returning officer threw her toys out of the pram. The police were called, Slater was arrested (which, as I will discuss, was fair enough), and Torry was seized by Grampian Police as evidence for a future prosecution. The returning officer then proceeded to publish a new Notice of Poll without Torry’s name on the candidate list; there is an argument that this wasn’t legally the right thing to do, but in the event nobody complained and the election went ahead on that basis.

What definitely wasn’t legally the right thing to do was what happened next. Renée Slater was charged by the procurator fiscal with an offence under section 65A of the Representation of the People Act 1983, and went on trial in February 2013 at Aberdeen sheriff court. Section 65A relates to false statements in nomination papers, and given that Torry’s nomination papers were clearly fictitious it must have appeared to be an open-and-shut case. Unfortunately the procurator fiscal or whoever was advising them hadn’t got to the bottom of section 65A and read subsection (2), which says that section 65A only applies to parliamentary elections and local elections in England and Wales. False statements in nomination papers for Scottish local elections are covered by different legislation, section 65B of the 1983 Act. This error caused the trial to collapse; after two days of evidence the sheriff ruled that Slater had no case to answer, she walked free from court, and the mannequin that caused all the trouble was released from police custody and returned to her.

Renée Slater subsequently stood in the May 2017 Aberdeen council elections in her own right, as the Scottish Green candidate for (appropriately enough) Torry/Ferryhill ward; she polled 5% and was eliminated in eighth place. There were big changes in the votes for the main parties: the SNP moved up to first on 31%, the Tories up to second with 24%, Labour down to third with 23%, independent candidate David Fryer polled 10%. Despite that, there was no change in 2017 to the seat distribution for Torry/Ferryhill, which remained at two seats for the SNP and one each for the Conservatives and Labour. Catriona Mackenzie of the SNP won the final seat, comfortably ahead of Fryer in the final reckoning. Again Allan Faulds has crunched the numbers for a one-seat election here on the 2017 votes, finding that it would have gone easily to the SNP.

Mackenzie has now resigned prompting this by-election. Audrey Nicoll will seek to hold her seat for the SNP; she is a part-time lecturer and retired police officer. Another retired police offer standing is Conservative candidate Neil Murray, who now works for a mental health charity. Aberdeen council’s entire Labour group is currently suspended from the national party because they formed a coalition with the Tories and others to run Aberdeen council, so there could be a conundrum for the national Labour leadership if Labour candidate Willie Young wins this by-election; Young is a former Aberdeen councillor who lost his seat in Bridge of Don ward in 2017. David Fryer has not returned, but there is an independent candidate to replace him: Simon McLean, who stood in Bridge of Don ward in 2017 and polled 70 votes. Also standing are Gregory McAbery for the Lib Dems, Betty Lyon for the Scottish Greens and Roy Hill for UKIP. As in Moray earlier, a quick remainder that this is a Scottish local government by-election, which means that Votes at 16, the Alternative Vote and, of course, section 65B apply in this by-election.

Parliamentary constituency: Aberdeen South (almost all), Aberdeen North (Aberdeen railway station)
Scottish Parliament constituency: Aberdeen Central (north of the Dee), Aberdeen South and North Kincardine (south of the Dee)
Postcode districts: AB10, AB11, AB12

Roy Hill (UKIP)
Betty Lyon (Grn)
Gregory McAbery (LD)
Simon McLean (Ind)
Neil Murray (C)
Audrey Nicoll (SNP)
Willie Young (Lab)

May 2017 first preferences SNP 1757 C 1337 Lab 1310 Ind 580 LD 286 Grn 269 UKIP 49 NF 10
May 2012 first preferences Lab 1479 SNP 1325 C 657 LD 331 Ind 169 Grn 131 Ind 91 Ind 61 NF 23 Ind 21
May 2007 first preferences SNP 1900 Lab 1623 LD 1347 C 729 Grn 287 Ind 163 Solidarity 102


If you liked this week’s edition of Andrew’s Previews, there are a lot more like them in the Andrew’s Previews books which are available now from Amazon.

Andrew Teale