Post by syorkssocialist on Apr 17, 2020 20:34:10 GMT
The last time local elections were held in Doncaster was 2017 when Labour suffered massive losses nationally, losing 382 councillors and control of 7 councils. Most of the English authorities up that year were county councils, with this being the only metropolitan borough. Here, Labour managed to buck the trend and miraculously gained two seats without losing any ground. This was largely thanks to the work of Mayor Ros Jones who has become very well respected among Doncaster residents after being elected in 2013, she is a star especially in comparison to the two former holders of the role. The Conservatives lost one seat in Tickhill & Wadworth ward to an independent (who very recently defected to them) and 'Mexborough First' held all three seats in Mexborough ward. UKIP lost both of their Doncaster council seats.
There has been one other change in party allegiance on the council so far this term other than the aforementioned Ind > Con: former Labour Cllr Tina Reid (Edlington & Warmsworth) defecting to the Mexborough First group in a defection that makes no sense.
There have also been by-elections in Armthorpe and Town wards, both of which were Labour holds with increased vote shares.
These elections marked my first time campaigning in an election at age 17 and the feeling on the ground was that we were about to go backwards due to the Corbyn effect and May's honeymoon period, and we were all ecstatic when that didn't come to pass. However, not everything was great and rosy.
For starters, the ward of Stainforth & Barnby Dun came just eighteen votes away from electing a Conservative councillor, who had really only been put up as a paper candidate - she did no real campaigning beyond sending a postal leaflet to voters, whereas we had been pounding doors throughout the ward. Stainforth had an active colliery until two years prior to this election, and had always been a very strong area for Labour. Our canvassing returns suggested that was still the case, but the far more affluent village of Barnby Dun proved troublesome - we encountered lots of Tory voters there and very few people who wanted anything to do with us. Had there not been a vote split between the Conservative and UKIP candidates, I don't think we could have won the second seat. I'm not sure how indicative this is of a greater problem for Labour in the area as our other candidate was elected with a decent majority of 294 and there are various factors that may have affected our second candidate's vote share, such as having an address outside of the ward. Still, this is one to watch and is sure to be an interesting contest.
Another ward to look out for is Mexborough. For years there has been no active Branch Labour Party in the ward, but that has recently changed and I know we have some passionate activists there who will want to unseat the Mexborough First councillors. Bessacarr also tends to be a close fight, and is one of the few wards with split representation (1x Con, 2x Lab) - Cllr Nick Allen has a strong personal vote and always performs better than his fellow Tory candidates, but Labour will be targeting his seat.
One of the few Doncaster wards where UKIP ever managed to win a council seat was Hatfield, which even in 2017 was rather close (UKIP was 44 votes away from winning the third seat here). The area is very mixed when it comes to social class, and the more rural parts of the ward are already naturally inclined towards the Tories - indeed, they have a Conservative on the town council. The less well off parts have largely continued to vote Labour in recent years, but it remains to be seen whether the UKIP voters can help the Tories win a seat or two. Rossington & Bawtry is another close one which is currently represented by 2x Lab and 1x Ind but it was 1x Lab, 1x Ind, 1x UKIP in 2015. Sprotbrough may also be worth keeping an eye on, it is considered a safe Tory ward but Labour proved somewhat competitive there last time.
The results of the 2019 general election make me unsure what to expect from this next set of local elections; I do think the Labour Party will be in a far better state nationally by then, Johnson's post-election honeymoon period should be over and the current council administration here isn't unpopular by any means. All of this should bode well for my party in theory, but if we're still feeling the after-effects of Corbyn and anger/confusion over Brexit policy in a heavily leave voting area, it could go badly for us. I also have no idea what effect (if any) the ongoing COVID-19 crisis may have on people's political attitudes. I'm rather anxious but excited to see what happens.
Labour did very well to increase their majority here last time in what was a very bad night for them nationally. As things stand at the moment I expect they will retain their majority but loose a few seats to the Tories in the outer wards of the borough. Map of the result of the last election below.
Post by syorkssocialist on Aug 30, 2020 13:41:25 GMT
Current makeup of Doncaster MBC as of 30/08/20 (changes w/ 2017 all-out elections):
Labour 41 (-2) Conservative 8 (+1) Mexborough First 4 (+1) Yorkshire Party 1 (+1) Independent 1 (-1)
The changes: Cllr Nigel Cannings (Tickhill and Wadworth) was elected as an Independent but defected to the Conservatives shortly after Boris Johnson became leader/PM. Cllr Tina Reid (Edlington and Warmsworth) defected from Labour to Mexborough First in October 2019 - an odd choice given its not the ward she represents, but to each their own. Cllr George Derx (Stainforth and Barnby Dun) defected from Labour to the Yorkshire Party in August 2020 after being an Independent for a very brief period.