Here in Herefordshire it feels like the political landscape is shifting in interesting and hopeful ways. On Thursday there were two by-elections for the County Council. In Ledbury Terry Widdows won the seat for It’s OUR County (IOC) and in Leominster Jenny Bartlett won for the Green Party. Both seats had previously been held by the Conservatives. Back in November at the last Herefordshire Council by-election the Tories again lost the seat to IOC. It’s OUR County is a locally focused political party. Jenny joins Felicity Norman as the Green Party’s second Herefordshire Councillor, and the two of them sit together with the It’s OUR County as a single grouping, so with It’s OUR County’s twelve members and the two greens this grouping now stands at fourteen. Having won the last three by-elections all from the Tories the tide of support seems strongly to be flowing in the direction of this It’s OUR County/ Green grouping, and strongly against the incumbent Conservatives.
Out of the 58 seats on the Council the Tories now only have 27, the IOC/Green group has 14, the Herefordshire Independents 14 and the Lib-Dems three, and both Labour and UKIP none. These IOC/Green gains mean that the Conservatives will now be ruling as a minority administration.
The situation in Leominster is particularly rewarding for the Green Party in that Jenny’s victory was quite emphatic in a crowded field: she got 384 votes to the Conservatives 222, Independents 198, UKIP’s 111 and Labour’s 99. Also on the same day there was an election to the Leominster Town Council which Jane Lacey won for the Greens with 726 votes to Labour’s 202.
In 2015 the whole of Herefordshire Council will face an election, and if this political tide continues might we see the IOC/Green group forming the next administration? That really would be an interesting new direction for the county! However things will be different next year. 7th May 2015 sees a general election, all parish and town councils in Herefordshire, plus the County Council all up for election on the same day, and the boundary changes will reduce Herefordshire’s Councillors down from 58 to 53. Anybody’s guess what that combination will throw up!
STOP PRESS I’ve just heard that IOC and the Greens will formally sit as two separate groups, but still continue to cooperate as they have done over recent months.
Hereford Times http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/11350350.Greens_triumphant_in_Leominster_South_by_election/?ref=mr and Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2697223/HEREFORDSHIRE-HORROR-FOR-TORIES.html