The by-election in Watton-at-Stone on 23 August 2018 ended one-party rule in East Hertfordshire, but unfortunately it was the Liberal Democrat candidate who achieved this, in spite of the fact that at the previous election the Liberal Democrats did not even stand.
Their candidate, Sophie Bell, had a remarkable win, taking 531 votes out of a total of 792, with a very high turnout for an August by-election of nearly 40%. The Tory candidate trailed well behind with 238 votes and, although we had an excellent candidate in Veronica Fraser and canvassed almost all of the ward, the Labour vote was only 23.
It was clear from our canvassing that the fact that she was the only local candidate was a key advantage in the minds of many voters. Some told us that their main aim was to defeat the Tories and they would, therefore, vote Liberal Democrat on this occasion.
Following the sudden death of the sitting Tory councillor for Watton-at-Stone, a by-election has been called for 23 August 2018.
The Labour candidate is Veronica Fraser, a retired local government officer and civil servant. "I believe that community voices need to be heard in the design of local services and planning decisions," she says, "and I am committed to genuinely consulting and representing the locality and its people."
You can read Veronica's election leaflet here.
On 3 May 2018, we successfully defended four seats that we already held in Letchworth and also won an extra seat in Letchworth South East.
Gary Grindal, with new councillors, Sue Ngwala, Daniel Allen, Helen Oliver and Kate Aspinwall
In Letchworth Wilbury Gary Grindal retained his seat on the Council, with a majority of 454 over the Tory candidate and with over 58% of the vote.
Sue Ngwala won Letchworth East, taking over from the popular and well-known Lorna Kercher, who has recently moved away. Sue had a comfortable majority of 394 over the Tory, with nearly 52% of the vote.
In Letchworth Grange, Helen Oliver and Daniel Allen had majorities of 114 and 119 respectively over their nearest Tory rival. They replace Labour's Clare Billing and Sandra Lunn. Sandra did not stand again, but Clare stood for a seat in her home town of Hitchin, where she won comfortably.
In Letchworth South East, Kate Aspinwall won the seat from the Conservatives with a majority of just eight. The other candidates, including a UKIP candidate, lagged well behind.
In Baldock Town, Alec Maguire lost to the Tory candidate, but was well ahead of the Liberal Democrat and the Green candidates. Similarly in Royston Palace, Rob Inwood was second to the Conservative and ahead of the other two parties. Rob Inwood (pictured right) was, however, re-elected to Royston Town Council and Amy Bourke-Waite (pictured left), formerly our vice-chair (membership), was also elected to the Town Council.
In the other two Royston seats, Ken Garland and Jess Finn fared less well. In both cases, the Liberal Democrats had something of a resurgence. In Royston Heath, they actually took the seat from the sitting Conservative councillor.
Our neighbours in Hitchin held two seats that they were defending and also gained a seat in Hitchin Walsworth, by a hefty majority.
For detailed figures, and for the results in the rest of North Herts, go to the North Herts District Council website.
Details of candidates
Roughly one-third of the councillors on North Herts District Council retire each year (except in the year of County Council elections). This year there are elections in the five wards in Letchworth, the three wards in Royston and in the Baldock Town ward. There are no elections in East Herts, where all councillors are elected at the same time every four years.
Labour's candidates for these wards are below. Click on their names to read their election addresses.
Letchworth East - Sue Ngwala (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats in Letchworth East are held by Labour. Lorna Kercher, who has served Letchworth East for many years, is retiring and moving to be closer to her family.
Sue moved to Letchworth 22 years ago. After adopting two children, she became a registered child minder and a full-time carer for her daughter. Both her children went to local schools, where she was chair of the PTA. She is particularly concerned about the lack of social housing and the huge profits made landowners and developers from house-building, which is money that ought to be invested in the community.
Letchworth Grange - Helen Oliver and Daniel Allen (Labour)
There are three seats for Letchworth Grange, two of them held by Labour - Sandra Lunn and Clare Billing, who are the two councillors vacating their seats this year.
Helen lives in Grange ward with her family. She is a Mum, a toddler group worker and a volunteer. She wants to work to ensure that new housing is genuinely affordable, with all the necessary road improvements and facilities included. She also wants to spend money where it is needed, such as playgrounds, rather than on increases in councillors’ allowances.
Daniel lives in Letchworth with his wife and children. He grew up in Letchworth and will seek to make a real difference to the community, ensuring that housing comes with facilities like doctors’ surgeries and with green space. He will make sure residents’ views are not ignored, as they have been over the “brown bin tax”, and that the council makes a genuine commitment to local decision-making.
Letchworth South East - Kate Aspinwall (Labour)
All three seats in this ward are currently held by Conservatives.
Kate has lived in and around Letchworth for the last 18 years and chose to raise her young children here. She is an experienced HR professional, and now works for a local not-for-profit organisation serving local children. Now that her own children are older, she is seeking to become a councillor in order to pay the community back for what her children have gained from it. She is especially concerned that Letchworth South East has one of the highest proportions of children living in poverty in North Herts and wants to ensure that the council gives every child the best start in life possible.
Letchworth South West - Jean Andrews (Labour and Co-operative)
All three seats in this ward are currently held by Conservatives.
Jean Andrews has lived in Letchworth for the last 50 years.
She was a District Council for Letchworth South East from 1996 to 2000.
She is concerned that the Tory councillors have awarded themselves
large allowance increases whilst planning to close local playgrounds,
such as the one in Oak Tree Close, and, ignoring the public
consultation, to charge for the removal of garden waste.
Letchworth Wilbury - Gary Grindal (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are held by Labour, but only Gary Grindal's seat is up for election this year.
Gary was born and raised in Letchworth and moved to the Wilbury 30 years ago, where he lives with his wife and grown-up children. He was re-elected to the District Council in 2014. He believes that it is vital that residents have a strong opposition to the Tory Council’s continued austerity, which has resulted in vital services being cut in spite of the rise in Council Tax bills.
