CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS
In a blow to the Labour Group on Lancaster City Council, Cllr Oscar Thynne, John O’Gaunt ward councillor and current Lancaster student, has relinquished the Labour whip and gone independent.
As you might expect, the announcement of his defection on Facebook hasn’t gone down well with local party members, with the level of abuse and indignation (some of which came from senior figures who should know better) reaching fever pitch. Cllr Thynne’s Facebook page vanished shortly thereafter.
The biggest objection from local Labour activists was that, as Cllr Thynne had effectively changed his party allegiance without forcing a by-election, he was depriving residents of the opportunity to elect a councillor ‘who represents the party of their choosing.’
… Although why local Labour members didn’t fulminate in the same way when Cllrs Andrew Kay and Sam Armstrong defected from the Greens to Labour without a by-election is anybody’s guess. Are the residents of Bulk and University & Scotforth Rural wards not entitled to a councillor who represents the party of their choosing or something?
BACK TO THE POLLS
It’s election time on campus! Again.
University & Scotforth Rural ward residents will soon choose two new councillors to serve in place of Cllrs Sam Armstrong and Lucy Atkinson, who are stepping down. Polling day is on Thursday 17 May and the successful candidates will serve for just under a year, before they’re up for re-election again in May 2019 along with all the other councillors. There are eight candidates: two each from the Conservatives, the Greens, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
subtext is pleased to see plenty of posters on campus – and equally pleased that so far no-one has wrongly tried to Enforce The Poster Code and remove them.
Aside from a vaguely warm feeling about democracy, though, why should those not living in the ward be interested? Well, there are two reasons to look out for the result. Firstly, the turnout. The last time there was a by-election on campus (see subtext 156), the turnout was a whopping 7.12% and the winner was elected with fewer than 100 votes cast, something that usually only happens in areas heavily depopulated due to war.
Secondly, control of the city council hangs on the result. If Labour wins both seats, it’ll have 31 out of 60 seats and retain overall control of our district. But if Labour fails to win either seat, it’ll be reduced to 29 out of 60 seats, and will need the support of other parties or independents every time it wants to get a proposal through the council.
Independents such as Cllr Oscar Thynne, who Labour members have done a sterling job of keeping on side thus far.