Previewing the council by-elections of 23 Sep 2021

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

There are six by-elections in England on 23rd September 2021 with a good spread across the country and something for everyone. There is a Conservative defence in Leicestershire, a Labour defence in London and a Residents’ seat up for election in Surrey, but this week is a bit of a Liberal Democrat special with the party defending three of the seats up for election. Including our first one:

Kendal North

South Lakeland council, Cumbria; caused by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Owen.

S Lakeland, Kendal N

We start the week in the last bastion of Liberalism in the North of England. Welcome to Kendal, the once and possibly-future main town of Westmorland and the southern gateway to the Lake District: the main road and railway line to Windermere both pass by or through Kendal.

This is an old town with notably grey architecture, thanks to the local stone. Textiles were traditionally the main industry in Kendal, but the town is also known for an unusual food export, the energy snack known as Kendal Mint Cake. Eat this and your body will thank you for the energy boost, but (given its extremely high sugar content) your teeth might not be as happy. A number of rival mint cake factories still operate in Kendal today.

The town’s proximity to the Lakes makes Kendal a favourite base for Kendal Mint Cake’s largest market: mountaineers. Alfred Wainwright, whose Pictorial Guides to the Lake District are still the industry-standard guidebook to the Lakes’ hikers more than sixty years after their first publication, wrote those books while he had a day job in Kendal Town Hall as the borough treasurer.

Kendal borough council has been succeeded by South Lakeland district council, which is still under the political spell cast by the former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. Farron has been the MP for the local seat of Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005, and he achieved that by persuading the former Labour vote in Kendal to defect to the Lib Dems en masse. Until 2000 there was some decently-sized Labour and Conservative support in Kendal, and in the 2002 local elections the town’s 14 wards returned 7 Lib Dem councillors, 6 Labour and 1 Conservative. Four years later the Lib Dems won a clean sweep of all 14 wards, with their worst score in any ward being 58% of the vote in Highgate ward. That gave the party overall control of South Lakeland council, which they are yet to relinquish. Your columnist had seen nothing similar since until Jason Zadrozny got to work on Ashfield council in Nottinghamshire ahead of the 2019 local elections.

The reason that there were 14 wards for a town the size of Kendal is that South Lakeland had a rather unusual electoral cycle in those days, combining a predominantly single-member ward pattern with thirds elections. The LGBCE told them to they had to drop one or the other ahead of a boundary review implemented for the 2018 local elections; the council decided to keep thirds elections, and the review reorganised Kendal (plus the parish of Natland to the south) into four wards returning three councillors each and a fifth ward of two councillors.

The two-seat ward is Kendal North, which is based on the former wards of Strickland and Underley. It covers the town’s north-west corner, between the River Kent and the Windermere Road. The former Kendal Underley ward was based on Hallgarth, a council estate built just after the Second World War, and in the 2011 census Kendal Underley made the top 50 wards in England and Wales for part-time employment (18.9% of those of working age) and the top 70 wards for the ONS employment classification “Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles”, with 23.5% of the workforce in this rather broad category.

S Lakeland, 2018

Underley ward was represented from 2014 to its abolition in 2018 by Matt Severn, one of Andrew’s Previews‘ most ardent fans. Severn transferred to Kendal West ward in 2018 (above), and Kendal North was won by the Lib Dem slate with a rather low vote share of 38%, against 27% for the Green Party and 21% for the Conservatives. That is the only previous result on the current boundaries: the ward was not up for election in 2019, and the 2021 South Lakeland and Cumbria county council elections were cancelled in advance of a reorganisation of Cumbria’s local government. The ward forms part of the Kendal Strickland and Fell county division, which was safely Liberal Democrat when last contested in May 2017.

This by-election results from the resignation last month of Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Owen, who was first elected in 2018. Owen has also left the Liberal Democrats and switched his allegiance to the Green Party. He would have been up for election last May had those elections gone ahead; right now it’s anyone’s guess how long his successor will serve for.

Defending for the Liberal Democrats is Jonathan Cornthwaite, a manufacture technician and Kendal town councillor. The Green Party have selected Liz Hendry, a retired teacher. The Conservative candidate is Aron Taylor who, according to a local newspaper report, is concentrating on residents’ issues “from stamping out dog fouling (‘not literally, thankfully’) through to ensuring ‘council tax is kept as low as possible'”. Completing the ballot paper is Virginia Branney for Labour.