Baldock Town - Alec Maguire (Labour)
All three seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Alec grew up and went to school in Baldock from the age of 11 and played football through many age groups in the town. He is now an enthusiastic, 24-year-old teacher who want to help make the local community better for everyone. He points out that the District Council has a corporate objective headed “Prosper and Protect”, but nevertheless has been cutting necessary local services, such as the playground at Ivel Close.
Royston Palace - Robert Inwood (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Robert has lived and worked in Royston for most of his life and was educated at Roman Way, Roysia and Meridian Schools. He has two teenage sons, one of whom has just started at college in Stevenage, whilst the other is still studying at school, as well as playing rugby for Royston. He has been a town councillor for almost 15 years and was Mayor in 2011/12. He has also served on the District Council. He is a support worker for adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems, so that speaking out for our more vulnerable residents matters deeply to him.
Royston Heath - Ken Garland (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Ken has lived in Hertfordshire all his life and in Royston for the last 30 years. He is a retired lifting inspection engineer and has previously been a governor of Greneway School and a member of the management committee of the Coombes Community Centre. He advocates a significant increase in good quality, environmentally sustainable social housing. He will work for more local jobs, restoring the cuts in local bus services and better train services. He is strongly opposed to the increasing privatisation and dismantling of our health and social care services.
Royston Meridian - Jessica Finn (Labour)
Both seats are currrently held by Conservatives.
Jessica has lived in the area all her life, which gives her a good understanding of local issues. She is keen to improve investment in jobs within the Royston area, and to grow the local economy and revitalise the town centre, encouraging more shops and leisure facilities to be built.
With the growing population of the town, she says that we shall need more affordable, sustainable housing and it will also be crucial to improve infrastructure such as pedestrian crossings, signs and other road-related safety measures – especially as traffic is likely to increase on the school run, due to the planned closure of Roysia. She will also oppose the brown “bin tax”, which is likely to increase fly-tipping.
9.5 percentage points increase in Labour vote
Doug Swanney increased the Labour vote by 9.5 percentage points in North East Hertfordshire to 28.3%. Sir Oliver Heald's majority was cut by 2,245.
This really does look like the beginning of rebuilding the Labour vote in the constituency towards results like those in 1997 and 2001 (when Oliver Heald's majoritywas in the 3,000s), and maybe even beyond.
Doug Swanney's achievement is, in fact, greater than these figures show, for three reasons. First, although the constituency is largely the same as when it was formed in 1997, it has had some additional areas added (Walkern, Little Berkhamstead) which tend to have a large proportion of Conservative voters.
Second, we have seen in this election the collapse of the vote for smaller parties. The Liberal Democrat candidate held their vote steady at this election compared with 2015, but it was nevertheless less than half their vote in 2001. This time, there was not even a UKIP candidate, whereas in previous elections they have taken a proportion of the vote, especially two years ago when the UKIP vote was nearly 13%.
Third, this was a snap election and Doug Swanney was only confirmed as the Labour candidate about six weeks before the election. He had very little time to get his message over to the constituency, particularly as it covers a very large geographical area. In 2001, our candidate, Ivan Gibbons, had a much longer period and also benefited from having been the candidate in 1997 as well.
However, there remains a considerable hill to climb, but the vigour of our campaign, involving many new members, the national re-action to the unexpectedly good results won by the Labour Party, and the very significant increase in the standing of Jeremy Corby as leader augurs well for the future.
The result was:
Sir Oliver Heald
(Conservative): 32,587 (+3.3%)
Doug Swanney (Labour): 15,752 (+9.5%)
Nicky Shepard (Lib. Dem.): 4,276 (+0.1%)
Tim Lee (Green): 2,695 (no change)
9 June 2017 (added to on 12 June 2017)
Parliamentay candidate in 2017
Doug grew up in a small town outside Glasgow, at a time of industrial decline. Brought up by a single mother determined to do her best for their family, he has believed from an early age in the importance of community, fairness, and social justice.
After school Doug went on to Glasgow
University, taking a
Bachelor of Divinity degree, and then a Master’s degree at Columbia
New York City.
Back in the UK, he took a series of jobs working with children, improving child protection, and addressing the needs of those in care. This led on to working as a children’s development officer for the Methodist Church, and an Advanced Diploma in Education from the Open University.
Doug has since been promoted into a
management role and,
four and a half years ago, he became Connexional Secretary of the
Church. In effect this is Chief Operating Officer, the most senior role
layman in the church. He now has a staff of 195, based in London and
country, and maintains links with Methodist Churches in other countries
throughout the world. To enhance his effectiveness in this role, he has
an MBA (Master in Business Administration) at the University of
Doug made his home in Letchworth Garden City over a decade ago, and now, at the age of 43, feels that he must make a decisive stand for what he believes to be right – not just for himself, but for the whole country.
Although his job offers the
opportunity to make an important
contribution to addressing key issues in our society, he also offered
himself as a candidate for the County Council. Then, when we found
confronted unexpectedly with a General Election, he agreed to stand as
Labour candidate for his home constituency.
“We see all around us,” he says, “the damage to the services we hold dear – and it is the most vulnerable who are being hit the hardest. I want to change that.”
23 May 2017
Doug's five pledges are:
Give schools the funding that they need.
End NHS privatisation and restore proper funding.
£10 minimum wage and end zero-hours contracts.
Provide really affordable homes to rent and buy.
Negotiate a Brexit deal that is fair for all.
In his election address, he elaborates on three of these pledges:
Adequate funding for education
Many Hertfordshire headteachers have written to parents about 35 to 45% cuts in funding per pupil. Labour would provide adequate funding for schools and restore student maintenance grants, rather than lavishing £138 million on "Free Schools" and re-introducing selective schools.
