Updates and new betting opportunities: Grimsby and Merthyr Tydfil

So, last week’s council by-elections were six holds. That won’t, however, be the case in this week’s polls as UKIP are giving up a seat in Kent without a fight. There are also some other juicy fights coming up, and the betting exchange Smarkets have opened markets on two of them.

The Freshney ward of North East Lincolnshire is the western end of Grimsby. This is a ward of interesting social divides and extreme political volatility: it has voted for Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP at some point in the last 15 years. The Conservatives gained the ward from UKIP in May, and Labour are defending a seat in this by-election. Whoever out of Labour and the Tories wins this by-election will become the largest party on the hung NE Lincs council, so this by-election could make all the by-election.

Labour are also under pressure in Merthyr Tydfil where they have a seat to defend on the Gurnos, one of the most notorious council estates in Wales. The Gurnos elected two Labour councillors and two independents last year, the independents gained control of the council last year. Will they extend their majority, or will the fact that there are two independent candidates split the vote and save Labour?

If you don’t agree with these assessments, or if you do, your link to Smarkets is here: https://smarkets.com/listing/politics/uk/by-elections?btag=a_1551b_86c_

Andrew’s Preview’s is coming along nicely for publication on Britain Elects nearer the time. The Local Elections Archive Project is in an East Midlands rut at the moment, with Chesterfield and Rushcliffe going up recently and Gedling looking next in the queue. Do you like Gedling? I don’t know, I’ve never gedled…