Lib Dem steamroller wins back seats

Lots of very important people doing very important stuff

Eastleigh’s ruling Liberal Democrats tightened their vice like grip on the Town last night by regaining the two seats  they had lost to defectors who had turned Independent.

In a night, which consisted largely of a series of anti-climaxes, ward after ward tumbled to the Lib Dem party machine leaving them in control of 40 out of 44 available seats – in direct contrast to their fortunes in other parts of the country.

The result also means that Eastleigh Local Area Committee now joins the list of area committees that are completely under Lib Dem control.

The two Hiltingbury ward seats being contested were also retained by the Conservatives who now find themselves as a the sole four member opposition group and continues a 10 year run for them without a gain.

In the end the anticipated ‘Botley Backlash’ never happened .

Rupert Kyrle

It’s ‘brown trouser time’ as Cllr Kyrle awaits the Botley result. In the end a comfortable hold.

Conservative campaigners had strongly supported resident action groups in Botley  who are fighting council plans to develop Boorley Green. The sitting Lib Dem councillor Rupert Kyrle was made to sweat as the Botley result was the last declaration of the night and his imminent anointment as Mayor in a  weeks time – a family tradition – hung in the balance.

But Deputy Mayor Kyrle comfortably held off the challenge from Conservative Graham Hunter by a 278 margin – although was much narrower than the 439 vote cushion he enjoyed  when he last won the seat.

Things were much tighter in Eastleigh South, a seat vacated by the Independent Dave Broughton due to ill health.

Here unknown Lib Dem Darshan Mann beat popular Labour Parish Councillor Pete Luffman by only 13 votes following a recount.

Last year the gap between Luffman and the Lib Dem candidate was 179 votes.

Concerns over the proposed 1300 house development at Stoneham Park was a likely factor in the Lib Dems reduced support.

The other Lib Dem gain from the independents was in Eastleigh Central where popular pub landlord Simon Bancroft held off Labour’s Chris Gilkes following  a particularly negative leafleting campaign which insisted that ‘Labour always comes last’ and ‘Labour cannot win here’.

Despite the Liberal Democrats attempt to write off Gilke’s chances, last night  only 236 votes separated the two. This was also a considerably reduced margin over the 2010 years result when the gap was a whopping 1811 votes and  in 2011 when it had shrunk to 492.

With  the Conservative Michael Read coming third for the second year running it will be interesting to see if the Lib Dems will continue to distribute literature next year insisting that the Conservatives are the main threat in Central Eastleigh and that Labour ‘always comes last‘ to maintain what is a clearly successful tactic of scaring Labours core vote into voting for the Liberal Democrats by deliberately  misleading them over previous election results.

Central Eastleigh also saw one of the lowest turnouts – just 27.1% down almost 11% from last year.

Although dismal weather is a factor local politicians should be alarmed that out of an electorate of 8,000 in Eastleigh central – one of the Boroughs poorest wards – little more than 2,000 people bothered to vote.

In contrast Hiltingbury East, one of the Boroughs wealthiest wards managed a 45% turnout despite the drizzle (although the turnout figure does not show the postal vote separately).

Ukip managed to come second in two wards. Martin Lyon in Bishopstoke East was within 297 votes of claiming the seat and Chris Martin in Netley Abbey also beat both Labour and the Conservatives to claim the runner up spot.

One notable feature of last night’s count was the event was streamed live on the web for the first time ever using a £6 web cam attached to a laptop.

A handful of local insomniacs joined citizen reporter Matthew Myatt online for some DIY punditry and cheeky banter. Conservative spokeswoman Maria Hutchings gave an interview as did Lib Dem Cllr Peter Wall.

A suggestion to live stream council meetings was turned down by the Cabinet last year on the grounds of cost.

Full results: Eastleigh Borough Council

Photos© Matthew Myatt

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  20 comments for “Lib Dem steamroller wins back seats

  1. D Sneddon
    May 4, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Democracy is dead in Eastleigh.

    • Bertie
      May 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Sounds like it is alive and well to me. Perhaps you don’t like people voting?

      • D Sneddon
        May 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        Its the end result that’s the problem. Eastleigh Borough now has a Dictatorship.

    • May 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Well we’ve got to give Keith House credit for bucking the national trend, which is to swing away from the Lib Dems.

      It would have been better though, if it could have been achieved by positive campaigning, telling us exclusively (and fully/honestly) what the Lib Dems are going to do, rather than scaremongering about what the Conservatives might do…

  2. May 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I think Mr House should be ashamed to deny local residents the chance to watch council meeting online. Despite his claims of cost being the factor that would stop this public scrutiny, which is needed now more than ever given the Fib Dems can approve policies unopposed, I would like to point out to Mr House that the cost of not allowing digital access to council meetings is the cost of democracy and openness.

