Three council by-elections this week, two Labour defences and a rare Northern Irish council by-election.
The rarity of the latter type of contest is due to the electoral system used. As in Scotland, the Single Transferable Vote (STV) is used to elect councillors in Northern Ireland from multimember wards. In Scotland, when a councillor departs, the by-election is then contested using the Alternative Vote (AV) – which, in effect, is STV for a single vacancy. In Northern Ireland, however, things are different, as the excellent Britain Elects council by-election preview explains:
Irish and Northern Irish local government, together with the Northern Ireland Assembly … operate a system where the party of the departed councillor are asked to nominate a replacement to serve in their stead… Independent councillors, who don’t have a party machinery to do this kind of thing, instead get to file an ordered list of substitutes who, in the event of a vacancy, are contacted in turn to see if they are (a) eligible and (b) still interested in being a councillor. Independent councillor Jim Brown had lodged a list of three substitutes, none of whom passed these tests after Brown died earlier this year; and so we are having a by-election, the first local by-election in Northern Ireland since 2010.
Pippa Morgan stood for the Liberal Democrats and scored a very promising second place:
Carrick Castle, Mid and East Antrim council
Lauren Gray stood for the Alliance, the Liberal Democrats’s sister party in Northern Ireland.
Iffley Fields and St Mary’s, Oxfordshire
Josie Procter stood for the Liberal Democrats:
As that tweet mentions, this by-election had the unusual twist of the Lib Dem candidate backing the Greens:
Josie Procter, who will stand for the Lib Dems in the Iffley Fields and St Mary’s by-election on October 18, has told residents to support David Williams.
She said: “Iffley Fields and St Mary’s has been my home for four years and its representation on the county council is very important to me. This election will be extremely close and the current Conservative administration on the county council needs a strong and diverse opposition to hold it to account.
“Labour have propped up the Conservatives on the county council time and time again, just as they have nationally on Brexit.” [Oxford Mail]
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.