Council by-election results
Last night's council by-election results:
Barton Ward, N Lincs UA. Con hold. Con 1576 (64.4%, +15.8), Lab 653 (26.7%, +6.3), LD 220 (9%, -5.8). Swing of 4.8% from Lab to Con since 2007.
Cottesmoore Ward, Rutland CC. Con hold. Con 389 (68.1%, +0.6), LD 182 (31.9%, +31.9). Swing of 15.7% from Con to LD since 2007.
Irwell Riverside Ward, Salford MBC. Lab hold. Lab 606 (37.6%, -13.3), LD 293 (18.2%, -1.1), BNP 276 (17.1%, +3.7), Con 189 (11.7%, -4.7), Green 125 (7.8%, +7.8), UKIP 123 (7.6%, +7.6). Swing of 6.1% from Lab to LD since 2008.
Labour’s election victory in a by-election for the Irwell Riverside ward of Salford City Council has a deeper significance than most. After ten days of hard pounding over expenses, you might think that Labour’s vote would collapse, or that the BNP or Tories might capitalise. Labour’s Matt Mold won 606 votes to the Lib Dem’s 293. The BNP came third with 276. The Tories limped in fourth, just ahead of the Greens and UKIP. So there was no surge in the BNP, or in other fringe parties. The Tories failed to make any headway whatsoever, their consistent position in the northern cities.
Labour won because Labour voters came out and voted Labour. Hazel Blears was at the heart of the campaign, leading the many young activists she has nurtured and encouraged in her local party. Matt Mold, the candidate, is 27 years old. Hazel showed characteristic courage and campaigning zeal, despite discouraging national newspaper headlines. And she proved that her local party is right behind her. As I’ve always said, local Labour campaigning works, and what local people do in real elections often stands in defiance to the predictions of London-based pundits and commentators.