10/12ths good news for Liberal Democrats in council by-elections

A full dozen council by-elections this week, with one Lib Dem defence in the mix. That one is in Scotland, caused by Jamie Stone’s victory in the general election resulting in him now standing down as a local councillor.

Across the twelve, there are 10 Lib Dem candidates including in the first result in, from a ward which didn’t have a Lib Dem candidate on the last three outings:

Even better to see a Lib Dem candidate in Barnsley as not only has this ward never had a Lib Dem candidate since it was first contested in 2004, but John Ellis-Mourant this time even managed a clear second place:

Next up a ward which hadn’t previously had a Lib Dem candidate since 2008:

Then one of the two wards without a Lib Dem candidate, even though this one had always had one until last year:

Two Lib Dem candidates too in St. Edmundsbury in wards which most frequently are won unopposed by the Conservatives (11 out of 14 times they wards have been fought, and none of the remaining three times saw a Lib Dem candidate):

A promising pair of results from Northampton too. Both wards which had Lib Dem candidates last time as well, but this time a good increase in the Lib Dem vote getting back into that territory that Jonathan Calder has rightly talked about of more good third places:

Not such happy news alas in Durham:

Nor in the second ward not to have a Lib Dem candidate this week:

And finally, a Lib Dem loss in that former seat of Jamie Stone’s. With Scotland’s use of STV for council ward elections, a by-election (which is therefore instead by AV) often sees the defending party suffer as, unless they topped the STV count in first place, it can be a big uphill struggle to top the poll in the AV by-election. In this case, Jamie Stone had finished third on first preferences in a multi-member STV election, which led to him being elected. But when then it’s only one seat up for an election for a single vacancy, it would have been a big leap to move from third to first.

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.

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