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Council byelection results from yesterday

The Press Association reports

Canterbury City - Blean Forest:

C 342, Lab 185, Lib Dem 121, Green 64, Ukip 38, Ind 24. (May 2011 - Two seats C 626, 568, Green 400, 300, Lib Dem 184, 173).

C hold. Swing 4.2% C to Lib Dem.

Cornwall County - St Keverne and Meneage:

C 585, Lib Dem 279, Ukip 141, Lab 52. (June 2009 - Ind 673, C 657, Ind 356, Lib Dem 127, Ind 67, Lab 33).

C gain from Ind. Swing 0.5% Lib Dem to C.

Herefordshire County - St Nicholas:

It's Our County 608, Lib Dem 222, C 204, Lab 104. (May 2011 - Two seats It's Our County 821, 607, C 423, Lib Dem 320, 312, C 279, Lab 273).

It's Our County hold. Swing 1.8% C to Lib Dem.

Nottinghamshire County - Rufford:

Lab 1557, C 660, Notts Ind 346, Ukip 123. (June 2009 - Ind 1309, C 1259, Lab 1109).

Lab gain from Ind. Swing 18.7% C to Lab.

Scarborough Borough - Esk Valley:

C 606, Ind 151, Lab 87, Ukip 35, English Democrats 18. (May 2011 - Two seats C 1183, 928, Ind 417, Lab 379).

C hold. Swing 10.7% Lab to C.

According to the Press Association's complicated extrapolations these results imply a 7.3% Conservative lead nationally.  A pleasing contrast to the opinion polls although with the distortion of independent candidates not something of great significace. Just a bit of fun as Peter Snow used to say.

Much the most serious matter is the Rufford division byelection where Cllr John Peck's victory could hardly be more tarnished due to the poster ban for which there has been no apology.

Newark and Sherwood District Council's Chief Executive, and the Deputy Returning Officer, Andrew Muter says:

"The specific election offences set out in the Representation of the People Act 1983 do not appear to apply to these circumstances. Therefore it does not appear to be appropriate for the Returning Officer to report the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation.

"The Returning Officer remains committed to ensuring that the by-election is administered properly and within the law."

So what is the remedy against the extraordinary misconduct of Newark and Sherwood Homes in allowing the display of posters in support of the Labour candidate not banning those opposing him?

A complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (after going through the council/ALMO's complaint procedures) for maladministration? A judicial review over a breach of Wednesbury reasonableness?

Any true democrat would surely agree that if there isn't a legal remedy then there needs to be.

This must never be allowed to happen again.


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