Our approach to Brexit
The Tories want this election to be about an angry and destructive Brexit, with burnt bridges and division at its heart. Labour see this this next chapter as a chance to once again create a Britain for the many - not the few; a Brexit that builds stronger relationships and a fairer economy for all.
The Tories have pushed the NHS into crisis
Waiting lists have soared to around 3.8 million; last year over 1.8 million people waited longer than four hours in A&E; and £4.6 billion has been cut from social care budgets. We will end health service privatisation and bring services into a secure, publicly-provided NHS.
7 June 2017
Thursday, 4 May 2017
Doug Swanney (centre, without a letter board), Labour's candidate for Letchworth North, campaigning in Wilbury.
Unfortunately, Doug Swanney failed to win Letchworth North. This is a new division, but is largely the same as Letchworth North-West, which Lorna Kercher won for Labour with a majority of 48 over the Conservatives in 2013. Doug lost to the Conservatives by a margin of107.
In fact, Doug had a slightly bigger proportion of the vote (40.6%), in a four-way fight, than Lorna did in 2013 (39.1%), in a five-way fight, so there is some comfort in that: the Tories benefited from the fact that there was no far right candidate (in 2013 the English Democrats had 11% of the vote).
The rest of North East Herts
Elsewhere in this constituency, the Conservatives won, except in Royston West and Rural, which was taken by the Liberal Democrats. These seats are listed below, showing the percentage of the vote taken by Labour
Letchworth South: Jean Andrews was second with 21% of the vote.
Baldock and Letchworth East: Anne Holland was second with 20% of the vote.
Royston West and Rural: a new division, taken by the Liberal Democrats, with the Tories second. Ken Garland had 8% of the vote.
Royston East and Ermine: also a new division, taken by the Tories with the Liberal Democrats second. John Rees had 12% of the vote.
Hertford Rural*: Catherine Henderson was second with 11% of the vote.
Buntingford: Steven Stone was second with 12% of the vote.
Ware North*: Murray Sackwild was third, behind the Liberal Democrats, but had 14% of the vote.
Bishop's Stortford Rural*: Alex Young was third, behind the Liberal Democrats, with 11% of the vote.
* These divisions are partly in other constituencies.
The whole county
Labour now has nine county councillors. In 2013, we won 15 seats. The worst blow was that Leon Reefe, the previous leader of the Labour Group, lost his Borehamwood North seat by 273 votes.
It is pleasing to note that Judi Billing won Hitchin North, in our neighbouring constituency, resoundingly, with 51% of the voteand a majority of 1008, an increase of 3 percentage points on the by-election at which she won the seat in 2013.
You can see the full results here.
Labour's ten promises for Hertfordshire are here.
More on Labour candidates for our County Divisions
This division is a new one, but is similar to the division currently held for Labour by Lorna Kercher. Lorna is moving away from Letchworth to be closer to family. She has served the Labour Party extremely well, both on the North Herts District Council and on Hertfordshire County Council. She goes with our gratitude and very best wishes. We hope that she and Les will enjoy their new home.
Our candidate for the division is Doug Swanney, who is a worthy successor to Lorna and who is now canvassing hard in the division.
Doug has lived in Letchworth Garden City for over 11 years. "I feel very proud," he says, "both to have made this my home, and now to have been selected to stand as a Labour candidate in the County Council elections this May. Living in the division gives me a real understanding of the issues that concern our community and I want to ensure that I can represent all of those concerns."
He goes on to say: "There have been times in our history where we all need to make a stand for what is right, and for those things that we need and deserve - a properly funded NHS, a social care service we can be proud of, and education services which are open and equal for all. This is not the county that the Tories are providing, and never has it been more vital to have a strong and co-ordinated Labour voice in local government. I am truly frightened that Britain is becoming a less tolerant, less welcoming place to live and we must stand up for the society we want to be part of."
You can read Doug's election address here.
This is also a new division and comprises all of Baldock, including Baldock East (Clothall Common), part of the Letchworth East ward (south of the railway line) and Jackman's Place.
Anne says: "I was born and brought up in Hertfordshire. I have lived in the heart of beautiful, historic Baldock for over 20 years and am a recently retired primary school teacher. I have two grown up children who went to school locally. Like many residents, I am concerned about the future of our young people. If elected to the County Council I will work hard to ensure all our children have a place in an excellent school near to their home and that services like Sure Start and Home Start are properly funded."
Anne's concerns include the need for environmentally sustainable homes for local people, including social housing for rent, the need for more local jobs and better train and bus services. She is strongly opposed to the dismantling of the NHS. Some of these are outside the direct remit of the County Council, but, where the County could help, for example by preventing "bed-blocking", she would work hard to ensure that they do so.
You can read Anne's election address here.
Other divisions in the constituency
The pictures above are (left to right):
Click on their names to read their election addresses.
The following two divisions are mainly in the Hertford and Stortford constituency, but Ware North includes the ward of Thundridge and Standon, and Bishop's Stortford Rural includes Little Hadham.
Bishop's Stortford Rural: Alex Young
There are also two by-elections in Royston and the Labour candidates are:
Royston Heath District Council ward: Vaughan West
Heath Royston Town Council ward: Robin King.
1. Labour will bring failing Care Services in-house and will review the way Care in the Home is administered.
Too many care homes are now at risk of failing. £5 billion has been cut, nationally, from care services in the past 6 years and the results are obvious. This risks the wellbeing of residents as well as the jobs of hard pressed care workers. We will take over responsibility for failing care services and make them fit for the people of Hertfordshire. We will help set up co-operative systems so that all homes can buy in quality services and supplies. We will have Care Homes and Home Care that are run efficiently by staff working on a proper living wage, with consequent high morale, and that have the ability to speedily take in patients who no longer need to stay in hospital.
Care in the Home must be properly organised and funded so that it functions for the benefit of those who can be looked after in their own homes. The Tories and Lib Dems have shown they don’t want this. Labour will make the right choices on this service and improve it.
