A bumper set of by-elections, with a bumper set of political twists and turns…

Four Labour, one Lib Dem and one independent seat make up the mini-bounty of council by-elections this week. All made more complicated by two bursts of candidate trouble – one each for Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Plus an extra complexity twist in Bradford, unusually high security in Tower Hamlets and a strong sprinkling of excellent Lib Dem performances. Read on to find out more…

Bolton and Undercliffe, Bradford

Previous councillor Rachel Sunderland stood for the Lib Dems, hoping to take back the seat from Labour she previously held. To add to the complexity of the contest here, another of the ward councillors is former Lib Dem MP David Ward, previously expelled from the party and about whom there were erroneous media reports in the last few days about him being back in the party. To quote the official party statement: “David Ward is not a member of the Liberal Democrats and was previously expelled from the party for bringing it into disrepute.”

The result of all this? A Lib Dem gain.

Totteridge and Bowerdean, Buckinghamshire

Ben Holkham stood for the Lib Dems in a seat the party won in 2013 but then lost in 2017, putting it in the small group of wards where the party moved backwards after coalition. (Explained, in this case, by the strong independent showing – winning the ward no less – when there had been no independent in 2013. That independent was, in fact, the person previously elected as a Lib Dem, and his death triggered this week’s by-election.)

The Labour candidate was arrested by the police shortly before polling day on suspicion of bribery before, during or after an election. And yet still won:

Well done Ben on that vote increase… especially as it might be the case there will be another by-election here before long.

Thornton, Lambeth

Rebecca Macnair stood for the Liberal Democrats and secured a fabulous vote increase:

Lansbury, Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets nearly pulled off a brilliant result last May, but tragically fell just short in two different wards – coming away empty-handed rather than the opposition on the council. Since then, the party has picked up a councillor and many supporters thanks to a switch of party by Rabina Khan.

Muhammad Abul Asad was the Liberal Democrat candidate.

Shadwell, Tower Hamlets

Abjol Miah was the Liberal Democrat candidate here, and remained so on the ballot paper but he has been suspended by the party whilst allegations of anti-semitism against him – based on social media activity a few years back – are investigated.

Evendons, Wokingham

Sarah Kerr stood for the Lib Dems, trying to hold Helen Power’s seat after she retired for health reasons. The ward is in John Redwood‘s constituency.

And what a great Lib Dem hold it was for Sarah Kerr:

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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.

4 responses to “A bumper set of by-elections, with a bumper set of political twists and turns…”

  1. I see the Indies are doing we.ll again. I suppose it is too early to see if their is a change in politics going on, ie the 2 old parties on their way out ,new boys on the block coming up.
    Indies who were Liberal in the past any chance of wooing them back to the party?They have expertise and had voters voting for them. Could be useful in the future. Likewise other Indies who have lost their seats bring them into the fold.

  2. As I have said before, I am always suspicious of YouGov knowing who started it.
    Being a cynic have the others with 41% been got at.?
    It would be interesting to know who and their backgrounds are picked to go after the info. Equally the ‘loaded’? question asked. Which papers the respondent reads and so on.

    • It’s often over-looked what a big role Peter Kellner (Labour, not Conservative) played in YouGov. Conspiracy theories about YouGov tend to rather ignore him as he doesn’t fit with their simplistic caricature.

      Plus of course that all polling firms make far more money from their non-political polling – and if their political polling is widely wrong, they put their reputation and hence their income at risk for all that other work.

  3. Liberal Democrat gets 63% of the vote in Redwood’s constituency with a 16% swing.! Why are a lot of independent commentators still saying “Why are the Lib Dems not doing better?” How much better have we got to do? (Before we get better media coverage) 7.2.2019. Should we be shouting this one out as more than anecdotal?

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