Political

No spectacular wins, but a spread of Lib Dem progress in council by-elections

Four council by-elections this week, showing a welcome spread of improvements for the Liberal Democrats in places where the party isn’t (yet) in a position to challenge for the win.

In the Liberal Democrat heydey in Newcastle, this was a ward where the party got councillors elected. But those days went a long time ago and in the last three contests the party finished fourth or fifth in the ward.

Andrew Thrope was the first Liberal Democrat candidate in the history of the ward. Pedants may wish to point out that the ward was only created for the 2015 local elections making this by-election only the second contest for the ward.

Same story again, though this time it is Alison Hesketh-Holt who has the claim to being the first-ever-but-not-quite-as-dramatic-as-that-sounds Lib Dem candidate in the ward. It’s a good hold for the Conservatives, and a poor result for Labour in not taking the seat, given the council’s marginality and the controversy over the Conservative administration’s bungling of background checks on taxi drivers.

Finally, one less good Liberal Democrat result but with a candidate making it a week with a full slate of party candidates – an important achievement:

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.

One response to “No spectacular wins, but a spread of Lib Dem progress in council by-elections”

  1. Leaving aside the Blackpool result, where I presume we had a “paper” (ie paperless candidate) candidate, is there any significance to the figure 15 ? ie the Lib Dem vote share being 15.9%, 15.1% and 14.6% in the other three contests. Presuming these three contests didn’t involve “throwing the kitchen sink at it” campaigns by the local parties (eg unlike the Sunderland and Rotherham recent Lib Dem wins), does the 15% vote share figure signify some kind of national benchmark figure for council by-election results ? Or purely a coincidence ?

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