2. Labour will work to save your NHS services that are failing under the Tories
We will seek, in consultation with key commissioning groups, to bring in more front-line clinicians and make sure the care of patients is the first call on funding. Nationally £9 billion has been cut from the NHS in the past 6 years – the current crisis was inevitable and avoidable. Working with the Care Services we will develop a system that will free up more beds and give the NHS the chance to treat more patients. Labour is the only party that will stay true to the ethos of the NHS. The Tories will continue to squeeze the life from it, the Lib Dems will shed crocodile tears whilst fully supporting Tory cuts, and the UKIP leader just wants it fully privatised.
3. Labour will return to full night lighting
If Labour is elected to run Hertfordshire County Council on May 4th, we will switch the street lights back on. It was Labour’s idea to update the street lighting system to make it more efficient, save energy and save money. With this new system we will be able to effectively manage each community’s individual needs. Street lights save lives – that’s why they were put there.
4. Labour will make Highways Maintenance a First Class service
Our roads and pavements are a disgrace. The maintenance was outsourced by the Tories and they reduced it from Gold Standard to Bronze - and it shows. Potholes, failed street lights and unnecessary flooding are the result. This failed contract ends in 2019 and Labour will re-establish an in-house department that provides a real public service for the benefit of the public. Labour will also properly maintain and expand the cycle network across the County, so that cycling is seen as a benefit not as a danger.
5. Labour will restore bus services, pay our fair share to keep Hertfordshire's TfL buses and provide TfL Freedom passes for residents
For too many years the Tories have set about destroying the ethos of Public Transport. Almost all services are greatly diminished and we no longer pay for TfL buses; how long will TfL ‘subsidise’ Hertfordshire residents? Make no mistake, another Tory administration after May will see contracted bus services scrapped. Labour will re-negotiate the bus franchises for the benefit of the people. Labour will also seek to use the County’s development company to run services. We need smart, efficient and reliable public transport services. People need choices so that they can rely on these services.
We will work with the Mayor of London and TfL to continue providing quality public bus services into Hertfordshire for the benefit of the residents. Labour also believes there is an urgent need to negotiate with TfL and Central Government, the means by which Hertfordshire can have transport access across the County. The current plan to implement an extension of Crossrail 2 from the Kings Cross area to East Hertfordshire (around the Cheshunt area) should include a possible route across the County westwards finishing in Buckinghamshire - thereby giving full public transport access North, South, East and West around the County.
In London, senior citizens, the disabled and some student groups have benefitted from the Mayor of London’s Freedom Pass. We think the people of Hertfordshire should have access to a similar scheme. When elected, Labour will seek to introduce a TfL Freedom Pass for Hertfordshire residents, in addition to the existing bus pass.
6. Labour will ensure First Class schools for all our children
All children will have access to a First Class education system. Financial or post-code inequalities will be eliminated from nursery, primary, secondary and further education. School place availability will be properly planned, and we will reduce the need for children to travel across the county to get their education. We will oppose any government attempts to remove local accountability for parents and elected representatives. We will oppose forced academisation and any plans to re-introduce selection for our children through the creation of new grammar schools.
With all our might we will champion developing the imagination, skills and talents of every child, and will wholeheartedly support vocational as well as academic education. Every child in Hertfordshire should be entitled to and receive the very best education we can provide. We can do this at their local school in their local community. There should be no more excuses.
7. Labour will improve Children's Services
Children’s Services have borne the brunt of severe cuts in funding. This has been a perplexing and deeply worrying consequence of the Tories’ ideological austerity plan. If Labour is elected, these cuts will stop. We will ensure that the wishes and aspirations of parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities are fully taken into account.
We will stop the Tory Council’s shameful practice of pursuing legal action against families; instead we will establish a high quality mediation process for disputes. We will ensure that the families of children with special educational need have access to help and support throughout their child’s education. We will work with Youth Connexions to make sure that all young people receive timely and expert Careers Advice and information about all the youth services available in our community. Labour will also restore funding to Hertfordshire Home Start and will maintain, rebuild and support the Sure Start Centres.
will re-open all Household Waste Recycling sites
7 days a week
Incidents of fly tipping have increased by 17.9% since the closure of the waste recycling sites. It costs more to clean up fly tipping than to provide adequate waste disposal. The Tory council was warned this would be the consequence of their actions, but arrogantly refused to listen. The waste and recycling sites provide a much needed and much used public service for residents. Labour will re-negotiate the outsourced contract and re-open the sites, or bring this public service back in-house. Profits will be re-invested in our public services.
9. Labour will review and repair our flood defences
The Tories on Hertfordshire County Council have been left floundering by their own government on many issues - none more so than flood defence. Hertfordshire County Council has been given the title of Local Lead Flood Authority, but without funding or the power to act quickly. In the last three years they have conducted two Flood Defence Reviews, and then done absolutely nothing. Labour would establish, as a matter of urgency, a £6 million Flood Defence Reserve Fund and start protecting our residents immediately.
10. Labour will take the lead in providing Social Housing for rent
This Tory government has failed to make good on its promises on housing. They throw figures around like confetti – 200 thousand, 300 thousand, one million new homes per year by 2020. They haven’t built affordable housing (real affordable housing) because they don’t believe in affordable housing. Labour absolutely believe in providing real affordable housing for local people. Labour in power will work through its own development company and with other councils and developers to build, and make land available for, social rented homes as a matter of priority.
Boundary changes - County Council divisions
The newly named North Letchworth division now consists of the wards of Letchworth Wilbury, Letchworth Grange and that part of Letchworth East which is north of the railway line. Baldock and Letchworth East comprises Baldock Town, Baldock East and the part of Letchworth East which is south of the railway line, plus Jackmans Place. Letchworth South is the wards of Letchworth South West and Letchworth South East, less Jackmans Place.
