Tuesday, 9 April 2013

By-Election Preview: 11 April 2013

More by-election fun this week with three by-elections including a rare Wednesday poll.  Over on the English Elections blog, the Liberal Democrats will hope to get their by-election machine airborne in Luton on Wednesday, while Thursday sees Labour defending a safe ward in Darlington together with a much more unpredictable contest in a previously Independent ward in Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire County Council; caused by the resignation of Independent councillor David Wildman, the cabinet member for adult services and care, who is moving to Wiltshire.

Church at Burton
  © Copyright Colin Bell and licensed for
reuse under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
Not to be confused with the famous brewing town in England, the Burton ward of Pembrokeshire covers the rural area to the east and north of Neyland on the north bank of the Cleddau estuary: Benton itself, Rosemarket and associated hamlets.  The eastern end of the ward is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park around the thirteenth-century Benton Castle.  There was once a ferry service connecting the ward with the town of Pembroke Dock on the opposite side of the estuary, but this was replaced in the 1970s by the sleek Cleddau Bridge (although not before the bridge collapsed during construction).

Pembrokeshire is a funny place electorally, dominated by Independents who are often, in practice, anything but, and with lots of wards left uncontested.  Wildman had been a county councillor since 1999 (originally as a Conservative) but last faced a contested election in 2004, when he beat a Liberal Democrat candidate by more than 5 to 1.

Two Independent candidates will battle to replace Wildman.  Jon Harvey, from Pembroke, is campaigning against the current Independent-led administration of the council, while Rob Summons, from Rosemarket, has been endorsed by Wildman.  Also standing are Robin Howells, from the village of Hill Mountain near Burton, for Labour, while Robin Wilson, from just outside the ward in Llangwm, is the Conservative candidate.

Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Preseli Pembrokeshire
Assembly electoral region: Mid and West Wales
ONS Travel to Work Area: Haverfordwest and Fishguard

May 2012 result Ind unopposed
May 2008 result Ind unopposed
June 2004 result Ind 620 LD 117

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