    To sum up, the cost for last nights stream was around £20. Of which £6 was for a camera, £11 for a anti-surge extension lead, £0.52p for the fuel of my bike to carry the gear from Winchester and back and a few quid for drinks and a snack.

    Livestream last night £20 = Democracy and Openness.

    The Point-LESS last year. £132,000.00 = Bureaucracy and Bullshit.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      An excellent initiative Matthew – also a lot of fun.
      You can buy cheap but good quality cams from Maplins that don’t need any wires – just stick them up anywhere. The DCLG estimate the kit shouldn’t cost councils more £250. Even Parish Councils and area committees can afford this.
      You can’t stop the growth of the Digital Democracy – we are moving towards a virtual online Town Hall.
      The way we do politics is going to change forever and for the better – whether the dinosaurs in charge at the moment want it to or not.

      • Jenny Schwausch
        May 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

        This creative proposal should be adopted by all Councils – Town, Borough and County and Cabinet, of course. The Lib Dems will be delighted as it fits in with their policies of openess; honesty; fairness and accountability so I am sure they will now be delighted to support this extremely economical solution. Councillors of other persuasions will, no doubt, also be in favour.

        How soon can it be installed?

        • May 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

          Don’t forget the Lib Dems want this technology in Hedge End Town Council so that they can put up candidates who don’t live here for most of the year.

  3. maureen
    May 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “unknown Lib Dem Darshan Mann” yes, who is this person? Unknown now and likely to remain unknown like so many of the LibDems.

  4. Stuart Jebbitt
    May 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    The real danger is that these people genuinely believe that they have some sort of popular mandate from the town – they DON’T. For instance, In the Central Eastleigh ward – winning with only 800 odd votes in a electorate of 8,000 is simply winning on the back of apathy. 10% of the voters is not a victory, it’s just a winning strategy of building up a gullible core vote over some years and getting them to the polls. I hope Eastleigh news will continue to be the ‘Private Eye’ of the town and keep challenging them. The formation of a ‘Save Eastleigh’ group, including a broad coalition of local people who want to defend the town from over development and the wasting of money of ego projects, might be part of the answer.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Hmmm…interesting…I’m into consensus politics, (you know, as an alternative to dictatorship)
      Would have to be a pretty broad church though to fit all the the different groups of dissenters in (some with a separate political agenda) and get them pulling together.

  5. Stuart Jebbitt
    May 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    And what was Keith Houses’ White Suit all about? The man reminded me of BOSS HOGG from the Dukes of Hazzard! – He was an egomanic as well, as I remember.

  6. May 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Interestingly if Thursday’s vote was to be distributed proportionally, the make up of the council would be
    Lib Dem 20
    Conservative 12
    Labour 7
    UKIP 5
    (subject to errors in my copying of the results into a spreadsheet)
    A result which would require a lot more consensus-driven politics.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Hmmm… Lib Dems are in favour of PR?

      • May 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

        I think that’s still one policy they haven’t dropped completely.

  7. May 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Hmmm…interesting…I’m into consensus politics, (you know, as an alternative to dictatorship)
    Would have to be a pretty broad church though to fit all the the different groups of dissenters in (some with a separate political agenda) and get them pulling together.

    Not as a party, or to stand at elections you understand, just to get together to fight particular one off causes that we agree on. i.e. saving the rec and saving stoneham park from irreversible destruction.
    I will stand for the Greens whenever it’s viable for me to do so, (and they are happy to have me a me as a candidate), I only wish I hadn’t decided to stand so last minute – I wasn’t able to get leaflets to every road or do any real canvassing. So, with that in mind, I was very pleased and encouraged with the votes I got.

    • Peter Stewart
      May 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Democracy has just woken up!

      First the people elected Martin Lyon onto Bishopstoke Parish Council.

      Second they almost elected Martin Lyon to be their Borough Councillor (just 297 votes short) in Bishopstoke East!

      ONLY UKIP CAN DELIVER DEMOCRACY BY WITHDRAWING BRITAIN FROM THE ABOMINATION WHICH IS GOVERNANCE BY A FOREIGN POWER CALLING ITSELF THE EU.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

      So…non-political, planning matters…sounds like you are proposing a’neighbourhood forum’ to me! Good news is we can have one in ELAC area (Easlteigh North,South and central wards) as we do not have a parish or town council. All we need is 22 residents to access the unbiased help of EBC’s own planning and legal departments to help us form our own ‘Local Plan’ and bag a seat at the planning inspectors table.

      • Stuart Jebbitt
        May 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        Now that’s definitely worth exploring – Count me in as one of the 22. How often would it need to meet, and how many members would need to attend regularly?
        If you want to contact me direct – stuartjebbitt@hotmail.com

  8. Charlie
    May 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I was at the count last night. I was surprised by the reaction to Speedy Huhne’s arrival in the hall. Previously his well timed, fashionably late arrival has been like that of a gladiator entering the Colosseum. Last night it was a much more muted affair, even by the Housite Faithful.

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