Parliamentary constituency: Westmorland and Lonsdale
Cumbria county council division: Kendal Strickland and Fell
ONS Travel to Work Area: Kendal
Postcode district: LA9

Virginia Branney (Lab)
Jonathan Cornthwaite (LD)
Liz Hendry (Grn)
Aron Taylor (LD)

May 2018 result LD 667/543 Grn 468/270 C 372/324 Lab 238/183

Shepshed West

Charnwood council, Leicestershire; caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Joan Tassell.

Charnwood, Shepshed W

For our Midlands by-election of the week we are very close to the centre of England, in the town of Shepshed. Located a few miles to the west of Loughborough, Shepshed was traditionally dominated by the mediaeval wool trade – the “shep” in the name refers to sheep – but in modern times its easy access to the M1 motorway has turned it into a dormitory town for the cities of the East Midlands.

Until its recent promotion from a parish to a town Shepshed was a claimant for the title of England’s largest village, with a population well in excess of 10,000. This is big enough for the town to return four members to Charnwood council, from two electoral wards.

Charnwood, 2019

West ward has traditionally been a key marginal ward in a key marginal Parliamentary seat (it’s part of the Loughborough constituency). In this century the ward has generally voted Conservative with the exception of the 2003 election and a by-election in October 2013, but the Tory majority at the last Charnwood elections in 2019 was unusually large: 41% for the Conservatives, 26% for Labour and 14% for UKIP. Some of that Tory lead is clearly a personal vote for their councillor Christine Radford, who is also Shepshed’s county councillor; Radford was re-elected to Leicestershire county council in May with a whopping 60-28 lead over Labour. The Labour candidate in May was Jane Lennie, the winner of the October 2013 West ward by-election.

This by-election follows the resignation of the ward’s other Conservative councillor, Joan Tassell. She had finished as runner-up to Lennie in the 2013 by-election but won the rematch in 2015, increasing her majority in 2019 against a much lower turnout.

Defending for the Conservatives is Ian Wiliams, an engineer and Shepshed town councillor. Labour have changed candidate to town councillor Myriam Roberts, who contested Shepshed East ward in the 2019 Charnwood elections; she is a school teaching assistant and, according to her declaration of interests, a “YouTube creator”. UKIP have not returned, so completing the ballot paper are John Hounsome for the Green Party and Katy Brookes-Duncan for the Liberal Democrats.

Parliamentary constituency: Loughborough
Leicestershire county council division: Shepshed
ONS Travel to Work Area: Leicester
Postcode districts: LE11, LE12, LE67

Katy Brookes-Duncan (LD)
John Hounsome (Grn)
Myriam Roberts (Lab)
Ian Williams (C)

May 2019 result C 824/667 Lab 519/489 UKIP 269 Grn 227 LD 153/98
May 2015 result C 1712/1240 Lab 1156/1142 UKIP 849/632 LD 381
October 2013 by-election Lab 683 C 560 LD 178
May 2011 result C 1000/960 Lab 934/801 LD 481/396
May 2007 result C 722/677 Lab 626/560 BNP 540 LD 522/411
May 2003 result Lab 601/600 C 507/422 LD 239/179

Soham North

East Cambridgeshire council; caused by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Victoria Charlesworth.

E Cambs, Soham N

We travel to East Anglia for a return visit to Soham, which has previously appeared in this column in Andrew’s Previews 2017 (page 167) and 2018 (page 345). As I recounted there, Soham is a town which never really fulfilled its potential: it had a cathedral in Anglo-Saxon times whose status didn’t stick, was saved from being flattened in 1944 only by extreme bravery on the part of the crew of a goods train carrying ammunition which had caught fire; and the town is still probably best-known nationally for the 2002 murder of two ten-year-old girls by their school caretaker.

Really that’s a bit unfair on Soham, which is a pleasant enough market town some miles to the north-east of Cambridge. Cambridge’s hinterland has seem massive population growth in this century which has mostly been achieved by tacking housing estates onto existing towns and villages, and Soham has not escaped this process: the electorate of Soham North ward grew by 40% between 2003 and the 2017 by-election. Following a boundary review implemented for the 2019 local elections, Soham’s representation on East Cambridgeshire council changed from 5 councillors out of 40 to 4 councillors out of 28 – an increase in percentage terms.

