I’ve taken these snippets from our MP’s (the Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones) website:
” We had a lot of seats to defend, because the last council elections were held on the same day as the 2015 general election.”
The fact that the last council elections were held on the same day as the general election wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference in terms of the number of seats that had to be defended!
“But despite all that, the LibDems have failed to take overall control of North Devon, unlike councils elsewhere.”
Not true until the result of the Chittlehampton election, which is being held on 13 June, is known. At the moment the LibDems have 21 seats with the others having 20.
“They lost a seat in South Molton, where we elected our first Conservative councillor for more than twenty years.”
The LibDems did NOT lose a seat in South Molton. Before the boundary changes there were two seats in South Molton – one held by the LibDems and one by an Independent. Following the boundary change, the ward of South Molton is slightly bigger as it now incorporates Mill-on-the-Mole. It also has three seats. The LibDems won two of those seats and the Conservatives won one.
“And they also lost in their heartland of Barnstaple Central as well.”
The ward is an entirely new one and has only one seat – won by the Green Party. It’s predecessor Central Town (Barnstaple) had two seats, both of which were LibDem.
Following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) the number of district councillors in North Devon was cut by one – from 43 to 42 – and a number of the ward boundaries were also changed.
” independent candidates and ward boundaries skew the figures too.”
They do skew the figures, but there fewer Independent candidates in this election than in the previous one – nine as opposed 20 previously. When all is said and done the Conservatives had 36% of the votes in 2015 and only 26% this year. Contrast this with the figures for the LibDems – 25% in 2015 and 38% this year.