political

Double Lib Dem by-election gain from Conservatives

After Tuesday’s by-election result, Thursday brings another three council by-elections along with the two Parliamentary by-elections in Copeland and Stoke.

Continuing the Liberal Democrat pattern of polarising psephology, the distant and falling vote share in Tuesday’s contest has been followed by two massive gains from the Conservatives. Either the Lib Dems are finishing way short of the winning post, or way beyond it. Just not close to it.


Congratulations to Andrew Dutton and the team in a ward the party has not even contested the three previous times it has come up for election since being created (although the party has won in the area further ago in the past under different boundaries). This win makes for the first Lib Dem councillor on Kettering Council since 2003, and the first Lib Dem win in elections to that council since 1999.

The Lib Dem winner here is Elizabeth Huntley, who has worked with David Attenborough on wildlife documentaries:

Elizabeth Huntley, Bigbury-on-Sea, is standing for the Liberal Democrats. Elizabeth lives with her husband and is a Bigbury Parish Councillor. She has a degree in English and trained as a school teacher.

However Elizabeth then pursued a career making wildlife documentaries working with David Attenborough and Tony Soper amongst others. She also ran a small hotel and restaurant in Bath for 30 years.

Elizabeth is part of the Bigbury Neighbourhood Plan team and is very aware of the unwanted developments in the ward – including Modbury, Kingston, Ringmore and St Anns Chapel.

If elected she will ‘do everything I can to support our local communities fighting these schemes’. She will also ‘oppose planned increased car parking charges which would damage the small independent shops and businesses in our market towns, especially Modbury’.

Elizabeth Huntley is the only candidate that lives in the Charterlands Ward. [South Hams Gazette]

No Lib Dem gain but a good vote share increase again in the final council by-election of the night:

Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election result

Now for the Parliamentary by-elections, where Liberal Democrats holding our deposit regularly is not glamorous progress, but it is still very much progress. Especially when this comes after by-election campaigns in which the party put in considerably less effort in terms of money, staff and appeals for voluntary help than it did in Richmond and Witney (a decision based on both the party’s prospects in the seats and the imminence of the major round of local elections in May), and where the contests were in seats which voted heavily for Leave and where the party has no local government base.

In Stoke, it wasn’t only a case of a held deposit. The Liberal Democrats also scored the biggest vote increase for any party:

Copeland by-election result

A held deposit and vote increase in Copeland too:

These by-election results round-ups cover principal authority by-elections. See my post The danger in celebrating parish and town council wins for your own party for the reasons to avoid straying too often into covering town, parish or community council by-elections.

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