With almost no time to recover from the General Election, residents of Romsey ward have been plunged into the fresh electoral excitement of a local council by-election. The County Councillor for Romsey, Kilian Bourke, has resigned his seat, which means that Romsey voters will be returning to the polls on 25 June to elect his successor.
Kilian has resigned in order to take up a new job – he is now a Policy Analyst for the EU Internal Market, Infrastructure and Employment Sub-Committee at the House of Lords. This is a politically restricted post, which means that Kilian cannot campaign for a political party, much less hold elected office for one, so he has had to resign his council seat. Unfortunately his job offer came too late for the by-election to be held on the same date as the General Election, so a by-election campaign is now underway.
Nominations closed on Friday, and the list of candidates has now been published. There are five candidates for Romsey voters to choose from:
- Debbie Aitchison (Green): Debbie joined the Green Party only two days before the General Election, motivated by opposition to Government cuts. She explains more on her website.
- Riccy Jeffs (UKIP): Previously the UKIP city council candidate in Trumpington on May 7th.
- Nichola Martin (Lib Dem): Stood as Lib Dem candidate in Abbey ward at the city council elections. More on the Romsey Lib Dem website.
- Zoe Moghadas (Labour): Previously the city councillor for Romsey, Zoe stood down on May 7th, with Anna Smith succeeding her as city councillor for Labour. The Romsey Labour website is here.
- Raja Rahatul (Conservative): The only candidate who stood in Romsey at the city council elections, Raja is a social worker who lives in Mill Road.
As with many other Cambridge elections, the main contenders are likely to be Labour and the Lib Dems, though the Green party will also have hopes of being in contention. Here are the local election results in the ward for the last few years:
On paper, Labour would seem to be favourites to take the seat; as well as winning the last two local election contests, their candidate will start with the highest name recognition, thanks to her previous role as a city councillor for the ward. But by-elections can prove unpredictable, and the campaign on the streets will be crucial in determining the result.