Congratulations to Councillor Simon Allen and Keynsham Town Councillor Andy Halliday.
Both Liberal Democrats were elected last night with significant majorities after energetic campaigns. These two elections were held in what until recent times have been rock solid Labour strongholds with Independents challenging in Radstock and Conservatives in Keynsham South.
A by-election for Radstock ward on B&NES was called after the death of an Independent member; Labour had expected to win the seat in this former mining town. However, Simon was an excellent local candidate, backed up by the best Liberal Democrat campaign team in the West. The Liberal Democrats had not stood in Radstock for a decade. However Gail Coleshill had a good vote in this ward at the last General.
The Labour infighting on the town council over the last two decades had left people weary of them. Labour were initially complacent, but when challenged found that they couldn’t mount an adequate fightback. The Liberal Democrat campaign was based on the promise of a fresh start for the town with a local candidate who knew the issues of the the area and their concerns. Backed by a huge canvass effort we managed to talk to nearly 40% of the voters. This was supported by positive literature and a full polling day operation.
Radstock result: 33% turnout;
Simon Allen(Liberal Democrat) 542, 40%;
Labour 386, 29%;
Keynsham Town Council, previously balanced with six Lib Dems and six Conservatives each plus three Labour members had a by-election to replace a resigned Labour member for the Keynsham South ward. This is the only ward in which Labour hold a B&NES councillor in Keynsham and had previously elected three Labour and two Liberal Democrat Town Councillors. At this previous election, our candidate Andy Halliday had lost by 3 votes. Andy was a hardworking candidate, whose persistence over the years was again been recognised by the electorate. Canvassing so soon after the General Election, it was noticable how well the coalition was recieved amongst unaligned voters.
Labour and the Conservatives also ran busy campaigns; the Tories even getting up for a good morning leaflet on the day of the election. However, again the Liberal Democrat campaign talked to nearly 60% of the electorate, delivered positive literature and ran a full polling day operation. Even though the Conservatives should have been riding high with the recent victory at the General election they could not match at a local level Andy’s campaign. Labour looked and felt like a spent force with nothing to offer.
Keynsham result: 31% turnout;
Andy Halliday(Liberal Democrat), 599, 49%;