There are radical changes in division boundaries in Royston and the surrounding area. Royston West & Rural consists of the wards of Arbury, Weston & Sandon and the parts of Ermine and Royston Heath wards which are to the west of the A10. Royston & Ermine consists of the rest of Ermine ward, plus Royston Palace and Royston Meridian.
Within the East Herts District, the Braughing division is renamed Buntingford, but no longer includes Dane End, which is moved to Hertford Rural Division. In other respects, the Hertford Rural division is unchanged: it includes Datchworth and Aston, which is part of Stevenage constituency.
Ware North, which is mainly in the Hertford & Stortford constituency, still includes the Thundridge and Standon ward. The Little Hadham ward forms a very small part of the Bishop's Stortford West division, which is almost entirely in the Hertford & Stortford constituency.
North Herts council
The Labour candidates for the North Herts District Council wards in our constituency were
Letchworth East: Ian Mantle, current
councillor - held his seat.
Letchworth Wilbury: Deepak Sangha, current councillor - held his seat.
Letchworth Grange: Clare Billing, current councillor - held her seat.
Letchworth South East: Martin Stears-Handscomb (pictured), came second to the Tory candidate.
Letchworth South West: Jean Andrews, second to the Tory candidate, although he had a large majority.
Baldock Town: Geraldine Dobson was also second to the Tory.
Baldock East: Gill Tyler was third, behind the Conservative winner and the Liberal Democrat.
Elections for the North Herts council take place on a rolling basis, with a third of councillors being elected each year, except in the year of county council elections. The wards are multi-member wards with two or three councillors for each one.
Letchworth East and Letchworth Wilbury are two-member wards with both seats held by Labour. Letchworth Grange is a three-member ward with two of the seats held by Labour.
You can read Labour's proposals for North Herts here.
Go to the councillors page for contact details for existing Labour councillors.
7 October 2015 (revised 25 February and 11 April 2016)
Kerry Pollard was well qualified to be Labour's candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.
He has more than 35 years' experience representing Labour as district councillor, county councillor and as the MP for St Albans (1997 to 2005). He has is a magistrate and was a member of the Police Authority, which oversaw Hertfordshire policing before the coalition government introduced Police and Crime Commissioners.
He is a trustee of NACRO - the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders - and also of the Open Door Night Shelter, which he founded in his home city of St Albans 20 years ago.
His pledges for policing across Hertfordshire were:
Put the community at the heart of the police service.
Ensure we have an effective, efficient and empowered police service.
Promote police visibility - "bobbies on the beat".
Build a police service that embraces diversity.
Ensure our police officers feel and are valued.
25 February 2016
The Conservative candidate, David Lloyd, was re-elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, but the Labour candidate, Kerry Pollard, took the contest to a second round, after the Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates were eliminated.
Kerry had 27% of the vote in the first round, against 42% for David Lloyd. In the second round, Kerry had just over 40% of the vote against David Lloyd's vote of just under 60%.
It is encouraging to note that, in Stevenage, Kerry had a lead over David Lloyd of 1,639 votes. David Lloyd led the field in all the other council areas, except Watford, where the Liberal Democrat had a marginal lead over Kerry of 113 votes.
6 May 2016
A hugely disappointing election result. Within this constituency, we can take some slight comfort from the fact that Chris York's (pictured right) share of the vote was up by 2.4 percentage points compared with 2010 and that we are once again second in the poll, having fallen behind the Lib. Dems. in 2010. On the other hand, we have to congratulate Sir Oliver Heald not only on his win but also on taking, for the second time, more than half of the votes.
The results were:
Oliver Heald (Conservative)
Chris York (Labour) 9869 18.9% +2.4%
William Compton (UKIP) 6728 12.9% + 8.8%
Joe Jordan (Lib. Dem.) 3952 7.6% -15.8%
Mario May (Green) 2789 5.3% + 3.6%
There is huge sadness that Sharon Taylor failed to win back Stevenage for Labour. Massive effort was put into her campaign, aided by members from our constituency and, indeed, by Chris York. In Hertford and Stortford and in Hitchin and Harpenden, Katherine Chibah and Rachel Burgin respectively fought hard campaigns and also increased Labour's share of the vote.
8 May 2015
District council elections
The results in both North Hertfordshire (where one third of the seats were up for election) and East Hertfordshire (where all seats were up for election) were equally depressing.
In Letchworth Grange, David Kearns, who has been a Labour councillor for 36 years, lost his seat by 277 votes. Outside the constituency, Judi Billing held her seat with a 595 majority. There were no Labour gains. Full results are on the Council's website: click here.
No Labour councillors were elected to the East Hertfordshire council, which now has no opposition at all. This is a very unhealthy position. Details of the results are here.
9 May 2015
"Every commitment in our manifesto is fully costed and the ways in which they will be funded is clearly set out," says Chris York. "By contrast, the Tories have been panicked into making uncosted promises for measures costing billions of pounds."
Read Labour's fiscally competent manifesto here.
Read the manifesto for East Herts district here.
Read the plans for North Herts here.
13 April 2015
Chris York: Labour's candidate for North East Herts in 2015
Chris York was Labour's parliamentary candidate in 2015. This is the statement about Chris York that was issued after he was selected as the candidate in August 2014.
“I have real life, rather than ‘paper’ experience to back my commitment to the party and the people I would be proud to represent,” says Chris York. “I have been bloodied at the front line in two Tory recessions, living at times hand to mouth. I have the passion and commitment to make things better. The only way to achieve this is to promote, with all my heart, Labour’s principles of equality, fairness and respect for people in all situations and every walk of life.”
Chris comes to North East Hertfordshire with a great deal of experience. He was the Labour candidate for North West Cambridgeshire in the 2010 general election and in 2014 narrowly missed being elected to the Peterborough Unitary Authority. He has campaigned for himself and others in a great many elections at national and local levels. He is pictured above with Labour's East of England champion, Ed Balls.
