Final council by-elections of the year from yesterday.
First, the one I was Labour Agent for - Springfield Ward in Hackney.
Conservative – 1244 – 58.9% (up by 414 from 2006, share of vote up by 16.2%)
Labour - 590 – 27.9% (up by 52 votes and 0.2%)
Lib Dem – 113 – 5.4% (down by 85 votes and 8.2%)
Green – 85 – 4.0% (down by 179 votes and 6.2%)
Christian Party – 40 – 1.9% (did not stand in 2006)
Communist – 37 – 1.8% (down by 76 votes and 4%)
Turnout was 33% (up 2% compared to 2006, but electorate has increased by 1300 as well)
For those readers unfamiliar with the idiosyncratic politics of Stamford Hill, this ward is very polarised between two southern polling districts which are mainly social housing and very ethnically mixed, Labour-voting and low-turnout, and two northern polling districts which are mainly owner-occupied with a large Chassidic Jewish population who (in this ward) vote Tory and do so on a very high turnout. Tory councillors at the count last night were describing the result as a referendum on the council's attempts to tighten up the rules on planning permission for residential extensions, a move which is unpopular with the Chassidic community.
Congratulations to Michael Levy the new Tory councillor and to Peter Golds and Matthew Coggins on their campaign. A silver lining to the cloud is that the Lib Dem vote collapsed despite their 5 separate leaflets each saying it was a two-horse race between them and the Tories - and an outrageous leaflet that was blue and stated on the outside that it was a message from the former Tory councillor!
A colleague has calculated that the Lib Dems delivered 19,500 leaflets during the campaign. An impressive 172 leaflets for every actual vote they got ...
Our Labour candidate Munaf Zina put in an excellent performance and worked extremely hard. I hope we will see Munaf as a Labour Councillor before too long – he has a great deal to bring to the council.
Other by-elections yesterday:
In my old stamping ground of Castle Point, there was a 17.5% swing from Tory to Labour in St Mary's Ward, Benfleet - the Tories clung on to one of the two seats being contested but my Agent from the 2005 General Election, Brian Wilson, gained a seat, putting a Labour voice back on a council where we lost our last seat in May.
Shepshed Town Council - 2 Labour gains from Conservative. I think this is in Loughborough parliamentary seat, which is a Labour held marginal.