Saturday, September 16, 2023

GUEST POST: 61 councillors have changed their allegiance since May's local elections

Augustus Carp
look at the latest figures on councillors who change their political allegiance.

It’s been just over four months since the last round of local elections in England, so it’s probably time to have a quick look at the list of defections, expulsions, ratting and re-ratting going on amongst our elected councillors.  

My thesis is a simple one: local government by elections tell us a lot about real votes cast by real voters, and are the subject of considerable (over?) analysis.  However, councillors changing their political allegiances might be able to tell us a lot more about morale and local realpolitik, which can have a significant effect on local campaigning.  

Councillors provide the bulk of canvassing, leafletting and polling day manpower at General Elections, as well as being the political antennae for parliamentary candidates.  If they leave - for reasons of political principle, ego, or perceived personal slights they might have suffered - then as a consequence their old political party will lose their campaigning abilities in their ward.  

Since May this year it’s been comparatively quiet – there has been a net loss of 28 Conservative councillors, including three from the group in Peterborough.  Fifteen have left the Labour Party, including at least two arising from the Jamie Driscoll affair in North Tyneside.  

The Lib Dems are down nine (thirteen left, four joined) with three having gone in Sunderland, citing the pressures put on them by the local party.  

The Scottish Nationalists have lost 10, almost all in North Lanarkshire.  So, 61 active politicians have, for one reason or another, left the political party they were members of when they were elected.  

Only six have moved directly from one political party to another – the rest have moved to some form of notional independence.  Let’s see if the Defection Rate increases the closer we get to a General Election.

Augustus Carp is the pen name of someone who has been a member of the Liberal Party and then the Liberal Democrats since 1976.

Read Augustus Carp's earlier guest posts on councillors who change allegiance:


Anonymous said...

I suspect a lot of people who want to help the community realise they have to join a political party in order to get elected. Many parties are frankly desperate for candidates so take people on regardless. Once elected many of these new people feel bossed around by their party whips, are given insignificant jobs and so see no benefit in being in a political group.

In some ways it is a hopeful sign.

Matt Pennell said...

Hello there Augustus,

May I say I REALLY enjoy your blogs as I have an unlimited appetite for hearing about Conservative unhappiness and desertion. This post prompted me to look at gain/loss numbers for Conservative local election results in recent years. Here they are:

2016: -48
2017: +563
2018: -35
2019: -1330
2021: +235
2022: -485
2023: -1063

Since 2016 the Conservatives have lost 2163 seats. Whether the defections away will slow down as we've reached a more loyal 'hardcore' or they'll continue due to poor morale and a recognition of how terrible their record in government is - only time will tell!