Labour’s candidate in the Shepway South by election on Thursday 8th September, for a seat on Maidstone Council:
was Dan Wilkinson, a prominent local Momentum figure and campaigner for the homeless:
Labour slipping into third place in the by election, losing 30% of its May 2014 vote, came less than a week after Jeremy Corbyn’s Party on the Beach at Ramsgate. Mr Corbyn has a particular affection for Ramsgate’s Town Council since decrying the mainstream media’s failure to cover a Labour by-election victory for a seat on that parish council.
As in Sheffield, thousands attending a rally, which Mr Corbyn’s supporters said showed the level of support for him in Kent, did not result in a landslide of ballots cast for Labour in Shepway.
Labour’s travails in Kent include losing a seat on Kent County Council to the Tories:
Not taking two seats from ukip on Thanet District Council:
And losing a seat to ukip on Ashford Council:
At the outset of the 2013 County Council elections in Kent, Labour had three seats. Labour ended the elections with thirteen. It now has twelve seats. One wonders what level of further losses, on the County Council, will count as progress (similar to that seen at this year’s local authority elections) in May 2017?
Moreover, whatever the nature of the by election campaigns run in Kent before the Maidstone by election, one may safely assume that Wilkinson did not run on a Blairite, anti-Corbyn agenda …
In fact, in March of this year, Wilkinson was campaigning against a Liberal Democrat run Council. Maidstone Council is finely balanced, with the Tories as the largest party but five seats short of a majority, and the Liberal Democrats forming a minority administration with Independent and Labour support.
Would Wilkinson, if he had been elected, have taken the Labour whip or become the Momentum One?