Some excellent news from Cambridgeshire, as reported on the NE Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats website:
“There was a shock defeat for the Tories in the March North town council by-election on Thursday 19th September 2013. Lib Dem candidate Stephen Court stormed to victory gaining almost 50% of the votes cast and a majority of 156 over the defeated Conservative candidate. Stephen becomes the first Lib Dem councillor on March Town Council and breaks a stranglehold that the Tories had on the March North ward for many years. He is a local campaigner for improved rail connections, open spaces, decent bus services and local community facilities. Stephen ran a strong campaign earlier this year when the council wanted to railroad through development on the open space at Estover. And he shamed the town council into agreeing to issue voting cards at every election. "I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my campaign. I am delighted to have been elected as a town councillor for March North and look forward to using my new role to get a better deal for March and its residents.”
In Oxford, meanwhile, Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Bearder finished just 37 votes behind the winning Labour candidates. Technically this was a Labour gain from the Lib Dems: it’s a two member ward and the by-election was for the seat we won in 2010. When the ward was contested in 2012, however, Labour comfortably beat the Lib Dems (who finished third) by more than 150 votes. However frustrating this year’s close run might have been for the local team, and perhaps the rest of us can feel a bit guilty if we didn’t help them call voters on the day, they should take heart from the fact that they have made a massive improvement on the 2012 result. In one of the most challenging wards for the party in Oxford – North ward has a large number of students – we leapfrogged the Tories to come second and are now in a very good position to win the seat in 2014.