Flintshire county council
Caused by the disqualification of independent councillor Patrick Heesom, for reasons which will be outlined below.
|Duke of Lancaster|
Long-running legal cases involving the local council seems to be a theme when you examine the circumstances of Patrick Heesom's disqualification. The original complaint was made in 2009, and the Adjudication Panel for Wales - the relevant tribunal - found that Heesom had bullied, harassed and intimidated three council officers. The disqualification was made in July 2013 for a period of two-and-a-half years, but the by-election couldn't be held before now because Heesom appealed to the High Court to try to get the decision overturned. The High Court upheld the Panel's decision but did reduce his suspension to eighteen months. The extended legal process means that this seat has now been vacant for more than a year.
Heesom had represented Mostyn since 1996, was a former leader of Flintshire council's independent group, and was last re-elected in 2012 - after the bullying and harassment claims became public knowledge - by a 2-to-1 margin over Labour. All previous contests in the division this century have been straight fights between Heesom and Labour, so there is little information that can be gleaned from previous election results.
With Heesom now definitely out of the picture we can finally get the by-election underway. David Roney is the new independent candidate; he is a Mostyn community councillor and spokesman for the anti-incinerator campaign group. The Labour candidate is Pam Banks, from Ffynnongroyw just up the coast. Also standing are Richard Pendlebury, a software engineer from Flint, for the Conservatives, and building manager Liz Soutter who is the UKIP candidate.
Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Delyn
Assembly electoral region: North Wales
ONS Travel to Work Area: Chester and Flint
Pam Banks (Lab)
Richard Pendlebury (C)
David Roney (Ind)
Liz Soutter (UKIP)
May 2012 result Ind 385 Lab 188
May 2008 result Ind 487 Lab 157
June 2004 result Ind 443 Lab 370
Merthyr Tydfil county borough council
Caused by the death of UKIP councillor Neil 'Jock' Greer at the age of 66. Greer had been a Merthyr councillor since 2008, originally being elected as an independent before joining UKIP in 2009.
|Remains of Penydarren Tramway|
Nonetheless it is possible to see this middle-class heritage in Penydarren's election results. Labour have a lock on parliamentary elections in Merthyr, but this dominance doesn't necessarily translate to the local level in which there is a large amount of support for independent candidates; at Labour's low point in 2008 they held just eight of the 33 seats on Merthyr council and topped the poll in only one of the town's eleven divisions. In 2004 Penydarren returned two independents and one councillor from the now-defunct group People Before Politics, one of whose unsuccessful candidates was Neil Greer. Greer won election in 2008 as an independent candidate, as stated, with all three seats in that election going to independents. At the most recent election in 2012 one of the independent councillors (Christopher Davies) stood down, Allan 'Salty' Jones stood for re-election and topped the poll, and Greer was re-elected under his new UKIP colours; Labour gained the division's third seat.
There is no new UKIP candidate to defend Greer's seat, which is therefore up for grabs. There are two independent candidates on the ballot paper: Clive Barsi was elected as the People Before Politics councillor here in 2004, lost his seat in 2008 and tried unsuccessfully to get it back in 2012, while Kerry Baker Thomas is involved with a local autism support group. Labour have selected John McCarthy who fought the division in 2012. The Lib Dems and Tories have also found candidates; they are Robert Griffin and Kimberley Murphy respectively.
Parliamentary and Assembly constituency: Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Assembly electoral region: South Wales East
ONS Travel to Work Area: Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare
Kerry Baker Thomas (Ind)
Clive Barsi (Ind)
Robert Griffin (LD)
John McCarthy (Lab)
Kimberley Murphy (C)
May 2012 result Ind 656/438/315/230 UKIP 588 Lab 569/435/337
May 2008 result Ind 942/715/606/551 Lab 360/345/253
June 2004 result Ind 874/599 People Before Politics 601/517/461 Lab 472/374/353