Gainsborough East By Election Called

A by election will be held next month to elect a district councillor to represent the Gainsborough East Ward of West Lindsey District Council.

The election follows the death of Councillor Melvyn Starkey (Liberal Democrat), who passed away in late October 2012.

Nominations will be recieved from Thursday, 10th January until 12:00noon on Friday, 18th January.

It is widely expected that the election will be contested by the three main parties; Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. UKIP are also likely to field a candidate. Should the election be contested the residents will be able to vote on Thursday, 14th February 2013.

Above: 2011 Gainsborough East Result

In the last elections for the Gainsborough East Ward, where three councillors were being elected, the Conservatives secured 27.9% of the vote, the Liberal Democrats secured 56.6% of the vote and Labour secured 15.6%. Two Liberal Democrats were elected and one Labour candidate. This is becasue whilst the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats offered electors a full slate of three candidates, Labour only managed to field one candidate. This suggests that the Liberal Democrats have a commanding grip on the ward. This is not the case.

Above: Notional Result for 2011

If the results figure is moderated, to eliminate the disparity of differing numbers of candidates being fielded by the parties in 2011, then the gap between the Liberal Democrats and Labour becomes a tantalising prospect for a real contest. It would put the Liberal Democrats on 43.1% and Labour on 35.6%. The Conservatives would be on 21.2%. This would mean that Labour would only need a swing of around 3.7% to take the seat off the Liberal Democrats.

So if all things were even Labour should be biting at the heels of the Liberal Democrat. However, the Liberal Democrats have slumped in local government polls since 2010. Looking at the National Projected Share of the Vote the Liberal Democrats have gone from 23% in 2010, 16% in 2011 to just 9% in 2012.  Meanwhile Labour have soared from 29% in 2010 to 40% in 2012. The Conservatives have been bobbing around 36% – 38% mark.

Predicting a by election result is not easy; but no one should be putting money on an easy win for the Liberal Democrats. And no one should discount the Conservatives, who have won every local by-election since June 2006.