Chris is currently a member of the East of England Regional Board and has held several posts, such as constituency party and local government committee secretary. He runs his own business as an environmental consultant and is keen to promote renewable energy. He is involved in his local community as the vice-chair of his parish council and a school governor. Also, he is a voluntary youth worker. Such is his commitment to this that he has obtained an NVQ in voluntary youth work.
He is the deputy lead governor on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and is keen to defend the NHS from the creeping marketisation imposed on it by this government. The Foundation Trust deals with mental health, which he says must be an absolute priority in our society. He is currently studying for a City and Guilds qualification in Mental Health.
As a member of the Co-operative Party, he would like to see co-operative solutions to the need for truly affordable houses for local people. He strongly supports the Living Wage campaign and is worried by the present government’s attack on the comprehensive ideal in education and on access to justice through their cuts in legal aid.
“I was absolutely delighted and honoured to have been selected as the candidate to fight for Labour in the 2015 general election in North East Hertfordshire,” says Chris. “There were two other excellent candidates, Philip Ross and Dean Wilson, which meant that this was never going to be a breeze in the park. I look forward to getting stuck into campaigning and making a difference.”
20 August 2014
North Hertfordshire District Council
Some wards in North Hertfordshire had district council elections on the same day as the General Election. The wards with elections which are in this constituency are listed below, together with the Labour candidates. There were also wards in Hitchin & Harpenden constituency with elections.
Only one of these seats was held by Labour (David Kearns in Letchworth Grange) and he lost his seat. None of the other Labour candidates was elected.
You can read a summary of Labour's policies for North Hertfordshire here.
Left to right: David Kearns, Martin Stears-Handscomb, Jean Andrews and Wayne Thornton
Letchworth Grange: David Kearns, who was seeking re-election. He stood as a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
Letchworth South East: Martin Stears-Handscomb. He stood as a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
Letchworth South West: Jean Andrews.
Baldock Town: Wayne Thornton.
Left to right: Amy Bourke, Ken Garland and Robin Todd
Royston Palace: Amy Bourke.
Royston Heath: Ken Garland.
Royston Meridian: Robin Todd.
There was no Labour candidate in Weston & Sandon.
East Hertfordshire District Council
There were elections in all the wards of the East Hertfordshire District Council.
You can read the Labour manifesto for East Hertfordshire here.
The candidates for the wards in this constituency are listed below. There are other wards in the Hertford & Stortford constituency and one in the Stevenage constituency. No Labour councillors were elected.
Left to right: Claire Bell, Anthony Martin, David Bell
Buntingford: Claire Bell and Tony Martin. Electors each have two votes. Claire Bell was also supported by the Co-operative Party.
Puckeridge: David Bell, who is standing as a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
Left to right: Steven Stone, Tom Pattison, David King
Braughing: Steven Stone.
Thundridge & Standon: Tom Pattison.
Hertford Rural South: David King.
Left to right: David Evans, Clyde Millard, Richard Henderson, Alison Galer
Hertford Rural North: David Evans, who stood as a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
Watton-at-Stone: Clyde Millard, who stood as a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
The Mundens & Cottered: Richard Henderson.
Walkern: Alison Galer.
There was no Labour candidate in Little Hadham.
Labour vote up by 65%, but still only one seat
The result of the European election was very disappointing in the East of England. Although the Labour vote rose from 167,833 in 2009 to 271,601 (17.25% of the vote) in this election, we still only have one of the seven seats. This was an increase in the share of the votes of 64.9%.
The other six seats were shared equally by the Tories and UKIP, who topped the poll, overtaking the Conservatives, who had topped it in 2009.
So, Richard Howitt (above right) remains the only Labour MEP in the Eastern Region. The Labour vote was not sufficient to put Alex Mayer, who was second on the Labour list, above the third Conservative, who took the last of the seven seats: she was the eighth candidate.
In North Hertfordshire UKIP came second, behind the Tories, with 26.7% of the vote. Labour was third with 18.8%.
It is interesting that, in the council elections, UKIP did less well, coming third, with 18.9% of the vote, compared with Labour's 24%, although they fought all but one of the seats. The figures suggest that quite a large number of voters who voted UKIP in the European election did not trust them to run the council and voted either Tory or Labour for the District Council.
Full details of the results are on the Chelmsford City Council website, since Chelmsford co-ordinated the results for the Region.
26 May 2014
Three Labour wins in Letchworth
Lorna Kercher (above left) and Gary Grindal (above centre) held their seats on North Herts District Council, respectively in Letchworth East and Letchworth Wilbury, and Sandra Lunn (above right) won a seat in Letchworth Grange from the Tories.
Lorna Kercher, who is also the county councillor for Letchworth North West, had a majority of 207 over the Tory candidate. Gary Grindal had a majority of 127 over the Tory and Sandra Lunn's majority was 60, also over the Tory. In all three wards UKIP was third, followed by the Green Party. The Liberal Democrats came last in Grange and did not stand in the other two wards.
The Tories held the other two Letchworth seats, but Labour was second, ahead of UKIP.
In Royston, Rob Inwood unfortunately lost his district council seat, coming second to the Tory candidate, who had a majority of 118. Again, UKIP came third.
Royston Meridian, Royston Heath and Baldock Town were both retained by the Tories. UKIP was second, but was beaten by a large margin.
Elsewhere in North Hertfordshire, Labour retained one seat and won another in Hitchin.
The Labour group on the District Council has thus increased by one.
Labour candidates Les Baker and Rob Inwood were elected to the Royston Town Council.
Full details of the results are on the District Council website.
23 May 2014
Labour candidates in 2014
Elections to the European Parliament took place on 22 May 2014. There were also be elections for one-third of the seats on the North Herts District Council on the same date. The results of the elections are reported above.
The elections to the European Parliament are conducted on a
proportional representation system known as the party list (see
below for more
The candidates on the Labour Party list were as below.
Richard Howitt: Richard has been an MEP for the East of England since 1994. His re-selection for this election was confirmed by every constituency Labour Party in the East of England. As the sitting MEP he is first on the list. There is more information about Richard on the Europe page.
