The other local elections: Lib Dems gain five and hold three

The Liberal Democrats have gained five council seats and retained all three of their previously-held seats in the raft of council by-elections they were contesting yesterday.

In Wallsend, North Tyneside, Michael Huscroft gained from Labour with 58.2%, or 1158 votes.

David Siddans won in Rossett, Harrogate Borough Council, with 48.9% of the vote (897), in a 25.6% swing from the Tories.

From the Harrogate Advertiser:

Councillor John Fox, Constituency Chairman, Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats said: “This is the first Liberal Democrat gain from the Conservatives in the north of England this year. We are absolutely delighted to have overturned a huge Conservative majority.

On Ryedale District Council Di Keal took a seat from the Tories with 59.8% of the vote (381).

On Eden District Council, Liberal Democrat John Tompkins took a seat from the Conservatives in Penrith Pategill with 54.2% of the vote (226).

In White Lee, Hebden Royd Town Council, Lib Dem Julia Gibson beat Labour and gained a seat formerly held by an Independent. (65.7%, 261 votes.)

In Central Watford, Lizz Ayre held the seat for the Lib Dems with 716 votes, as Labour came second with 550. The turnout was 24.39%.

From the Watford Observer:

Following the result Lizz Ayre said: “I am very, very happy with that despite the very dirty campaign run by some people. I am also pleased it was a clear result.”

When asked what her priorities are for central Watford, she added: “To continue to make it a great place. I heard on the doorstep people say a lot of bad things, but it is a great place to live.”

In the Battins by-election, Havant, Liberal Democrat Flora Ponsonby was elected with 452 votes, beating Labour (188), Conservatives (153), with UKIP trailing last on 94 votes. The turnout was 18.09%.

In South East ward, Yate Town Council, Lib Dem Margaret Marshall got over 60% of the vote, with 386 votes as Labour came second on 94.

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29 Comments

  • In Rossett it was Minnsy’s phone ninjas wot won it. 100% wins in council by elections when the candidate employs us.

  • Elizabeth Grant 16th Nov '12 - 3:31pm

    Great to hear such good news. Congratulations to all concerned!

  • Congratulations indeed!

    However, I am bemused by the lack of a PCC thread. Are we so embarrassed by our support for these elections that we won’t even cover them? Speaking for myself, I can understand that point of view.

    There is a chance to retrieve something from them. We should now say – the people have spoken and they have made it clear that they have little interest in these posts and have also showed strong support for independents pledging to keep politics out of policing where available. Accordingly, we listen to them and would support instead a return to Police Authorities (beefed up with some more democracy)….

  • Nice work everyone!

    We were never going to win any of the more high profile elections today. What’s of primary importance is that we fight tooth and nail year-round in places where we have real prospects of gaining or defending the seat.

  • Liberal Neil 16th Nov '12 - 3:50pm

    A great set of local election results :-)

  • Peter Watson 16th Nov '12 - 3:50pm

    @MarkG
    ” I am bemused by the lack of a PCC thread. Are we so embarrassed by our support for these elections that we won’t even cover them?”
    Ditto for Corby. A sentence on the BBC live news feed sums it up: “The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit at the Corby by-election despite demanding a recount.”
    Back in August on another thread I posited: “My hunch for the 2012 byelection – unless something significant happens between now and then – is that Labour could pick up anywhere between 45% and the 55% you mention. Worst case for the Lib Dems could be their own vote collapsing, the BNP vote holding up, UKIP standing against the tory candidate, and maybe the Greens or Respect putting up a candidate to grab disaffected left-leaning anti-labour voters: 4th or 5th place and a lost deposit starts sounding quite likely.” Was I prescient or just stating the bleeding obvious?

  • The strategy for elections through to 2015 is defend defend defend. We need to keep ourselves competitive in places we have built up in the good times. We all know that our vote has shrunk. It’s good that it seems to be collapsing in places where winning is a long way off rather than in places where we are competitive.

    It definitely feels better to lose with more than 15% of the vote rather than lose with less than 5%, but you know what feels even nicer? Winning!

  • Just to be pedantic, it’s Faith Ponsonby not Flora. A lovely person who sadly lost her seat in that ward in May, but what an impressive way to return.

  • Robert Jacques 16th Nov '12 - 4:36pm

    Held a town council seat by over 100 votesin Horsforth

  • Just realised that it’s the council website that says Flora. Whether that’s a mistake or her real first name I don’t know, but either way she’s known as Faith.

  • Great news!

  • Fantastic news!

  • (explanation for sudden duplicate enthusiasm – I kept getting an error message saying “You’ve already said that!” so I had to change the wording!)

  • mark fairclough 16th Nov '12 - 5:40pm

    I bet The BBC, SKYNEWS, ITN NEWS , wont mention yesterday.s council election results,
    or the 18% Manchester Central turnout,, only how wonderful Labour have done.
    Nevermind a proper percentage analysis of all yesterdays results

  • The Lib Dem candidate in Coventry was beaten by spoilt ballot papers.

