Sunday, May 09, 2021

2021 County Council elections - so, what happened in Mid Suffolk? (part 1)

I usually review the election results here in Mid Suffolk and this year is no exception. And it's been an interesting set of results too, with Mid Suffolk seeing four of its ten County seats changing hands. Here's what I said in my preview, just so that you can judge it for quality of prediction...

We start with Bosmere, a Liberal Democrat target. The result was;

  • Kay Oakes (Conservative) - 1,357 votes (49.4%)
  • Steve Phillips (Liberal Democrat) - 1,034 votes (37.7%)
  • Suzanne Britton (Labour) - 355 votes (12.9%)
My fear that Liberal Democrat weakness in the hinterland would negate their strength in Needham Market came to pass, although I still believe that this is extremely winnable if sufficient work is put in over the next four years, especially as its hard to believe that the Conservatives will be riding as high in the polls in 2025.

Gipping Valley was, unfortunately, the first of the seats to change hands, with Chris Chambers successfully transplanted from his former seat in St Margaret's and Westgate.
  • Chris Chambers (Conservative) - 1,478 votes (54.3%)
  • Adrienne Marriott (Liberal Democrat) - 806 votes (29.6%)
  • Terence Wilson (Labour) - 438 votes (16.1%)
It's a story of increasing decline across the Division, combined with the retirement of a stalwart and very highly regarded Liberal Democrat councillor. It's not so long that we held three of the four District seats that make up this Division. Now we hold one, whereas the Conservatives hold three. It's a long road back to regain this one.

I did say that Hartismere would be a shoe-in for Jessica Fleming, and whilst my only dealing with her was wildly unimpressive - her seemingly total lack of understanding of how contracts worked did not exactly endear her to me - she obviously makes a better impression up there...
  • Jessica Fleming (Conservative) - 1,900 votes (57.5%)
  • Stuart Masters (Green) - 649 votes (19.6%)
  • Eddie Dougall (Labour) - 532 votes (16.1%)
  • David Appleton (Liberal Democrat) - 224 votes (6.8%)
Is this the next Green target - they hold Gislingham on Mid Suffolk, and had a good result in Palgrave, so with some effort in Rickinghall, who knows?

The Conservatives were publicly quite dismissive about Guy McGregor's prospects in Hoxne and Eye, and someone told me that he had much higher levels of support amongst voters who hadn't met him, but he did surprisingly well against his replacement as Conservative candidate, Peter Gould.
  • Peter Gould (Conservative) - 1,467 votes (45.0%)
  • Guy McGregor (Independent) - 806 votes (24.7%)
  • Tim Glenton (Liberal Democrat) - 623 votes (19.1%)
  • Paul Anderson (Labour) - 363 votes (11.1%)
It was a good run for Tim, but to have a chance in the County seat, there'll need to be more support in Hoxne and Worlingworth (held by the Conservative Leader on the County Council at District level) and Stradbroke and Laxfield, where our previous candidate, of whom I had some hopes, defected to the Greens. On the other hand, it sets him up well for a serious push in Eye in 2023, which he lost by just 49 votes two years ago.

And finally, for today at least, Stowmarket North and Stowupland. I did suggest that higher turnout figures in Stowupland and Creeting St Peter might help Keith Welham, and it looks like I was right. Turnout was up by five percentage points, and that helped push him over the top.
  • Keith Welham (Green) - 1,512 votes (45.6%)
  • Gary Green (Conservative) - 1,373 votes (41.4%)
  • Will Howman (Labour) - 433 votes (13.0%)
In truth, had Keith started campaigning in earnest a bit earlier, I suspect that this wouldn't have been that close - the Conservative campaign was mediocre, and the incumbent absentee for the most part - not one leaflet reached us in four years, he didn't regularly attend the Parish Council meetings and his reports were embarrassing - written for him by the Conservative political assistant and with no Parish-relevant content whatsoever. The fact that participators on Nextdoor outed him as having moved away from the Division probably didn't help.

So, that's five seats reviewed, with one Conservative gain from the Liberal Democrats and one Green gain from the Conservatives. Tomorrow, I'll tell a slightly more cheering story...

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