Alex Mayer: Alex has been a Labour Party organizer and trainer, as well as working for a period in Richard Howitt's European office. So she knows about campaigning and about the European Parliament. She is based in South Cambridgeshire. There is more information on her website at www.alexmayer.eu.
Sandy Martin: Sandy is on the Ipswich Borough Council and on the Suffolk County Council. Currently, he leads the Labour Group on the County Council. He held the Fairer and Greener Ipswich portfolio on the borough council until 2013. He was previously a co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth. More information at www.sandymartin4europe.com.
Bhavna Joshi: Bhavna was elected to Wandsworth Borough Council at the age of 24, but now lives - and campaigns - in our neighbouring consituency of Hitchin and Harpenden and chairs her parish council. She is a governor of schools in Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. She works in healthcare.
Paul Bishop: Paul has a long history of activity in the Labour Party in Essex and was a member of the Essex Police Authority for seven years. He has been the director of a national charity and currently works in regeneration and economic development for a local authority.
Jane Basham: Jane has just been chosen by the Regional Selection Panel and the National Executive Committee to fill the vacancy that had arisen in the list. More information later.
Chris Ostrowski: Chris has been an active campaigner in Norfolk for the Labour Party and was a candidate for the European Parliament in our region four years.
Those selected to be candidates for election on 22 May 2014 to the North Herts District Council are listed below. Only wards in the North East Herts parliamentary constituency are shown. There is no election in East Herts.
Letchworth East: Lorna Kercher (sitting councillor): retained seat.
Letchworth Grange: Sandra Lunn: won.
Letchworth South East: Martin Stears-Handscomb
Letchworth South West: Jean Andrews
Letchworth Wilbury: Gary Grindal (sitting councillor): retained seat.
Royston Heath: Ken Garland
Royston Meridian: Amy Bourke
Royston Palace: Rob Inwood (sitting councillor): lost seat.
You can read their key priorities for North Hertfordshire here.
The candidates are pictured below (left to right): Rachel Burgin, Lorna Kercher, Gary Grindal, Rob Inwood, Ken Garland, Amy Bourke, Jean Andrews, Martin Stears-Handscomb and Sandra Lunn.
You need Labour to protect you
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government has imposed disproportionate cuts on local authorities. You cannot rely on their colleagues in County Hall to protect you from these cuts. You need Labour councillors to protect you.
Following the election, there are now 15 Labour councillors, who will be much better able to represent you at council meetings and at all the various committee meetings, which previously had to be covered by just three councillors.
The County Council now has 46 Tory, 16 Liberal Democrat and 15 Labour councillors.
There are seven divisions which are wholly in the constituency
two more that are partly in the constituency. Lorna Kercher (above, right) won
back Letchworth North West as the Labour and Co-operative candidate.
She increased the Labour share of the vote by 14.3 percentage
In Letchworth East and Baldock Rachel Burgin (left) achieved a swing of 12.4 percentage points, taking votes from the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. However, this was not enough to take the seat from the Conservatives.
Elsewhere in the
constituency, the swings to Labour varied from 3 percentage points (in
the rural divisions) to 9.8 points in Royston.
The other Labour candidates were:
(left to right)
Letchworth South: David Kearns*
Royston: Les Baker*
North Herts Rural: Ken Garland*
Braughing: Steven Stone
Ware North: David Bell*
Hertford Rural: Jim Brown*
* Labour and Co-operative Party candidates
A small part of the Bishop's Stortford Rural division is in this constituency and the candidate was Darren Neesam.
East Herts District Council by-elections
There were by-elections, also on 2 May 2013, in the East Herts District Council wards of Watton-at-Stone, where the candidate was Steve Buckingham (left), and of Buntingford, where the candidate was Anthony Martin (right).
24 May 2013
Sherma Batson, the Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, took 40% of the votes, taking into account second preference votes. The Conservative candidate, David Lloyd, had 60% and was elected. The turnout was only 14%.
Sherma topped the poll in Watford and in Stevenage. Although the local authority boundaries do not co-incide with the constiuency boundaries, this is important in relation to the next general election.
The Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates were eliminated in the first round and their second preference votes added to the the Labour and Conservative candidates' first round totals. However, one third of those who voted Lib. Dem. or UKIP did not express a second preference (or voted for each other). This may be the result of unfamiliarity with supplementary vote system, which is outlined on the election page.
Outsourcing to G4S
We know that David Lloyd was keen to outsource police administration to G4S when he was chair of the Police Authority. However, we may be saved from this because the plan was to join forces with Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire and the Labour and Co-operative candidate was elected in Bedfordshire. Congratulations to Olly Martins, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, who is opposed to privatisation of police activities to G4S.
Letchworth S.E. By-election
The Conservatives held this seat on North Herts District Council, with 51% of the vote over Martin Stears-Handscomb's 27%. This was a small drop in the percentage for Labour compared with May 2012, but larger increase for the Conservatives, who had 39% in May. They appear to have picked up votes from both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. The turnout here was 26.5%.
Labour on its way back in North Herts
Labour and Co-operative candidates won three additional seats in Letchworth in the elections on 3 May 2012. Across the border in Hitchin, two seats were retained by Labour and Co-operative candidates, and we missed another seat by only three votes.
The new councillors are:
East: Ian Mantle
Ian was a councillor for Letchworth Wilbury but lost his seat in 2008.
Read Ian Mantle's personal statement here.
Letchworth Grange: Clare Billing
Clare joins her father and step-mother on the Council. Her father, David, is Leader of the Labour and Co-operative group.
Read Clare Billing's personal statement here.
Letchworth Wilbury: Deepak Sangha
Deepak was councillor for Hitchin Bearton until this election, but he has now moved to Letchworth and decided to stand for a Letchworth seat. His old seat was retained by Deborah Segalini for Labour.