That population growth looked to have turned Soham into a safely Conservative area. Soham North was represented until 2017 by the Tory leader of East Cambridgeshire council, James Palmer; in that year Palmer won the inaugural election for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and his council seat was automatically vacated. The resulting by-election in June 2017 was won easily by the new Conservative candidate Mark Goldsack, who also won a by-election to Cambridgeshire county council in October 2018 for the local division of Soham North and Isleham.

E Cambs, 2019

However, the Conservatives have been struggling in Cambridgeshire of late. The 2019 East Cambridgeshire district elections saw a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats, who eventually came up just short: the final results were 15 Conservative councillors against 13 Lib Dems. Included in the Liberal Democrat column was the redrawn Soham North ward, which gave 48% to the Lib Dem slate and 42% to the Conservatives.

The Conservatives lost control of Cambridgeshire county council in May and also lost the county mayoralty to Labour, thanks to Lib Dem transfers. However, Mark Goldsack was re-elected in Soham North and Isleham division very comfortably, which will give the Tories some encouragement that they can win this by-election.

The by-election is to replace Lib Dem councillor Victoria Charlesworth, who was a distant runner-up to Goldsack in the 2018 county by-election but won the rematch in the 2019 district council elections. Charlesworth, who was in her first term in office, is relocating to the Midlands with her family.

Defending for the Liberal Democrats is Anne Pallett, a Soham town councillor. The Conservatives have reselected Mark Goldsack after he lost his district council seat in 2019. Also standing are Sam Mathieson for Labour and Andrew Cohen for the Green Party.

Parliamentary constituency: South East Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire county council division: Soham North and Isleham
ONS Travel to Work Area: Cambridge
Postcode district: CB7

Andrew Cohen (Grn)
Mark Goldsack (C)
Sam Mathieson (Lab)
Anne Pallett (LD)

May 2019 result LD 599/558 C 528/465 Lab 124/107

Wormholt and White City

Hammersmith and Fulham council, London; caused by the death of Labour councillor Colin Aherne.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Wormholt and White City

We travel to what was once most of the iconic areas of West London. In 1908 the world came to London to attend the Franco-British Exhibition, a huge public fair which was the world’s first exhibition sponsored by two countries. Attractions included an Irish village and a Senegalese village, displaying Irish industry and day-to-day life in Africa respectively. All the exhibition buildings were clad in white marble or painted white, and the site came to be known as “White City”. It was a huge public success, with the local Underground railway companies opening new stations specially to the serve the exhibition.

In that summer of 1908 White City was also the focus of the fourth modern Summer Olympic Games. The 1908 Olympics had originally been awarded to Rome, which subsequently pulled out after the Italian government diverted the necessary funds towards rebuilding efforts after the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Stepping in at short notice, London built the White City Stadium as part of the exhibition site to host the Games. Although this depends on how you classify the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, White City can reasonably claim to be the first purpose-built Olympic stadium.

The White City stadium had a huge influence on one modern Olympic event: the marathon. The 1908 Olympic marathon was run from Windsor Castle to the finishing line in the White City stadium, a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. Now metricated as 42.195 kilometres, this has been the standard marathon distance ever since. Those last 385 yards inside the stadium took ten minutes for the leading marathon runner, Italy’s Dorando Pietri, to cover. Pietri, who was suffering from fatigue and dehydration, did eventually make it over the finish line in first place but was subsequently disqualified because he had been helped onto his feet by the race umpires after a number of falls. Queen Alexandra, who had watched the whole thing from the royal box, gave him a gilded silver cup in lieu of a medal.

White City Stadium subsequently became primarily a greyhound stadium, but it hosted the British athletics championships from 1932 to 1970, the athletics events in the 1934 British Empire Games and one game in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. That was the group match between Uruguay and France, which was moved to White City because Wembley Stadium’s owners refused to reschedule a greyhound-racing meeting.

The stadium was demolished in 1985 (its site is now occupied by BBC offices) and was one of the last parts of the original White City to disappear. The only remaining part of the exhibition site is Hammersmith Park, behind the former BBC Television Centre, which was originally part of the Japanese garden. Most of the exhibition grounds were redeveloped in the late 1930s into the White City Estate, a high-rise council estate which is one of the major parts of the modern Wormholt and White City ward. The roads within the estate – Commonwealth Road, South Africa Road and so on – are named after countries which took part in the Franco-British Exhibition.

