Polls are open today for the Holywell by-election triggered by Lib Dem councillor Richard Huzzey’s resignation.
Richard Huzzey stood down just days after the
Mr Huzzey was elected in 2006, and was not up for
re-election in 2008 as Oxford City Council is elected in halves, with one of the
two seats for each ward elected every two years.
At the time, Mr Huzzey said: “It’s been fantastic to work with Holywell
residents over the past two years, and I’d have liked to continue for the rest
of my four-year term.
"Yet an academic job at Yale is just too good to miss.”
Lib Dem hopes
The Lib Dems will be keen for success in the by-election,
after losing ground to Labour in the elections in May.
They will not want their influence in the council further reduced.
After the local elections, Labour extended their majority over the Lib
Dems and took administrative control of the council, although they
still lack the majority needed for overall control.
The Lib Dems may benefit from the timing of the poll, as many students will still be eligible to
vote. However, many will also be sitting exams.
In the local elections recently held, the Lib Dems performed
well in the two main student wards, Carfax and Holywell, but fared poorly
Lib Dem candidate Nathan Pyle won his Holywell ward seat
with more than twice the votes of the second place Conservative candidate, Alex
Several by-election candidates stood in the recent local elections.
Two losing candidates from the Carfax election, Sarah
Hutchinson for Labour, and Paul Sargent for the Conservatives, are hoping for
better luck in Holywell.
Paul Sargent defected to the Conservatives from the Lib Dems
during his term, and subsequently lost his council seat to Lib Dem Stephen
Brown at the beginning of May.
Green candidate Chip Sherwood is also having a second
attempt, having come third in the race for the other Holywell seat in May.
The Lib Dems are fielding a fresh face, in the form of Mark
Mills, a student at Teddy Hall.
While the Lib Dems will want to retain their seat, Labour will be keen to further extend their majority in the hope of achieving overall control at the next local elections.
Meanwhile the Conservatives are seeking to regain a presence in the council, after having lost both their seats in May’s local election.
The Green Party will be aiming to make up for a lacklustre performance in May.
Many students have experienced heavy campaigning in the run-up to the by-election, and the parties have been canvassing outside many of the Holywell colleges today.
At Teddy Hall, a JCR motion was passed on Sunday banning all door-to-door canvassing.
The Holywell polling station at the Magdalen Auditorium on Longwall Street is open from 7am until 10pm.
Cherwell will have the by-election result as soon as it is announced.
|Mark Mills||Lib Dem||188|