Eastleigh’s new political party have been celebrating the result of Barnsley by election.
‘The independent Party of Eastleigh Councillors’ have been encouraged by the success of the Barnsley Independent candidate, plain speaking, unemployed Tony Devoy.
Although Labour managed to hold onto their seat, Mr. Devoy beat the Liberal Democrats pushing them into sixth place.
See Tony Devoy attack council executive pay here
The Liberal Democrats had previously been runners up in Barnsley at the General Election but it seems that Barnsley’s voters now prefer an independent candidate.
Support for the Lib Dems fell from 17% to just 4%.
The local elections are looming in May and if the Barnsley swing is repeated the party will suffer the loss of hundreds of council seats and Eastleigh’s three independent councillors – all former Lib Dems now also disillusioned with the party – could well retain their seats.
Leader of the Eastleigh Independents, veteran local politician Glynn Davies-Dear said:
“Any incident of Independent beating Lib Dem or any other national party has to be significant. I take very real encouragement from the result.”
The Eastleigh Central councillor also quoted Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
“I believe that tide is flowing for the Independents right now. We intend to ride that wave!”
Councillor Davies-Dear along with colleagues Andy Moore and Dave Broughton have already started campaigning by delivering a newsletter (see here) across Eastleigh attacking their former Lib Dem colleagues for broken election pledges on tuition fees and parking permits.
Speaking last week a rejuvenated Andy Moore, who will be contesting in Central ward told Eastleigh News:
“ I have never been happier to be a councillor” Mr Moore admitted that he had fought his de-selection as a Lib Dem, but now that the split had come he felt as though a “Weight had been lifted from my shoulders”
‘It feels great now that I’m free to campaign for things that are important to people in Eastleigh”.
The Independents were not the only party in Eastleigh to take heart from the result of the Barnsley by election. The chairman of Eastleigh UKIP (and resident eurosceptic on Eastleigh News) – Peter Stewart was pleased that UKIP had displaced the Lib Dems in second and finished ahead of the Conservatives.
Describing the result as a ‘Step forward’ Peter Stewart ascribed UKIP’s success to disgruntled Tories switching their support adding:
“The Tory Hierarchy knows they can never win a general election outright as long as parties like UKIP, the BNP and the English Democrats continue to split the Conservative vote in the 40 or 50 key marginal seats.”