Council by-elections: what’s been going on?

Over the last six weeks there have been twenty council by-elections in the key Westminster constituencies* for the next general election. Looking at these twenty results provides a much more useful story of what is happening in the areas which really matter to each party than overall council by-election results.

What story do they tell?

Good news for the Liberal Democrats in the Lib Dem – Tory battleground seats: an average swing of 7.1% swing from Tory to Lib Dem with a net gain of one for the Lib Dems in the four contests.

Good news for the Liberal Democrats in the Lib Dem – Labour battleground seats: an average swing of 4.7% from Labour to Lib Dem in the two contests.

Bad news for the Conservatives in the Conservative – Labour battleground seats: an average swing of 1.3% from Conservative to Labour in the fourteen contests. In only one of these seats did the Conservatives make a gain (Pembrokeshire), but that was from the Lib Dems and cancelled out by a Lib Dem gain from them in Rossendale.

Of course, council by-election results are just that, but then opinion polls (especially those from [insert least favoured polling company of your choice here]) are only opinion polls, Parliamentary by-elections are only Parliamentary by-elections etc etc.

* The top 150 Conservative targets, top 150 Liberal Democrat targets and top 50 Labour targets based on straight swing to win on the notional results for new constituencies taken from Rallings and Thrasher.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.


  • “Lib Dem – Labour battleground seats: an average swing of 4.7% from Labour to Lib Dem in the two contests”

    One was in Brent Central, where was the second contest?

  • Geoffrey Payne 29th Sep '07 - 3:29pm

    I don’t see the point in discussing the implications of a few local by-elections. If there is an upsurge in Lib Dem support, there has to be a reason for it, and currently there is none. The Lib Dems need to think of reasons why the electorate should vote for us, and that is what we should be discussing here.

  • “I believe that was the Crystal Palace by-election in Lewisham West & Penge.”

    Thanks Will Howells. Now that you mention it, I recall it…there was another one in Lewisham too (Lewisham East constituency but Lewisham East may not be in the top 150 LD targets)

  • Geoffrey Payne 30th Sep '07 - 7:24am

    As Lib Dems we dislike the centralising tendencies and the hostility towards civil liberties of New Labour, but we also dislike the anti-Europeanism and the lack of committment towards redistribution of wealth and the mixed messages on Green matters of the Tories.
    Historically the reflexive dislike of the Lib Dems towards the Tories is our memory of Thatcherism, and which even today still has a malign influence on the party.
    I want the Lib Dems to win seats from both parties and going into coalition with either party is a very unattractive proposition. Of course the arithmetic may force us to consider it, in which case the deal breaker has to be a committment to proportional representation, and a recognition that global warming is the most important issue facing the planet today and that radical policies need to tackle it.
    This I suggest is what we should be debating rather than a few local by-elections.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNick Baird 24th Jun - 7:39pm
    @Paul Murray - "failure is often just success deferred" Thank f**k for that..........
  • User AvatarPaul Murray 24th Jun - 7:22pm
    It's a well known story that when Musk first launched paypal in 1999 it was voted one of the 10 worst business ideas ever. Why?...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 24th Jun - 7:17pm
    TCO: "do not be disheartened by the handful of left-wing comments raging against the dying of their light." James "the vocal minority of right wingers...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 24th Jun - 6:57pm
    David Orbison For those on the left perhaps time to leave what is rapidly becoming an inward obsessive debating society and join Labour. I am...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 24th Jun - 6:55pm
    @ Keith Sharp I couldn’t canvass in 2015 because I couldn’t defend what I consider the stupid idea that the UK was like Greece. Of...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 24th Jun - 6:50pm
    Dave Orbison There is no shortage of intellectual debate and then there’s much wringing of hands as to those political opponents doing despicable things such...
Sat 1st Jul 2017