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Clifton Ward By-Election: Runners & Riders

Clifton Ward By-election Runners and RidersClifton is the archetypal Lytham St Annes ward, full of  archetypal Lytham St Annes voters. It's a three member ward. The two sitting councillors are Richard Fulford-Brown (Conservative) and Ken Hopwood (Independent)

Small and large "c" conservative, traditional, reserved and upmarket, it is full of retired professionals and wealthy individuals. It has the oldest age profile of any ward in Fylde (which itself has a higher age profile than any other borough in Lancashire).

It's also quite compact which makes it easy to canvas, but they're a very particular lot and, overall, are well set in their ways, so it will be hard work for non-conservatives to break through. Nonetheless, several intrepid contestants have lined up as the runners and riders for the Clifton Ward By-election and have now been declared. They're mostly unknown to us, but they are an interesting mix:

Leonard DAVIES: (Conservative)
Supported Tim Ashton in a previous campaign. Nationally the Conservatives are doing well, but as the recent County Council elections showed, that's not the case in Fylde.

Bill Thompson whose shoes Leonard Davies seeks to fill was a giant of a councillor, but that said, we suspect Mr Davies will just get home. (Central Lytham is a very conservative place by nature). He's probably the favourite, but we suspect he will have a reduced majority given the unpopularity of the present administration locally.

Frank MURPHY: (Ratepayer Association)
Unknown to us, but he had a background in the fire service, and is local to the ward.

Janet SHERWOOD: (Labour)
Stood for Labour at the County Council election where she came fourth out of four, but this time she hasn't got the St John's Ward votes to bolster her support. As with the others so far, she is quite local, but we don't give her much of a chance of winning Clifton ward.

Hilda SPEAKMAN: (Green Party)
Long time since we had a green councillor (Name of Roger Lloyd and also from Lytham - back in the last millennium). The Greens are enjoying a bit of a resurgence at present and she might do better than expected.

She's likely to pull votes from the Liberal Democrats which means the Conservatives will appear to do better than you might otherwise expect.

She supported the nomination of the Labour Party Candidate for St Annes North in the County Council elections, so is likely to be left of centre and not so well received in Clifton ward. Another negative is that she lives in St Annes, not in the ward, and that will count against her. In fact she's only a stone's throw from the Commissar's house (not that she would, of course)

Mike TURNER (Liberal Democrats)
Co-opted as a member of the North West Liberal Democrats Executive last spring, he serves on their Campaign & Policy Committees and is an astute political animal with an interest in finance. The Lib Dems in Fylde are well organised and streetwise, able to mount effective campaigns and get their supporters out. He will no doubt give the Conservatives a run for their money, but we think second place awaits, due in part to the presence of a green candidate.

It is possible that one or more of these could withdraw before 4th November, but we think that's unlikely, so they will probably all go forward to polling day on 26th November which is just two days after the public inquiry opens about the Queensway development. A lot of Lytham folk are worried about the increased potential for flooding as a result of that development and we wonder if it could be an issue here. The count is scheduled for 10pm on the same day, so by 27 November we should know who has won.

Dated:  31 October 2009


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