Double Lib Dem gain from the Conservatives in council by-elections

Continuing the usual lower tempo of council by-elections in April, this week brings us just three contests. All three are Conservative defences.

Highland ward, Perth and Kinross

Council by-elections in Scotland have the quirk of being run under the alternative vote (AV) although the usual all-up council elections are run by STV. That’s a necessary variation (you can’t have STV for a single vacancy). It also means that if the seat up for election isn’t one won by the party that topped the first preferences in the previous STV contest, then there’s a very high chance of the seat changing hands. That, however, isn’t the scenario for this contest.

Fighting the ward of 890 square miles (!) for the Liberal Democrats was Chris Rennie, who contested the ward in another by-election back in 2011 – as an independent candidate.

Lymm South ward, Warrington

Anna Fradgley was the Liberal Democrat candidate in a ward that the Conservatives only just won last time. And didn’t win this time:

Thatcham West ward, West Berkshire

A former safe Liberal Democrat ward, the party even won it during the coalition years until finally losing to the Conservatives in 2015.

This time round, Jeff Brooks was the Lib Dem candidate. His campaign has referred back to the time the party ran the local council:

I … want to use this election to remind voters about the good things that the Liberal Democrats did when we ran the council.

Whether it’s the two libraries we built to improve the education in our area, the three new leisure centres we built to give our communities a hub, or introducing three mobile CCTV camera units and community wardens to West Berkshire, we fought hard for local people.

Liberal Democrat influence made West Berkshire a safer, healthier and more ambitious place for our families to live, and as our Councillor I would make sure we don’t let the Conservatives get away with neglecting residents.

My record as a councillor on tackling crime, standing up for local NHS services and investing in local education means I have the experience to stand up for local people on the issues that matter.

That approach worked rather well:


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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