30% swing sees Lib Dem gain from Conservatives in promising new constituency

Five principal authority council by-elections this week, of which four had Lib Dem candidates, the same number as the last time these seats were up.

First off, a Lib Dem hold in St Albans, with an increased majority over the Conservatives:

This ward is in the new – and very interesting to Lib Dem eyes – constituency of Harpenden and Berkhamsted. Congratulations to new councillor Simon Johns and the team.

Next up, even better news: a gain from the Conservatives in the same area, and same new Parliamentary constituency, at county council level with a huge 30% swing:

Congratulations this time to new councillor Allison Wren.

Next, a result from London:

Thank you to Tudor Griffiths for being the Lib Dem candidate.


Congratulations to Andrew Fletcher and the team for that successful defence.

For what all this means for the running total of council by-election results since the last May elections, see my council by-elections scorecard here.

These by-election results round-ups cover principal authority by-elections as it’s only those for which comprehensive results are available. But elsewhere these Town Council elections caught my eye:

Congratulations to the Gerrards Cross team for three gains from the Conservatives in the six town council seats up on Thursday. The new Lib Dems are Rosa Mancer and Gerry Clare (North Ward) and Diane Holden (East Ward). Their wards are moving into Sarah Green’s constituency as a result of the Parliamentary boundary changes, making the gains all the more welcome.

Understanding the opinion polls

For understanding what is happening in politics, by-elections have the advantage of being real votes in real ballot boxes. But the opinion polls have the advantage of trying to be a representative sample of voters, not just those in the places that happen to have by-elections. To understand the polls properly – and what they do and don’t really tell us – see my book, Polling UnPacked: The History, Uses and Abuses of Political Opinion Polls.

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