December 2, 2013 3 Comments
The current composition of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is:
9 Liberal Democrat
9 Independent Group
1 Dr Velmurugan
A quick bit of adding up reveals that the opposition is tied with the Tories as they also number 25. The twenty-sixth Tory member was Gwen Horrigan – her departure leaves a finely balanced chamber. The West Leigh by-election will decide who runs the town up to May’s elections.
West Leigh is usually a shoe-in for the Tories, however poor Tory polling may make them a little anxious. The evening of January 23rd could prove an interesting occasion.
Below is a sample of recent opinion polls. These show national polling and can only give an idea of what may happen in West Leigh. Of course Labour is unlikely to poll 35% in West Leigh (although anything is possible), so it is only a general guide. For comparison, the 2010 General Election resulted in the Conservatives getting 36.1%, Labour 29.0%, the Liberal Democrats 23.0% and UKIP 3.1%.
In the three most recent elections in West Leigh the Conservative candidates have polled between 46.6% and 50.0%, with the Liberal Democrats best performance as 37.8%. A ten per cent swing from the Tories to UKIP could see the Tories defeated – and with the likely low turnout this is not a far-fetched scenario.
I bet Tory activists are really looking forward to cold weather campaigning! Whoever wins will be in place till 2015 as that was when Mrs Horrigan was due to defend her seat.