Current council: Con 23, Lab 18, LD 2, Ind 1. Since the last elections in 2018 there have been four byelections. Knutton - Nov 2021 - Con gain from Lab by 2%. Had been 50% Labour lead over Con in 2018. Holditch & Chesterton - Dec 2019. Lab hold by 6% down from ~35% in 2018. Maer & Whitmore - May 2019. Con hold by 72% over LD (no Lab) down from 79% over Lab (no LD) in 2018. Holditch & Chesterton - March 2019. Ind gain from Lab by 2%, from 35% Lab lead over Ind in 2018.
There have also been some further party changes. In Audley both the elected Independent and the elected Lib Dem have defected to the Conservatives. In Holditch & Chesterton the Ind elected in the March 2019 byelection has defected to the Conservatives. In Madeley & BEtley both of the elected Independents have defected to the Conservatives. In May Bank one of the elected Conservatives has become an Independent.
Given the all-ups and length of time since these were last elected, I'm not sure how useful ward by ward comparisons are. I would also note that in the 2021 county elections the Conservatives swept all nine of the divisions here. It wouldn't surprise me if we end up a long way from here. Nevertheless:
Split wards: Audley - 2 Con (elected as 1 LD, 1 Ind), 1 Lab. Last time the Ind topped the poll and the LD heavily outran his compatriots (2 L and 3 C finished between them). The ex-LD has also become a Con county councillor in 2021. Bradwell - 2 Lab, 1 Con. Close split, L 974*, 882*, 810, C 879*, 854, 810. Holditch & Chesterton - 1 Lab, 1 Con (elected as Ind). Ind gain in one byelection, Lab hold in another. Kidsgrove & Ravenscliffe - 2 Con, 1 Lab. C 817*, 700*, 688, L 717*, 694, 675. Wolstanton - 1 Con, 1 Lab. C 644*, 622, L 639*, 574.
Other wards of interest: Clayton - Lab 5.1% behind Con in 2018. Crackley & Red Street - Con close behind Lab. L 566*, 491*, C 476, 448. Newchapel & Mow Cop - C 573*, 521*, L 430, 423. Silverdale - L 569*, 549*, C 504, 351.
Something has clearly gone wrong for Labour/right for the Conservatives at the local level here as even the 2019 general election only saw a 17% Conservative majority (on a 17% net shift to the Conservatives) in the constituency covering most of this council area, yet there have been enormous swings to the Conservatives at the 2021 county council elections and the by-elections.
Just ran the numbers and the Conservatives led by 26% across Newcastle Under Lyme at the 2021 county council elections, compared to 17% in the Newcastle Under Lyme constituency in 2019 (the minority of the council in other constituencies look a little bit more Conservative so say 20% Conservative lead across the entire council area). So it does seem that the Conservatives have been doing better locally/Labour worse which would help explain some of the dramatic (even for modern British politics) swings here recently. Whether it carries over to this years elections who knows.
NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME (Staffordshire) (Con) From 2018 the Council, under no overall control, was run by the Conservatives, with a Conservative leader, deputy leader and cabinet. On 2 November 2021, following defections from the Independent Groups, the Conservatives took overall control.
3 May 2018 - Lab 20, Con 18, Lib Dem 3, Independent 3 Now - Con 23, Lab 18, Lib Dem 2, Independent 1
Before the AGM on 16 May 2018, the 3 Independents formed the Borough Independent Group.
At the AGM, the Council elected a Conservative mayor (proposed and seconded by Conservatives) without a contest. The Council elected a Labour mayor (proposed and seconded by Labour) without a contest.
The council elected a Conservative Leader of the Council by 21 votes (Con and Borough Independent Group) to 20 (Lab) with 3 abstentions (Lib Dem). The Leader went on to appoint a further 5 Conservative members to the Cabinet, including the Deputy Leader.
