There were nine council by-elections last night, seven in Labour held seats and overall giving a good insight into what is happening to the Liberal Democrats outside the small number of seats which have caught the headlines and propelled the net seat gain figures.
Not winning yet:
This was a Lib Dem ward in 2003, then it went split Lib Dem-Tory in 2007 with the surviving Lib Dem leaving the party to stand as an independent in 2011.
Small vote share increase, still long way off winning:
Candidate this time, finished way back:
(On that Hartlepool results, it’s worth noting that Ukip did not stand in 2014 – the seat that was up for election – but finished second in 2015 and won the ward in 2016, making the gain this week in fact just a small improvement on last year’s result rather than a huge swing out of nowhere.)
But deep into Friday came this Lib Dem gain:
AV by-elections in STV seats are always a little bit of an unusual affair. So although it was Labour defending the seat, in reality the SNP – who topped the poll in the last STV contest in the ward – who were in the leading position for the contest. Until the Lib Dems came through to win.