17 January 2011

The by-election in Camborne North for Cornwall unitary council on 13 January was notable for the Labour and Mebyon Kernow (MK) results.

Mebyon Kernow got 32 votes, a decisive defeat of the party and Cornish political nationalism. In this post I summarised MK’s very poor record generally in the recent unitary, European, and general elections in Cornwall and gave my assessment of the party’s place in Cornwall.

Jude Robinson, the Labour candidate, won the seat, formerly held by the Conservatives. She is the first and only Labour member of Cornwall unitary council. For Labour the by-election result is a could-be moment: perhaps this is a turning point for the party, the start of a general climb by it from the slough of election defeats in Cornwall? Certainly the Tory Libdem coalition means that centre-left voters are unlikely to believe that only a vote for the Libdems will keep the Tories out and national opinion surveys suggest many who voted Libdem in May 2010 have, since the formation of the Tory Libdem government, decamped to Labour.

Camborne North 13 January 2011 result: Labour 230 votes, 32.4 percent of the votes cast; Conservative 203, 28.6 percent; Libdem 152, 21.4 percent; Liberal 61, 8.6 percent; MK 32, 4.5 percent; Green 31, 4.4 percent; turnout 21.7 percent. For comparison, in the June 2009 elections for the full unitary council the result for the ward was: Conservative 346 votes, 37 percent; Libdem 182, 19 percent; MK 139, 15 percent; Labour 100, 11 percent; others 170, 18 percent; turnout 29 percent.