21 March 2019 – Holditch and Chesterton – Independent gain from Lab Ken Owen (Independent) elected Caused by the resignation of Chris Spence (Lab)
2 May 2019 – Maer and Whitmore – Con hold Graham Hutton (Con) elected Caused by the resignation of David Harrison (Con)
12 December 2019 – Holditch and Chesterton – Lab hold David Grocott (Lab) elected Caused by the resignation of Emily Horsfall (Lab)
On 20 September 2019, Boothroyds Blog reported that Ian Wilkes (Lib Dem) (Audley) had joined the Borough Independent Group. This appears, however, to have been a false alarm, because …
On 4 February 2020, Boothroyds Blog reported that Ian Wilkes (Audley), described as a senior Liberal Democrat had joined the Conservatives, switching parties on the day that the UK left the European Union. A supporter of Brexit, his views had diverged from the Liberal Democrats since the referendum in 2016. He was unable to remain a member of a political party that is so completely opposed to the vote of local residents to leave the EU.
On 25 September 2020, Boothroyds Blog reported that the Borough Independent Group had split into two groups – Gary White and Simon White (both Madeley and Betley), who are married, have formed a new Borough Independent Group – whilst Bert Proctor (Audley) and Kenneth Owen (Holditch and Chesterton) had formed the Newcastle Independent Group.
On 2 November 2021, it was reported that the 4 remaining Independent councillors - Gary White and Simon White (both Madeley and Betley), Bert Proctor (Audley) and Ken Owen (Holditch and Chesterton) – had all joined the ruling the Conservative Group. This meant that the Conservatives took overall control for the first time in decades with Con 23, Lab 18, Lib Dem 2, Vacant 1.
While the Independents had previously backed the Conservatives on key votes, including at the annual budget-setting meetings, there was no formal coalition. Gary White, Simon White and Bert Proctor were also crucial in re-electing Conservative group leader, Simon Tagg, as leader of the council in 2018. Mr Tagg won by a single vote. Since then the Tories had been running the authority as a minority administration with the support of the Independents.
Ken Owen (Holditch and Chesterton) said “It was the right decision for me personally and the borough as whole. The Conservatives are showing strong leadership and direction on big issues, such as the regeneration of our town.”
Gary White (Madeley and Betley) said, “We are really pleased to be joining the Conservative group at a time when they have demonstrated some real successes in winning the confidence of central government and being awarded significant funding to drive our towns forward”.
25 November 2021 – Knutton – Con gain from Lab Derrick Huckfield (Con) elected Caused by the resignation of Brian Johnson (Lab)
On 28 January 2022, Boothroyds Blog reported that John Cooper (Con) (May Bank) had left the party to sit as an Independent councillor.
32 of the 44 councillors are seeking re-election, with the remaining 12 standing down.
19 Conservatives are standing again (including 4 who defected into the Conservative Group during the last council - Gary White, Simon White, Ken Owen and Ian Wilkes).
13 Labour are standing again, but 3 have changed wards - Sarah Pickup has moved from Crackley and Red Street to Kidsgrove and Ravenscliffe - challenging sitting Conservative, Gill Burnett Elizabeth Shenton has moved from Town to Clayton - challenging sitting Conservative, Stephen Sweeney Dave Jones has moved from Silverdale to Keele
The 12 councillors standing down include both remaining Lib Dems and the 1 remaining Independent.
The full list of retiring councillors is
Bert Proctor (Con, elected as Independent) (Audley) *Jennifer Cooper (Con) (Bradwell) *Helena Maxfield (Con) (Kidsgrove and Ravenscliffe) Graham Hutton (Con) (Maer and Whitmore)
*Allison Gardner (Lab) (Crackley and Red Street) Tony Kearon (Lab) (Keele) *Amelia Rout (Lab) (Silverdale) Kyle Robinson (Lab) (Talke and Butt Lane) Mark Olszewski (Lab) (Wolstanton)
From the article - Several wards required recounts. One was so tight it was decided, in the Tories favour, by the drawing of lots after a dead heat – only the third time that’s happened in UK electoral history.
I am pretty sure that is completely and utterly wrong. But how often has it happened?
Congratulations on one of the stand-out results for the blue team on the night.
One question which I'd understand you not wanting to answer in public: I heard it suggested that results in your patch and Amber Valley may have been better as the MPs had spoken out vocally about their concerns with the national leadership. Do you think there's anything in that, from the reception you got on the doorstep?