Lib Dems gain three seats from Conservatives in South West

There are ten more principal authority council by-election results to come before Christmas, of which seven are for contests held this week – and this time, unlike previous weeks, they’re all Thursday by-elections.

First in was a reminder that, despite the promising polling news, there is still a lot of patchiness in the Liberal Democrat recovery with a contest without a Lib Dem candidate:

It’s now nine years since the ward has last seen a Liberal Democrat candidate, with eight contests since uncontested by the Liberal Democrats despite that distant last showing for the party actually being a fairly close second place.

Over in Wales, a by-election in a ward the party missed out on by three votes last time didn’t, alas, result in a Liberal Democrat gain thanks to a very strong independent candidate who has been well known in the area for many years:

But then much better news from the South West courtesy of a quite remarkable swing:

That’s a particular impressive result as all the way back to the first contest in this ward in 1987 it has been won by the Conservatives. Congratulations to Ross Henley and the team.

Ross is a former leader of Taunton Deane Council, who lost his seat by just four votes in a different ward last year. What’s more, the ward is in Taunton Deane Parliamentary constituency, formerly held for the Liberal Democrats by Jeremy Browne and one of the party’s prime targets in a general election if there is a recovery in the party’s fortunes in the South West.

Then there was a second Liberal Democrat gain, again in the South West and this time in a ward the party hasn’t won since its creation way back in 1979 save for once getting one of the two councillors briefly in the early part of this century:

Congratulations to Richard Keeling and his team. Richard had been an independent councillor for the ward 2011-15 and he and his colleagues will not be the only ones celebrating in that corner of the country as another by-election on the same council brought a third Liberal Democrat gain – again with a huge increase in the Liberal Democrat vote:

Congratulations to Sally Morgan and her team too. She was previously councillor in this ward in 2007-11 after the Lib Dems gained one seat in a split result in 2007.

The two gains in Teignbridge follow another Liberal Democrat gain in a council by-election in the same council back in September.

There was also a Liberal Democrat candidate for the first time since 2007 in a ward over in Suffolk:


Seven contests, three Liberal Democrat gains? Father Christmas has arrived.

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