To the west of Bloemfontein Road lie the Wormholt and Cleverly estates, which date from the 1920s – the era of “homes fit for heroes” – and were designed on garden-city principles. The name “Wormholt” goes back a long way, as it was a ward of the original Hammersmith metropolitan borough council.

Since the formation of the current Hammersmith and Fulham council in the 1960s this has been a Labour-voting area. White City is the only part of the borough to have never elected a Conservative councillor. Wormholt was also generally Labour, with the exception of the 1968 disaster and the 1982 election. In the latter year one of the seats in Wormholt ward was taken by the Conservatives’ Bill Smith, the serving Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham and a former leader of the council, who transferred here from a safer ward. Labour took that result to the Election Court, crying foul over an allocation of free tickets for a Queens Park Rangers home game which were distributed to local schools a week before polling; Smith was a director of QPR. The legal action failed and the Court upheld the election.

The current ward, combining Wormholt and White City, dates from 2002. The legacy of the White City estate can be seen in the fact that a majority of the ward’s households are socially rented, and Wormholt and White City makes the top 40 wards in England and Wales for those born in the Republic of Ireland (3.0%) and is in the top 100 for both black (25.7%) and mixed-race (6.8%) ethnicity.

The late Colin Aherne, whose death at the age of 77 has caused this by-election, was first elected for Wormholt ward in 1986 and was the longest-serving member of Hammersmith and Fulham council. Born into a mining family in Tredegar in South Wales, Aherne had joined the Army at 15 and saw action in the Malayan emergency; he left the Army in 1968 with the rank of sergeant. He had come to elected office through the TGWU, which he joined in 1974 while working for Premier Foods in west London. Aherne had been the Hammersmith and Fulham Labour group’s chief whip continuously since 1990. In death he achieved the highest honour a left-wing politician can be granted: an obituary in the Grauniad.

Hammersmith/Fulham, 2018

Aherne had been top of the Labour slate which crushed the opposition with 76% of the vote in Wormholt and White City at the last London borough elections in 2018. Since then we have had the GLA elections in May, which had a wider choice of parties and candidates; we can see that from the fact that the YouTuber Niko Omilana ran fourth here in the mayoral ballot (although with only 3%). The ward’s ballot boxes gave a 52-25 lead to Labour’s Sadiq Khan over the Conservatives’ Shaun Bailey, while the London Members ballot had 54% for Labour, 18% for the Conservatives and 13% for the Green Party.

Defending for Labour is Frances Umeh, a school governor. She is opposed by three candidates: Constance Campbell for the Conservatives, Michael Illingworth for the Liberal Democrats and Naranee Ruthra-Rajan for the Green Party. Whoever wins may need to move fast to secure reselection for the 2022 elections, when this ward will be broken up.

Parliamentary constituency: Hammersmith
London Assembly constituency: West Central
ONS Travel to Work Area: London
Postcode districts: W3, W12

Constance Campbell (C)
Michael Illingworth (LD)
Naranee Ruthra-Rajan (Grn)
Frances Umeh (Lab)

May 2018 result Lab 2493/2396/2261 C 473/450/404 LD 242/187/172 Ind 89
May 2014 result Lab 2222/2014/1845 C 570/532/506 Grn 370 LD 171
February 2013 by-election Lab 1419 C 251 LD 209 UKIP 122 Ind 75 BNP 45
May 2010 result Lab 3052/2971/2813 C 1186/1152/1071 LD 843/727/723
May 2006 result Lab 1292/1278/1151 C 767/623/519 LD 442/404/382 Ind 184
May 2002 result Lab 1141/1084/1082 C 366/337/272 LD 289/279/242
May 2021 GLA results (excludes postal voters)
Mayor: Lab 1376 C 668 Grn 182 Omilana 73 LD 64 London Real 44 Reclaim 42 Let London Live 31 Count Binface 30 Rejoin EU 28 Animal Welfare 28 Women’s Equality 16 Renew 12 Heritage 11 Farah London 10 Fosh 9 Obunge 9 UKIP 8 SDP 6 Burning Pink 2
London Members: Lab 1504 C 506 Grn 347 LD 108 Rejoin EU 56 Animal Welfare 51 CPA 38 Women’s Equality 35 London Real 29 UKIP 22 Heritage 16 Let London Live 16 Reform UK 13 Comm 10 Londonpendence 7 SDP 7 TUSC 6 Nat Lib 4

Cuddington

Epsom and Ewell council, Surrey; caused by the death of Residents Association of Cuddington councillor Rob Foote.

