Something in the air

There are eleven Conservative councillors who will be defending their seats in this year’s local elections in Southend-on-Sea. Two have already moved or stood down, and rumour has it that three more are also considering this option.

The following table shows these wards, sorted in order of vulnerability.

ward Tory maj last election defending cllr best placed to gain
Thorpe -1342 Alex Kaye Independent
Shoeburyness -488 Roger Hadley Independent
St Luke’s -374 Sally Carr Labour
Kursaal -118 Louise Burdett Labour
Belfairs -90 Mo Butler** Independent
Milton -68 Maria Caunce Labour
Southchurch 51 Brian Kelly Independent
West Leigh 55 Fay Evans** Liberal Democrat
West Shoebury 73 Tony Cox UKIP
Chalkwell 194 Richard Brown Independent
Eastwood Park 754 Andrew Moring UKIP

It is anyone’s guess at the moment as to how voters will actually behave, but this will not make attractive reading for the Tories – six of these have already have a deficit to overcome, and three more have small enough majorities to make blue success far from assured. Only Andrew Moring will be able to read this and truly relax.

This data is based on last elections for each ward (2012 for all but West Leigh), and the Tories will doubtless prefer to look at the 2010 results, which are considerably more encouraging. They will also hope that personal popularity (in some cases) exceeds that of their party.

I think the Tories will hold on in some unlikely areas, and they will also look at least two wards where gains are possible. The Liberal Democrats are defending in St Laurence, a ward won twice by the Tories since 2010. The Liberal Democrats are also defending a slim majority in Blenheim Park (59). However, yellow consolation will come from the fact that the shrinking Tory activist base will doubtless be marshalled to protect those seats they currently hold.

Nothing is certain in politics, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario where the Conservative Party in Southend-on-Sea manages to retain 26 councillors, and growth is unthinkable. I believe it is now a case of just how many they will lose, and the Tories being reduced to twenty in the chamber is not a wildly speculative wish.

If the Tories remain in touching distance of the magic 26 councillor mark (the point where a majority in the chamber is achieved) then they may be able to carry on in administration with the aid of a few friends amongst opposition ranks. They may find the three opposition groups are unable to agree to work together, or that one of them prefers an alliance with the Tories. It really is all up in the air at the moment.

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2 Responses to Something in the air

  1. Del says:

    although of course it is anyone’s guess to what will happen, i predict st lukes will go independent and not labour – living there I know a lot of people and how they are likely to vote.

    I would also be surprised if tony cox, brian kelly, faye, richard and andrew didnt hold on. The rest i think will lose. Martin standing in Thorpe now makes that an interesting ward to watch too.

  2. Richard Brown and Brian Kelly are standing down. Faye Evans is moving to West Leigh ward.

    As for St Luke’s – the Indie candidate is almost invisible. Even her comrades in the council chamber struggled to recall her name.

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