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Political

Lib Dems snatch one council seat from Conservatives and just miss out on second

Eight Conservative (sort of – see Mendip below) and two Labour defences make up a bumper set of ten council by-elections this week.

Kennington, Ashford

No Lib Dem candidate, alas, even though there was one last time (in 2015).

Norden, Basingstoke and Deane

Zoe Rogers stood for the Liberal Democrats.

Ferdown, Dorset and Ferndown Central, East Dorset

These wards at different levels (county and district council) had both been held for the Conservatives by Steve Lugg, with his untimely death therefore triggering a pair of contests. Matthew Coussell was the Lib Dem candidate for both contests, a welcome improvement on the previous contests in these seats when only one of the two had a Lib Dem.

That Ferndown result shows promising continuing gains for the Liberal Democrats: in the 2016 by-election for Ferndown the party secured 7%, then in 2017 11% before this week’s further increase. That’s a trend going in the right direction.

Three Rivers Rural, Hertfordshire

It’d be quite fun if more wards were named with a similar frankness as this one, the ward in which Phil Williams stood for the Liberal Democrats and in an area of both traditional Conservative and Liberal Democrat strength.

Wells St Thomas’, Mendip

Thomas Ronan stood for the Liberal Democrats in this unusually punctuated ward, situated in the county division which former MP Tessa Munt won in 2017. The vacancy was for a Conservative seat, but the person in question had been elected as a Lib Dem before switching parties. So more like a Lib Dem defence too and hence the vote share change figures:

Coatbridge South, North Lanarkshire

Christopher Wilson was the Liberal Democrat candidate, a welcome move given the party didn’t put up anyone last time.

Linton, South Derbyshire

Former Parliamentary candidate Lorraine Johnson stood for the Liberal Democrats:

Bosmere, Suffolk

Steve Phillips stood for the Lib Dems in a ward that used to be Lib Dem held (including by Ros Scott, the peer and former Party President), but which the Conservatives won in 2017. He came so close to winning it again:

Belmont, Sutton

Dean Juster was the Lib Dem candidate in a ward that has been consistently Conservative, even during the years of the best Lib Dem council election results in the south west London borough. Which makes this result for the party an impressive one:

As psephological expert Lewis Baston puts it:

Winning in a dyed-in-the-wool Tory ward like Belmont was never likely, so the closeness of the result gives Lib Dems grounds for cautious optimism.

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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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