Liberal Democrats win in Cambridge with huge swing from Labour

Three council by-elections this week, though alas only two Liberal Democrat candidates: a reminder of how much more we still have to do to rebuild the party’s local government base. But in the two wards where there were Lib Dem candidates it was a great pair of results: a big swing from Labour in holding a seat in Cambridge and a gain off the Conservatives in Worcester. No wonder Lib Dem general election plans are looking at an increasing number of winnable seats.

Newnham, Cambridge

A Lib Dem defence, triggered by happier circumstances than most by-elections: Lucy Nethsingha’s election to the European Parliament. Josh Matthews stood to replace her… and succeeded with some style:

Irthlingborough Waterloo, East Northamptonshire

No Lib Dem candidate, continuing the pattern of the previous three contests stretching back 12 years to the ward’s creation.

Claines, Worcester

A Conservative seat with Mel Allcott standing for the Liberal Democrats in a ward the party last won in 2011. It’s now got a Lib Dem councillor again:

This gain is particularly welcome as it gives the Liberal Democrats our first councillor on Worcester Council after a four year stretch without any. All the more so as Mel Allcott had twice already came so close to winning in this ward – missing out by just 62 and 95 votes in the last two contests.

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.

6 responses to “Liberal Democrats win in Cambridge with huge swing from Labour”

  1. A collapse for the Labour brand is not surprising … where is the so called Momentum energ? It has robbed them of leadership and relevance to UK politics. The sooner the “liberal” option is the dominant option against the “conservative” option the better. What they did to us in the 1920s is about to happen to them – division, decline, derision.

  2. We aren’t fielding candidates in local by-elections because some of our constituency parties are moribund. Is it not the responsibility of the regional party, in such cases, to step in and ensure every by-election is contested with a Liberal candidate? If not, what are they doing? One of the advantages of the Area Agent system introduced by John Spiller in 1984 was that we had a professional campaigner in every region whose responsibility was to ensure by-elections were fought. In their short existence they achieved marvels.

  3. I agree with Paul.. Regions are responsible..!! It is their job where an area is dormant to communicate with members, and it is they, or a neighbouring local party arranged by the Region, to support member involvement and cover elections. HQ and English Party(what are they for?)should be on the phone constantly to Regions to remind them of their responsibility.. no excuses.!

  4. Interesting point about the system in 1984, slightly before my time I’m afraid. But one thing every Local Party can do is have a By-election Spotter, checking sources regularly to find where vacancies have arisen and circulating info so that decisions can be made about whether to Petition. This is actually quite difficult to do – local authorities may only put up one small paper notice on a public noticeboard and one copy in one place on their website and consider that this is “sufficient publicity”. Spotting to include in neighbouring places where there may be a derelict LP that could be kick-started by a by-election. (A good example near where I am is South Derbyshire, which I’m afraid is a total black hole.)

    In our Region there currently isn’t the money to pay a “professional campaigner”, so a volunteer is the only viable option.

  5. Whilst doing well in Tory places it remains to be seen if we can take seats off Labour. They could be more tribal and be harder to beat. To be a NATIONAL party we will have to take Labour seats.

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