Friday, January 21, 2011

Olton crumble

Yesterday there was a by-election in the Olton ward in Solihull, causes by the sad death of Cllr Honor Cox last year. This has been a Liberal Democrat stronghold in recent years and their candidate, although resident in Walsall, works for Lorely Burt, whose office is actually in the ward.

This should be an easy win for the Lib Dems - the majority is typically 1100-1200 votes over the Tory candidate on a 40% turnout. Last night, on a very respectable 30% by-election turnout, the Liberal Democrats held onto the seat by a majority of 9 - after a recount. Now, that's still a win, but what is clear is that the normally reliable Liberal Democrat support did not materialise - it stayed away and allowed a Tory swing of 8%.

Although this was an ultra-narrow win, it will offer no comfort to Lorely Burt. Her majority is a thin 175, only a sixth of the votes lost yesterday.

May will be intriguing.

UPDATE: Dom draws my attention to an interesting last minute leaflet from the Liberal Democrats, mimicking a Tory 'apology.' How desperate are they that they have to run this little stunt? By the way, if any Solihull LibDems can identify the alleged Tory 'smears', I'd be interested to know, as Praguetory denies that there were any.


Praguetory said...

It's their second safest seat in Solihull. Have you seen my blog post?

Richard Allen said...

Lib Dem's absolutely threw the kitchen sink at this as well. They put out 12 different leaflets and even had Lorely Burt herself out canvassing. In fairness I think their vote will hold up okay in May. They got hammered here in part because their candidate was from Walsall.

Praguetory said...

Seems like the Lib Dems haven't even tried to substantiate their claims. Maybe it was cut and paste leaflet. I think the Lib Dem vote will be miserable in Solihull in May. They have too much to defend to be able to put up as much of a fight as they did in this by-election. Otoh, the Tories should be looking at winning more than two or three seats if they are serious about staying in control for a while.

Praguetory said...

It appears that the Lib Dems haven't even attempted to substantiate the serious accusations they made. Maybe their leaflet was a cut and paste. I think that the Lib Dems will be steamrollered in May. As Richard indicates the only reason their vote held up was the amount of activity. Defections, expulsions and resignations across Solihull Lib Dems suggest that they won't be able to muster adequate defences to put up an adequate fight in the many seats they hold. A few years ago, Lib Dems were flooding into Tory strongholds such as Blyth and Silhill. This year the flow is likely to reverse.