Until recently Woodley was a stronghold for the Lib Dems with all but one Councillor on the Town Council being from their party and all of the Wokingham District Councillors. However, they seem to have struggled to find a single local candidate for the upcoming Town Council by-election in Loddon Airfield ward.
According to the Statement of Persons Nominated, which was published today, the Lib Dems have resorted to parachuting a candidate in from the Reading West constituency, using the eligibility rule that allows candidates who live up to 3 miles away. Both Labour and Conservatives have fielded local candidates who live in Woodley.
The Lib Dems have noticeably wilted since they lost control of Wokingham, being reduced now to just 10 Councillors out of 54. Their chances in this by-election now look a lot less rosy than they might have done following the resignation of Conservative James Taylor.
There is a new Populus poll reported tonight for tomorrow’s Times showing Labour and the Conservatives both down 4%, so the Conservative lead remains an election winning 13%:
Conservative 39% (down 4%)
Labour 26% (down 4%)
Lib Dem 22% (up 4%)
This is the first poll this year to have the Conservatives under 40% but it would still deliver them an overall majority. On this form Labour is in danger of slipping into third place behind the Lib Dems.