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.
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.
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.