Political

Three by-elections but one Lib Dem seat lost before any votes were counted

A doubly unusual final trio of council by-elections before Christmas. All three seats up this week were Liberal Democrat held, but only two of them had Lib Dem candidates.

Anstey, Charnwood

John Sutherington was the one Liberal Democrat councillor on Charnwood, and with his sad death following a battle with serious illness, there was no-one bidding to take his place:

The local party tried hard to find a candidate, without success, but I hear that their efforts are paying fruit in candidates for the May local elections. Best of luck with them.

The Conservative council leader, Jonathan Morgan, said of John Sutherington:

John was a popular councillor and cared greatly about the community and residents he served. He was also a great friend to many members on Charnwood Borough Council and he will be sorely missed.

We know he has battled health issues over recent years and it is testament to his character that he attended full council just a few weeks ago to make sure residents in his ward were represented.

Kent Estuary, Cumbria

Caused by the death of Ian Stewart, the deputy leader of the council, this by-election took place in the ward which is Tim Farron’s home patch and with Pete McSweeney standing for the Liberal Democrats.

As his wife said of Ian Stewart:

Ian loved working as a councillor. People did not realise the hours he put into it – still doing emails at gone 9.30pm, having been in Carlisle since 8.30am, several days a week.

He always wanted to do something for the community and he didn’t just talk – he listened as well. He didn’t always have the answers but he always knew how to point you in the right direction.

I wonder how many wards are in one county but have the name of another county in their own name?

Arnside and Milnthorpe, South Lakeland

Also caused by Ian Stewart’s death, this by-election is for a different level of council but for the same area, and had Helen Chaffey standing for the Liberal Democrats.

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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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