The results of two by-elections in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Cremorne and Earls Court Ward last week, have led to the knifes coming out http://kensington.londoninformer.co.uk/2010/09/by-election-results-in.html for the leader of the Council, Cllr Cockell. In Cremorne, with an overall turnout of 24.9%, the Tories held onto the ward by the skin of their teeth as there were just 19 votes in it. This slither of a margin is against a backdrop of a 16 per cent swing to Labour which polled 40 per cent of the vote. The Tory vote fell by 9 per cent down to 41 per cent. It is undeniable that Mabel McKeown, the Labour candidate, did exceptionally well to run Gerard Hargreaves so close in a seat where the Tories won comfortably with a 800 plus majority, just a few months ago in the May elections.
In the Earls Court ward, Linda Wade of the Lib Dems took the ward from the Tories on the back of a 23 per cent swing to them, a total of 703 votes against the Tories 594. The turnout here was more or less the same at 24%. What had clearly been a spanner in the works for the Tories, here, was that Malcolm Spalding had stood at the May election as an independent, having allegedly been hand picked by the leader of the Council, who is accused of acting as though the borough has become his private fiefdom. All the fingers are now firmly pointed in the direction of Cllr Cockell and his leadership. It’ll be an interesting watch to see all the Tory daggers out in force in this part of town. This all comes on top of the scandals surrounding the resignation of the two Tory councillors which precipitated the by-elections in the first place. Certainly makes this an entertaining part of town to keep an eye on local politics!