Birmingham city council‘s Sparkbrook ward was held by the Respect candidate Shokat Ali in the byelection held on 17 September. However his victory is clouded by the knowledge that the police have started an investigation over postal voting. 30% of the postal votes cast in the byelection were rejected, and nearly half were held back for checking by the Returning Officer.
All other byelections on Thursday were retained by the party which previously held the seat. The Liberal Democrats increased their majority at Water Park ward on Cotswold district council where Esmond Jenkins took the seat. Labour held Ripley and Marehay ward on Amber Valley borough council with Lyndsay Cox succeeding Geoff Carlile in a ward which had gone Conservative in 2008; Labour also held South Bank ward on Redcar and Cleveland council so that Sue Jeffrey will join her husband Ian on the council.
The Conservatives retained both seats left vacant in Newark after the death of county and district councillor Peter Prebble. Stuart Wallace was elected to Nottinghamshire county council for Newark East division, while Simon Dawson will represent Beacon ward on Newark and Sherwood district council. Conservative Steven Adams also won the Amersham division on Buckinghamshire county council.
The attempt by the combined opposition group on Tendring district council to vote out the Conservative administration (taking advantage of the death of Charlie Sambridge and the vacancy in Burrsville ward), has failed. At the emergency meeting summoned by the opposition on Thursday, the Chairman of the Council ruled that the motions to dismiss the leadership on the agenda could not be discussed by such a meeting.
We should also note two byelections from 4 June which were missed at the time. Noel Gilson, Conservative councillor for Stanton and Flamville ward on Blaby district council, died; he was succeeded by Sheila Scott (Conservative) who was elected unopposed. Vicky Ford, who was elected as a Conservative MEP, resigned her seat in Balsham ward of South Cambridgeshire district council and Julia Squier (Conservative) was elected to replace her.
There are three defections to report. Dave Radford, elected to Redbridge borough council for the Labour Party in Goodmayes ward, has joined the Conservatives in protest at the deselection of his friend Satnam Singh (who himself defected to the Liberal Democrats last week). Radford has already decided to step down at the 2010 elections.
Derek Cotterill (Shirland ward) of North East Derbyshire district council, who was also elected as a Labour Party member, has resigned the whip and will sit as an Independent. The move reduces Labour’s overall majority on the council to one seat. Meanwhile David Duxbury, elected to South Ribble borough council for the Conservatives in Seven Stars ward, has left the party and joined the UK Independence Party.