Gotham – no, not that one

There are six by-elections up this week. A full preview will appear on Britain Elects in due course, but I wanted to quickly focus on Gotham. No, we’re not in the DC Comics Universe, we’re in rural Nottinghamshire; Gotham ward, named after its eponymous village, lies immediately to the south-west of the Nottingham built-up area on the south bank of the Trent.

In the 2015 district elections this ward had new boundaries and returned the Conservatives’ Stuart Matthews comfortably. Don’t be fooled: Gotham was an open seat that year following the retirement of long-serving councillor Trevor Vennett-Smith, who was an independent in the 2011 election and a Lib Dem before that. That sets the scene of a ward that’s not naturally Conservative; and clearly Stuart Matthews shares that opinion because he’s standing for re-election as an independent. I don’t know what the reasons behind that are, but clearly he thinks he’s got a chance of winning.

If you fancy betting on the outcome, head over the betting exchange Smarkets here!

There are also two Labour defences on Merseyside, Tory defences in Warwickshire and Hertfordshire and a Lib Dem seat up in Cornwall for by-election watchers to keep an eye on.