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Dust not finally settled

May 25, 2014

Mike Head and Howard Jones on the campaign trail.

Mike Head and Howard Jones on the campaign trail.

It must be unprecedented in the history of RBK that, three whole days after the polls closed, we still don’t know the final outcome of the Borough election on Thursday. At the time of writing, Norbiton STILL has not been finally settled.

We do know that there will be an overall Conservative majority of eight seats, the first time this has happened since the recapture of Tudor Ward in a bye-election in 1987!

It’s a matter of personal sadness to me that Surbiton Hill failed to return a single Conservative, considering that Janet Bowen-Hitchings, Jane Smith and I were returned in the first ever election under existing boundaries in 2002, albeit by majorities ranging from only 60 to roughly 100. In that election the Lib Dems won 30 seats out of 48, reducing the Tories to 15 and Labour to three, all in Norbiton. In 2006 Janet, Nick Kilby and I were returned in a similar turn out election to 2014 with majorities from 550 to 600. The 2010 election was untypical, given that it coincided with a General Election and a turnout of over 70% including numbers of students, recently registered and promised by the Lib Dems that their tuition fees would be abolished.

Of course, the existing Surbiton Hill ward contains large tranches of the old Tolworth West ward, where Tories regularly came third, behind Labour and the Lib Dems. It also has a substantial chunk of the former Tolworth South which went Labour in 1990.

Given this history and seen against the backdrop of the results in neighbouring Alexandra, Berrylands and St. Mark’s, I am at a bit of a loss to understand the outcome in Surbiton Hill.

P.S. Labour have won two seats in Norbiton, unseating the current Mayor Penny Shelton and David Ryder-Mills. They lost the third seat by three votes to a Lib Dem newcomer whose surname is Brisbane. The defeated Labour candidate’s surname is South. Yet another case of the political significance of initial letters of surnames determining the position of the candidate on the ballot paper and, just possibly, the outcome of elections…..?


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