Current Administration: Conservative
Keevil Prediction: No Overall Control
Jennings Prediction: No Overall Control
Our 3 months of political punditry showed that we knew less then Jon Snow (Game of Thrones reference rat fans (80’s reference)). Conservatives not only maintained control, they strengthened it.
Conservative: 31 Members
Labour: 17 Members
UKIP: 4 Members
Liberal Democrats: 3 Members
Conservative: 24 Members
Labour: 23 Members
UKIP: 6 Members
Liberal Democrats: 2 Members
Conservative: 23 Members
Labour: 20 Members
UKIP: 9 Members
Liberal Democrats: 3 Members
Conservative: 36 Members
Labour: 15 Members
UKIP: 4 Members
Lib Dems: 0 members
Keevil 38 of 55 = 69%
Jennings 39 of 55 = 71%
Even Cllr Rodney Chambers OBE (Conservative leader of the council) admitted to being a little surprised by the result!
None of the councillors who defected to UKIP held their seats! Of the 4 who won, how many were ‘paper candidates’ and will soon do or say something UKIP regrets and find themselves independent councillors before 2019?
Will Catriona Brown-Reckless be the leader of the UKIP Medway group?
Although it was felt it wouldn’t be a good night for the Lib Dems, nobody expected a wipe out. Diana Smith was expected to win on reputation alone. They almost did as well in the wards they didn’t campaign in than in their long held Gillingham roots.
Whilst we felt that Labour would not gain control of the council, we expected them to reach 20 candidates, but in the end they reduced their number, including in Twydall, which has been solid Labour for as long as both authors of this blog can remember!
TUSC were the only small party to stand a candidate in ever ward, well done to them for that. One candidate Paul Dennis in Rainham North, received 0 votes, which is shocking, especially when you consider he lives in the ward and claims he voted for himself. TUSC are currently protesting this with the council. Will TUSC stand again in 2019, or will Left Unity have a go at it?
Chris Irvine, Peninsula councillor, bravely/foolishly stood in Labour held Rochester East. He not only did not win, but came behind former English Democrat Sean Varnham.
Of the 22 wards UKIP stood candidates in 18 of them. Of those they won in 2. Of they remaining 16 wards, they came second in 10!
Paul Monck, UKIP Cuxton parish councillors, is one to watch in 2019.
SDP Mike Walters got move votes for ward councillor than for MP.
UKIP’s average vote share overtook Labour, and Medway Greens average vote share overtook the Liberal Democrats.
5 6 Wards to Watch
Keevil said: 2 of the 3 current councillors are not standing for reelection. A busy polling card, will see Lib Dems reduced to one councillor, and I wouldn’t put money on that being Goeff Juby! 2 Labour Councillors, 1 of which you would expect to be Khan. A telling ward for the development of the smaller parties.
Jennings said: Labour are throwing the kitchen sink at Gillingham South, as it’s a ward they need to even come close to taking control of the council. They almost managed it in 2011, but if the Lib Dems are ruthless enough in their campaigning, Juby’s name recognition should be enough to help him hang on, but I definitely wouldn’t put any money on it.
Result: 3 Labour
Thoughts: Khan won as predicted, but Juby didn’t. Gillingham now under the watchful eye of Labour. Will Lib Dems return in 2019?
Keevil said: I was preparing to predict 2 UKIP councillors returned by the Penisula word, but with Irvine not standing in the ward, I think it is a big ask for two new UKIP candidates.
Jennings said: Peninsula appears to be very fertile ground for UKIP, with them handily winning the by-election there in November. That said, their most recognisable candidate, Chris Irvine, is attempting to move wards, so they face a slightly tougher battle here, but they should at least be able to defeat the two new Conservative faces.
Result: 1 Conservative, 2 UKIP
Thoughts: Cllr Filmer held his seat and UKIP added to their by-election result. A ward to watch over the next 4 years!
Keevil said: Seems a site for an actual contest. Current Councillor Pat Gulvin not standing for the seat currently held, adds to the interest in this ward and a seat changing to Labour.
Jennings said: A curious ward where both sitting councillors are standing down, with both Conservatives and Labour putting forward serious candidates. I’d be inclined to say Labour can take both seats, but the Conservatives are putting forward respected former councillor Tashi Bhutia, a split ward appears to be looming.
Result: 2 Conservative
Thoughts: Not only did the Conservatives take the ward by a good margin, Labour didn’t even come 2nd!
Keevil said: To turn half purple! This is based on no rational look at the numbers. Only that the UKIP group leader has given up the Penisula seat he won with a healthy majority for a strong Labour ward. There MUST be something we don’t know otherwise the UKIP group are in serious trouble.
Jennings said: The most baffling thing about this ward is the decision for Medway UKIP group leader Chris Irvine to stand here. This ward has been safely held by Labour for some time, so to give up a reasonably safe position in Peninsula to stand here is one hell of a gamble. Still, these things aren’t done lightly, so UKIP must be confident that they can win here. If not, the Medway UKIP group could well be thrown into chaos post-election.
Result: 2 Labour
Thoughts: We readily said our prediction at the time was crazy and we were willing to accept we got it wrong. And we did.
Keevil said: I am going to predict a labour seat gain here, but I think Tolhurst will win a #GE2015 bounce which will keep her safe until 2019.
Jennings said: The Conservatives, Labour, and the Greens are all putting forward strong candidates here. Under normal conditions, this ward may well have been a strong contender to go red, but Kelly Tolhurst’s status as PPC, along with the Green’s Clive Gregory taking votes away from Labour, should be enough to see her home here.
Result: 2 Conservative
Thoughts: Cllr Tolhurst MP kept her seat and then some. Labour candidates Garrick and Scudder are two to watch for the future. An increase but still disappointing result for Medway Greens, who will need to re-evaluate their council seat strategy if they are to ever hope to become more then a protest vote locally.
Keevil said: UKIP are working well in Rochester & Strood and this will lead to seats being held here, and if Mason does hold his seat that will be embarrassing for the Conservatives who deselected him.
Jennings said: The only ward that I’m predicting to go completely UKIP, almost wholly on the name recognition of sitting councillors Mason and Rodberg. They’ll face a tough fight, but they should be able to pull off the clean seat sweep.
Result: 3 Conservative
Thoughts: Sitting councillor recognition came to nothing, and UKIPs experience on the council was wiped out. As was any potential for embarrassment for Cllr Mackness.
See you in 2019.