A quartet of Liberal Democrat council by-election gains

A quartet of Lib Dem by-election gains amongst the ten held for vacancies on principal authorities this week:

The Ukip candidate in this Norfolk contest was the local county councillor.

Two of the defeated candidates were ex-Liberal Democrats. In Newquay Treviglas, the defeated independent was George Edwards, a former Liberal Democrat from roughly the same area in 2009-13 (there have been boundary changes since). In St Teath & St Breward, the Independent who finished last was the Liberal Democrat candidate in 2013.

The big Labour vote share declines in the first two of those were also reflected in the Barnsbury result in London – and see also the Tory gain from Labour below. (The Labour vote share increases in the other two were caused by there not being a candidate last time – a curious mix of falling support yet also able to stand more candidates in these seats.)

In Barnsbury, Bradley Hillier-Smith and the team secured a sizeable increase in the Lib Dem vote, taking the party back into second place in Islington as Labour’s vote fell in Jeremy Corbyn’s home borough (although outside his Parliamentary seat).

Congratulations to Bradley and the team in Islington.

Here’s what Bradley Hillier-Smith said on Facebook after the result:

Very chuffed with the result this eve. We came second place! Very proud of the positive campaign we have fought. We raised a half tonne of food and recruited 3 new volunteers for the local foodbank, increased donations and support for local mental health services, got national media coverage for our anti-racism campaign, and got the local party more active. Very humbled that hundreds voted for us. It’s been a privilege to work with such an inspiring team. Huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped, means a lot.

Not all is rosy, however, as other contests passed without any Lib Dem candidates or last place with a falling vote, reinforcing my regular point about the very patchy nature of the Lib Dem recovery:

That curate’s egg summarised: ten seats, four gains, three without a Lib Dem candidate.

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