Political

Double Lib Dems gain from Tories in council by-elections

Following Tuesday’s victorious warm-up, Thursday brings nine by-elections starting with a Labour gain but a big swing to the Lib Dems in Cumbria:

That’s not only a goodly swing to the Lib Dems, it’s also in a ward which the party did not even contest in 2003 or 2007, and has finished well back in during the three contests since then. That makes it another example of the sort of semi-distant second which the party needs.

But even better in Teignbridge:

Having won the ward in 2007, the Lib Dems slipped behind the Tories but managed to hold on to second place in 2011 and 2015 before Alison Eden’s victory in this by-election. Here’s what she said in her campaign:

Alison lives in Central Ward with her husband, daughter and mother-in-law. Alison works from home for a company that is developing medicines for people suffering from rare and incurable diseases. Alison was elected May 2015 to Teignmouth Town Council and since being elected has kept in contact with residents through Focus newsletters, is an active contributor to council meetings and has met with and listened to many people in the ward. Alison said, “I’m delighted to be selected to stand; I’ve had the privilege of representing Central ward since may last year on the town council and I am passionate about our wonderful town.”

Alison’s priorities are to:

  • Protect our countryside and coast from unaffordable Conservative housing plans.
  • I am against the development on the fields off Exeter Road/Buddleford farm. We should be using up our brownfield sites.
  • Support tourism and small business and reopen the tourist information office.
  • The Conservative controlled district council CLOSED our tourist information office. I am campaigning to re-open it!
  • Restore pride in our Town.
  • Make it Clean and Green through investment in our roads and highways, including pressing ahead with the cycle and walking path along the estuary to Newton Abbot.

And then even more good news:

Suffolk is turning out to be very bad territory for the Conservatives at the local level with this by-election defeat making it six losses out of 10 defences in council contests in the county so far in 2016.

This by-election was caused by the Tory councillor moving to the US, trying to stay on as a councillor, being kicked out of the Tories and then being disqualified for not turning up to meetings for six months. Trevor Sheldrick, who just lost out in 2013, is the winning Lib Dem – taking back a ward the party used to regularly win.

Here’s what the party said during the campaign about Trevor:

The LibDem candidate for this by-election is Trevor Sheldrick , who has already shown a long track-record of dedication and service to Hadleigh  and its residents. Trevor has been 10 years on the town council and is currently the Mayor of Hadleigh. As well as  a community speedwatch volunteer,  he’s a First Responder- one of that band of amazing volunteer paramedics who arrive before the ambulance to keep you alive.

Elsewhere it was a rare good night for Labour in council by-election, actually making some real headway rather than the usual picture of pretty much holding stead.

An second gain of the night for Labour in Scotland was in rather special circumstances. The local SNP has been deluged with crisis and controversy, with the branch suspended for several months, and the remaining SNP councillor in the ward also being suspended for racism and in turn sueing for the libel the person who accused them. No Lib Dem candidate alas even though the party put one up in the last by-election here in 2011:

The third gain for Labour was a straight-forwardly good result, gaining a seat from the Tories in a marginal Parliamentary seat too (Nuneaton):

Over in Wales:

Good to see a Lib Dem candidate as there wasn’t one in 2004, 2008 or 2012 when this ward was fought.

Elsewhere, the pattern of Lib Dems starting to fight seats again and winning more than a tiny share of the vote continued in Gateshead in a ward where the Lib Dems years back often finished a decent second but never came close to winning:

But also three much less promising Lib Dem results:

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