    I had my say today. I deliberately didn’t vote as I didn’t want to give legitimacy to something I didn’t want. Democracy has worked in that the public have shown they also didn’t want PCCs. Democracy will have failed if they are not scrapped.

  • Paul McKeown 16th Nov '12 - 7:48pm

    If my reading from ALDC is right, the LDs lost only the one seat they were defending, Chesham TC, Waterside:

    Chesham TC, Waterside
    Thursday 15 November 2012
    Con 344 (51.8)
    LD Francis Holly 122 (18.3)
    Green 86 (13.0)
    Lab 75 (11.3)
    UKIP 37 (5.6)
    Majority 222
    Turnout 26.25%
    Con gain from LD

    Is that right?

    If that’s right, then the Lib Dems held three, gained five, lost one. Not too shabby at all!

  • Would it not be in order to ask how many other by-elections took place on the same day for balance?

  • Tony Dawson 16th Nov '12 - 8:29pm

    “Councillor John Fox, Constituency Chairman, Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats said: “This is the first Liberal Democrat gain from the Conservatives in the north of England this year.”

    Funny, I thought I won my seat in May from the Tories. But well done Harrogate. Campaigned on an election which had some point!

  • Helen Flynn 17th Nov '12 - 8:54am

    Tony, I quite agree! I also won my seat from the Tories in a massive win in Nidd Valley, Harrogate Borough Council, in May, and Eric Jaquin won a seat from the Tories in Skipton!!
    We are doing well in the north and we should be shouting about it. Rossett is just another example of where we go up against the Tories with good candidates and good campaigns, we win!
    It was a great win in Rossett. I helped the team –not as much as I would have liked–but as much as I had time to do, and it was a well organised campaign and a great team, mainly of HBC coucillors doing the deliveries. We have another in Bilton in December and are hoping to trounce the Tories, once more! That would be 3 wins from the Tories this year!

  • Also for balance – according to ALDC there were 23 local by-elections yesterday in which both the Lib Dems and UKIP stood. In 11 of them the Lib Dems outpolled UKIP, but in 12 UKIP outpolled the Lib Dems. Given the Lib Dems historical strength in local government, should that not be ringing loud alarm bells?

  • And the first thing I pointed out for balance – which appears to have been deleted – is that there were several dozen local by-elections on Thursday, and in quite a lot of them the Lib Dems polled less than 5% and came fourth, fifth, sixth – or in one case seventh.

  • Andrew Suffield 17th Nov '12 - 12:54pm

    In 11 of them the Lib Dems outpolled UKIP, but in 12 UKIP outpolled the Lib Dems. Given the Lib Dems historical strength in local government, should that not be ringing loud alarm bells?

    Anybody who would vote for UKIP would never vote LD. If anything, this is going to represent severe dissatisfaction with the Tory party, and that flurry of UKIP voters is a huge chunk of their right-wing abandoning them. What you’re seeing here might be the early signs of a split in the Tory party.

    (Which is still quite alarming, but a very different prospect)

  • Nick (not Clegg) 17th Nov '12 - 1:35pm

    “Anybody who would vote for UKIP would never vote LD.”

    Are you sure about that? I recall canvassing, some years ago, when there were local elections and Euro elections on the same date. A lot of people told me that they intended voting LibDem in the locals and UKIP in the Euros. When the votes were counted, it was apparent that many had done just that.

    I suspect that, at that time, some people saw both UKIP and LibDems as convenient vehicles for sending “messages” to the other parties. And that, in areas where we had a good track record in local government, some electors were prepared to support LibDem council candidates despite opposing LibDem policies on national , and international, issues.

    I would suggest that what you need to be alarmed about now is (among other things) the likely outcome of the next Euro elections. When are they, by the way?

  • Andrew

    I don’t mean you should be concerned because UKIP is taking votes directly from the Lib Dems – though anyway I think your statement that “Anybody who would vote for UKIP would never vote LD” is nonsense. I’m sure the Lib Dems attracted a significant number of votes in the past on the basis of “Neither of the above”, and that a fair number of them are currently going to UKIP on the basis of “None of those three”. And if you think all Lib Dem voters in the past have been Euro-enthusiasts, you can’t have knocked on many doors.

  • “Anybody who would vote for UKIP would never vote LD” – this is simply not true. In the south west, for example, we had a lot of people have us as a second preference in a strong constituency before 2010 and that was a seat we lost. So there should be alarm bells ringing.

  • Andrew Suffield 18th Nov '12 - 12:39am

    I’m sure the Lib Dems attracted a significant number of votes in the past on the basis of “Neither of the above”, and that a fair number of them are currently going to UKIP on the basis of “None of those three”.

    Those don’t count for anything – they only happen in unwinnable constituencies. People who are determined to waste their vote will always manage to do so, and do not affect the outcome.

  • Wish this got more media attention! Btw in Havant it was Faith not Flora Ponsonby.

  • Giles Goodall 23rd Nov '12 - 1:25pm

    Lib Dems have in the meantime gained a further two council seats from the Tories in Folkestone, following by-elections for the district and town council in Folkestone Park ward yesterday. Congratulations to Lynne Beaumont and all the team there!

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