Epsom and Ewell, Cuddington

We stay within the London area and the M25 but jump just over the Greater London boundary, although that’s rather difficult to notice here on the ground. Cuddington was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 with 28 households; but the village recorded by the Domesday surveyors was swept away after Henry VIII bought the manor in 1538. Henry had Cuddington demolished to make way for the Great Park surrounding Nonsuch Palace, and presumably he had some good hunting around here.

The Great Park subsequently took the name of Edward Somerset, the fourth Earl of Worcester, who was an important figure in the court of James I. James appointed Worcester as Keeper of the Great Park in 1606, and the Earl promptly built Worcester Park House as a residence for himself. (Worcester was a distant ancestor of Daniel Boone, the American frontiersman.) The house was home successively to two major figures of the English Civil War, Thomas Pride (who died here in 1658) and Sir Robert Long, and Samuel Pepys visited Long at Worcester Park House in 1665. Because of the Great Plague, the Exchequer had been evacuated to Nonsuch at that time.

Worcester Park House was destroyed by fire in 1948, by which time the park had been filled with houses as another London suburb. The railways had come here in 1859 and Worcester Park railway station (just outside the ward’s north-east corner) has regular trains to London Waterloo. The part of Worcester Park that lies in the Epsom and Ewell borough is a very affluent area, and it successfully fought off the threat of incorporation into Greater London in the 1960s.

Epsom and Ewell borough dates from the 1930s, when most of the houses in this ward were built. For the whole of its existence it has been controlled by Residents Association councillors, and Cuddington ward is part of the Residents’ majority. At the last borough elections in May 2019 the Residents Association of Cuddington slate polled 65% of the vote, with the Lib Dems finishing as runner-up on 13% just ahead of the Conservatives.

Epsom and Ewell, 2019

May 2019 was a very poor election for the Surrey Conservatives in general. For Epsom in particular there may have been a national factor depressing their vote: since 2001 the MP for Epsom and Ewell has been international laughing stock Chris Grayling, who was at the height of his infamy as transport secretary in early 2019. Grayling proved to be so incompetent in a series of Cabinet posts that he failed to make the Johnson governments. Two years later in the May 2021 Surrey county elections, the Conservatives did recover second place in the Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington county division although they were still thrashed 66-14 by the Residents.

Rob Foote had served as a district councillor for Cuddington since 2003. He was Mayor of Epsom and Ewell in 2014-15. He spent 30 years working in the airline industry as an engineer, and also worked as an MoT tester and ran a car servicing business. His wife Rosemary, who passed away from breast cancer at the end of last year, had worked for many years with ITN and was a behind-the-scenes veteran of several ITV general election nights.

On 31 July Rob Foote was at the Brands Hatch racecourse in Kent, working as a volunteer marshal at a motor racing event organised by the British Automobile Racing Club. A car spun off the track into Foote and another marshal, and Foote died of his injuries at the scene. He was 67 years old. Tributes to him were led by the Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who described volunteer marshals like Foote as “heroes” who make racing possible. Kent Police identified no suspicious circumstances and were working with BARC to provide a report for the coroner.

This by-election is to fill the seat left by Foote following his tragic death. Defending for the Residents Association of Cuddington is Graham Jones, a professional musician with a glittering former career in the Corps of Army Music: he retired from the Army in 2011 as senior director of music for the Household Division, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and a military MBE. Here he is in action at his farewell concert from the Army in November 2011, directing the Band of the Coldstream Guards.

Standing against Jones are Dan Brown for the Liberal Democrats (no, not that one; this Dan Brown works in the HR world), George Bushati for the Conservatives (who was runner-up here in the county elections in May), and Kevin Davies for Labour (who fought this ward in 2019).

