After the promising portents for the Liberal Democrats ahead of May’s big round of local elections, and the very bad news for Ukip, this week’s council by-elections bring four tests of how the parties are actually doing: two Ukip defences, one Liberal Democrat defence and one Conservative defence.
The first result in is very much in line with those omens – Ukip losing a seat:
Good to see a Liberal Democrat candidate again in a ward the party has usually contested but passed up on last time.
(The Ukip councillor who was elected last time switched to the independents before his death which caused this by-election, but as Ukip won the ward last time it was fought it’s fair to say on the electoral front that this is Conservative gain from them.)
Next up, a Conservative hold with a decent rise in the Liberal Democrat vote, putting the party in second place in the ward for the first time since 2008:
Then a good solid Liberal Democrat hold, with a nice swing from the Conservatives in one of those Parliamentary seats the Tories are worried about losing to the Lib Dems:
Congratulations to Richard Samuel and the team. But even more congratulations to Susan Morgan and her team for winning a seat back from Ukip in crushing style:
The swing is so large that Susan Morgan polled more votes than the Lib Dems got in 2015 in the ward – even though that was on the same day as the general election and so had much higher turnout.
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.