When sitting MPs and councillors change from one party to another, the party they have left routinely denounces their departing member and calls on them to resign and fight a byelection under their new colours. One of the few to follow this course was Jackie Brockway who was elected as a Liberal Democrat in Saxilby ward to West Lindsey district council in 2007, but has recently joined the Conservatives. On Thursday 20 August her electorate approved her move, re-electing her with a majority over 300 â€“ greater than the majority she originally achieved as a Liberal Democrat.
Two other byelections on Thursday saw the Liberal Democrats pick up seats previously held by Independents. Sue Henchley won the seat of Mitcheldean and Drybrook on Forest of Dean district council, while Kevin Moore was elected in Hucknall Central ward of Ashfield district council. The final byelection of the day saw Conservative Jean Kenrick hold the party’s seat in Stanley ward of Blackpool borough council, although by the fairly narrow margin of 46 votes over a resurgent Labour Party.
Following last week’s byelections, Phil McDonald (Woodlands ward) has left the Labour group on Scarborough borough council to join the Independent group. There is now speculation that the minority Conservative administration on the council may be deposed and replaced by an all party “rainbow” cabinet. On Tendring district council, an emergency meeting at which the opposition ‘Tendring First’ group will attempt to depose the Conservative administration has been scheduled for 17 September. The Conservatives have complained that the meeting is being timed to take place before the byelection in the Conservative-held Burrsville ward, so taking advantage of the July death of Charlie Sambridge.