Parliamentary constituency: Epsom and Ewell
Surrey county council division: Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington
ONS Travel to Work Area: London
Postcode districts: KT4, KT19

Dan Brown (LD)
George Bushati (C)
Kevin Davies (Lab)
Graham Jones (Res Assoc of Cuddington)

May 2019 result Res Assoc of Cuddington 977/969/962 LD 190 C 175/160/118 Lab 159/136/124
May 2015 result Res Assoc of Cuddington 1304/1228/1165 C 971/937/878 Lab 589/586/484 LD 314
May 2011 result Res Assoc of Cuddington 1257/1246/1204 C 347/329/282 Lab 219/208 LD 120/120
May 2007 result Res Assoc of Cuddington 830/804/786 C 537/493/448 Lab 94/83/76 LD 85/78/75
May 2003 result Res Assoc of Cuddington 881/837/801 Lab 181/119/113 LD 142

Exe Valley

East Devon council; caused by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Fabian King.

E Devon, Exe Vy

We finish in the West Country with this week’s rural ward. The Exe Valley ward of East Devon consists of seven parishes lying immediately to the north of Exeter. The largest of these, with 524 electors on the roll, is Stoke Canon, which lies between the River Exe to the west and the River Culm to the east; the Great Western railway line runs through Stoke Canon, and stray cinders from a steam locomotive were responsible for a devastating fire here in 1847. (In an interesting link with the previous section, Stoke Canon was the location where George Boone III, grandfather of the American frontiersman Daniel Boone, was baptised.) The Exe and the Culm are in wide valleys here and have changed their meanders over the years, but the parish boundaries haven’t been updated to match resulting in a number of places where the ward includes territory which is now cut off on the far side of the Exe.

E Devon, 2019

The Exe Valley ward is rather out on a limb in a corner of East Devon district, which is based in Honiton and whose main focus is the towns and countryside to the east of Exeter. East Devon council was run by the Conservatives until 2019, when they lost their majority and an independent-led coalition took over. That coalition includes the Liberal Democrats, which makes Exe Valley ward something of a bellwether: it was held by the Conservatives until 2015, then gained by the Lib Dems (on revised boundaries, with the parish of Poltimore added) in the 2019 election. That election was a straight fight here between the Conservatives and Lib Dems, who won 57-43. The ward is part of the Broadclyst division of Devon county council, which split its two seats in May between the Green Party and the Conservatives.

East Devon has been going through a rash of by-elections recently: this is the fourth poll in the district this year. All of the previous three polls resulted in a change of party: the Conservatives picked up Whimple and Rockbeare ward in May and Feniton in July from independent councillors, and the Lib Dems resoundingly lost a by-election in Honiton St Michael’s ward to Labour in July.

None of those by-elections had any independent candidates, and that pattern continues here in the Exe Valley by-election which follows the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Fabian King. He has stepped down to focus on his business interests.

Defending for the Liberal Democrats is Jamie Kemp, an environmentalist, beekeeper, tailor and stay-at-home dad who was the party’s candidate here in the Devon county elections four months ago. The Conservatives have reselected Kevin Wraight who lost here in 2019: by his own account he lives in Stoke Canon and is recently retired. There will be more choice for the electors here, as Michael Daniell completes the ballot paper for Labour.

Parliamentary constituency: Central Devon (part: Brampford Speke, Huxham, Nether Exe, Rewe, Stoke Canon and Upton Pyne parishes), East Devon (part: Politmore parish)
Devon county council division: Broadclyst
ONS Travel to Work Area: Exeter
Postcode districts: EX4, EX5

Michael Daniell (Lab)
Jamie Kemp (LD)
Kevin Wraight (C)

May 2019 result LD 378 C 289


A special mention is also due to the Isle of Man. Today is the day of the Manx general election, with all 24 members of the House of Keys – the lower house of Tynwald – up for election. Man has the population of a smallish English district council and an electoral system to match: the island is divided into twelve constituencies, which each return two MHKs using multi-member first-past-the-post. The Isle of Man was the first polity in the world to enfranchise women – female property-owners have been able to vote here since 1881 – but women’s representation on the island has been slower to take off, with the last Manx general election in September 2016 setting a new record of 5 female MHKs. In that election independent candidates won 21 of the 24 seats, with the other three going to the Liberal Vannin party and Manx Labour being wiped out. There will be a new head of government after the election, as the Chief Minister Howard Quayle is retiring. A continued independent majority looks the most likely outcome.

If you enjoyed this preview, there are many more like it – going back to 2016 – in the Andrew’s Previews books, which are available to buy now (link). You can also support future previews by donating to the Local Elections Archive Project (link).

Andrew Teale