Life is local: The councillor who won an election then declared himself null and void


We’ve all been there, well, most local government reporters have been. A by-election vote count is rarely going to trouble the front page of the paper or the upper echelons of Chartbeat Big Screen, but it’s something we attend because we feel we must.

For the Lancashire Telegraph, a bog-standard by-election count delivered a brilliant front page – the bizarre scenario of a Labour candidate being declared the winner, only for the vote to declared null and void because the winning candidate had declared himself disqualified from standing earlier in the day.

It turned out the Labour candidate worked for a firm owned by the council so was never eligible to stand in the first place, something you would have assumed the local Labour party (which runs the council) might have double checked first.

It led to this front page – and the prospect of another by-election in the same ward. Maybe more people than the 14% who bothered to turn out and vote will make an effort next time. Maybe:

5 blackburnUnusual political front pages came thick and fast this week. Here’s the South Wales Evening Post showing a picture of Theresa May actually signing a deal (for a city region in South Wales) rather than constantly going on about the other deal she may or may not be about to do for Britain but which will be good for Britain, so much so we don’t really need to ask the details etc etc:

5 swanseaAnd Tory MP, sorry Evening Standard editor, sorry Tory-MP-and-Evening-Standard-Editor was making the front page of a different newspaper, his constituency’s local Knutsford Guardian as he sought to reassure local people it was entirely possible to the edit the Capital’s daily newspaper on top of serving as full-time MP for Tatton:

5 knutsfordAnd while on the far side of the Pond, Donald Trump is struggling to make anything happen, he’s once again front page news on this side of the Atlantic too, with his travel ban leaving a choir from Aberdeen unable to head overseas:


Of course, and more seriously, events near Westminster dominated many regional newspaper front pages this week. I blogged about the Thursday front pages regional papers had devoted to the London terror attack, but it’s no surprise that as the story developed, some regional newspapers led with the story on Friday and Saturday too. A selection of those are here, reflecting the many different ways the story was told:

Two other front pages served as a reminder of the fact that a) police officers face incredible risks on a daily basis and b) that terror-related crime is making headlines across the country. The first point was demonstrated by this front page from the Stockport Express, published on the morning of the terror attack in London:

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While this one from the South Wales Echo demonstrated the latter point:

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It seems a long time ago since the death of Martin McGuinness was announced on Monday, with his funeral taking place on Thursday. For papers in Northern Ireland, it was case of reflecting all views in a sensitive manner:

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Council cuts were once again a familiar theme across many newspapers, with these rather summing up some growing themes:

It’s perhaps reassuring that in such uncertain times, councils continue to deliver front pages based around spending money on consultants to save money with alarming regularity.

While stories about public sector spending gone wrong still make the front page – proof again of the value of newsrooms with long memories:

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Talking of reassuring familiarity, you can’t go wrong with a good local rivalry story, and this was most certainly a great local rivalry story (Taylor last week had been rather rude about Sunderland):

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Social networks are rarely out of the news, and it’s easy for media organisations to wave an angry fist at them for their financial woes, but this front page perhaps sums up why they do so well: They bring communities together:

5 gwentOther front pages which caught my eye this week included:

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This week’s ‘headlines you’ll only ever get to write once’ award surely belongs to the Croydon Advertiser:

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While this week’s good news story for local print came in the form of the Christchurch Times returning to the streets:

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And finally, with spring in the air, summer can only be around the corner … and the year’s first sighting of a ‘big animal sighting’ splash is surely proof of that…

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