Read Deepak Sangha's personal statement here.
The Tories took Baldock Town from the Liberal Democrats and retained the other three seats that were up for election.
There was no election in East Hertfordshire.
14 May 2012
There were elections for North Herts District Council and for East Herts District Council, as well as elections for town and parish councils, on Thursday, 5 May 2011.
North Herts District Council
There were 10 seats up for election within the constituency. With the exception of the Ermine ward, there was a Labour candidate in all of them. In all, 3,946 voters, over one in five, voted Labour, ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 3,047.
Cllr. David Kearns (above right) successfully defended his seat in Letchworth Grange ward. You can read his personal statement here. The other wards in which there were elections were not previously held by Labour.
The full results are on the North Herts District Council website.
East Herts District Council
In East Herts elections take place every four years and all council seats were up for election this year.
The Tory administration in East Herts has an unenviable reputation for wasting public money and for paying its councillors high allowances. For the last few years there have been no Labour councillors to challenge them.
Unfortunately, this has not changed. Although Labour improved its showing compared with 2007, there remain no Labour councillors on the District Council. In fact, the situation on the council has got worse, because the Tories gained three seats from the Liberal Democrats and two from Independents. This leaves an "opposition" to the 46 Tories of only two Liberal Democrats and two Independents.
Ten of the wards, with 11 seats, are in this constituency. There was a Labour candidate in all of them. 2,011 voters voted Labour, 19% of the total. There were no Liberal Democrat candidates, except in Little Hadham. All the other wards were a straight fight between Labour and the Conservatives, except Buntingford, with two independent candidates, and Walkern, with one independent. The list of Labour candidates is here.
You can read Labour's manifesto for East Herts here.
Note: the manifesto quotes a figure of 35% for household waste recycling in East Herts. This figure was the latest available on the DEFRA website at the time when the manifesto was written. The more recent figure now shown (May 2011) is 41%. East Herts has progressed more quickly than some authorities, but it remains some way behind the best, who recycle over half as much more.
The full election results are on the East Herts District Council website.
Referendum on voting system
Also on 5 May 2011, there was a referendum on whether or not to adopt the alternative vote system instead of the present first-past-the-post system. The Labour Party was not registered to campaign on the referendum and this website did not contain or reference any campaigning material.
"We fought a good campaign in North East Hertfordshire," says David Kirkman. "I was selected as the candidate only in autumn 2009, and I did not have enough time to do all that I would have wished. I enjoyed working with the Labour Party in North East Hertfordshire. We co-ordinated my campaign with the local election campaign. So, it was gratifying that our two sitting councillors, who were up for re-election in Letchworth Garden City, retained their seats."
Parliamentary candidate for 2010, David Kirkman (left), with the Constituency Chair, Clyde Millard
"We had a number of problems to contend with," said Clyde Millard, who chairs the constituency Labour Party. "Our previous candidate resigned because of a conflict of interest with his role at the Primary Care Trust. So, David Kirkman was selected very late. In addition, boundary changes added new areas to the constituency which are likely to have increased the Tory vote.
"Nevertheless, it was disappointing to be pushed into third place behind the Liberal Democrats. The "Clegg bubble" may not have had the expected effect in the country as a whole, but it seems to have made a difference in Hertfordshire, where the Liberal Democrats did well even in seats previously held by Labour. But I have no doubt that this bubble will burst quite soon."
The voters of North East Hertfordshire - or rather the 70% of them who voted - have spoken and the result was:
Oliver Heald (Conservative)
Hugh Annand (Liberal Democrat) 11801 (23.4%)
David Kirkman (Labour) 8291 (16.4%)
Adrianne Smyth (UKIP) 2075 (4.1%)
Rosemary Bland (Green) 875 (1.7%)
There were three other candidates who between them polled 388 votes (0.8%).
This is the first time since the formation of the constituency that the Conservatives have had an overall majority of the vote, having increased their share of the vote by 6.3 percentage points.
North Herts District Council Elections 2010
Two of our three existing councillors were up for re-election
on 6 May 2010:
in Letchworth East and Gary Grindal in Letchworth Wilbury. Both
retained their seats. In Letchworth
Grange, David Kearns is already a
councillor and was not up for re-election on this
occasion. Labour's main policies for North Hertfordshire are set out here.
Lorna Kercher's election statement can be viewed here.
You can read Gary Grindal's election statement here.
For contact details of the three Labour councillors, go to the Councillors webpage.
For full details of all the elections for the North Hertfordshire District Council, click here go to the District Council's website.
Elections for the European Parliament and for the County
Council took place on 4 June 2009.
Before the election, Nigel Agar represented Letchworth North West on the County Council. Unfortunately, this seat was lost . Full results of the election for Hertfordshire County Council can be seen on the HertsDirect website. Although the seat was taken by the Conservatives, their vote only increased by 2.9 percentage points. Labour and the Liberal Democrats lost votes to the Green Party, the English Democrats and the British National Party.
The result of the European election for the Eastern Region was that, as before, three Conservatives, two UKIP, one Liberal Democrat and one Labour were elected as MEPs. So, Richard Howitt continues as our MEP. Labour's vote was down by 5.8 percentage points. However, the Conservatives (+0.4), UKIP (no change) and the Liberal Democrats (-0.2) failed to make a significant gains. Labour's lost vote went principally to the Green Party, whose vote increased by 3.2 percentage points, the rest going to the nine other parties and a single independent who stood.
After the election, Richard Howitt said that the European
had been hi-jacked by the furore over expenses of national MPs and
expressed his anger at the disunity of the Party at Westminster. It is
particularly ironic, because the Labour MEPs all have their expenses
audited externally to show that they comply not only with the European
Parliament's rules, but also with the stricter rules of the European
Labour Party. Richard Howitt was rated number one for transparency by
Anglian Daily Times. Two of the Conservative MEPs
and both of the UKIP-elected MEPs refused to give the paper any details
of their expenses.