IT is always difficult to gauge the significance of the West Thurrock and South Stafford by-election last October.
The Tories were bullish and they gained just 15% of the vote. UKIP did their usual thing of standing by the road with signs and looked very optimistic but they also looked surprised when they only gained 34% of the vote.
Labour were delighted that they gained over 50% of the vote and felt it validated much of their methodology, i.e: on the right track.
It may be the case, that Labour realised that if they can keep hold of their vote all along the riverbank from Purfleet to Tilbury then that may give Polly Billington her best chance of winning on May 7th.
Then again, they polled 47% of the vote in 2010 and Labour still lost in the General in Thurrock.
The incumbent is Victoria Holloway, who has proved a dynamic, intelligent, considered councillor as long as you don’t count the bins debacle.
It is a fascinating ward which has so many elements within from the challenges of the Garrison Estate to the new communities in Caspian Way.
Young Sarah Curtis is standing for UKIP and she has to be applauded for being one of the young enthusiastic activists that has done the hard yards over winter and really stuck at it.
Prediction: Lab hold
West Thurrock & South Stifford
CURTIS Sarah, UKIP
HOLLOWAY Victoria Claire, Labour
ROWLES John, Conservative