2 gains from Labour on Merseyside – and very nearly a third

Maghull Victory July 2013Winning a council seat in Merseyside off Labour would be a significant achievement.  Winning two on the same day would be virtually unheard of.

Yesterday, in Maghull, Sefton MBC, Merseyside, Lib Dems won two seats off Labour and came within 9 votes of winning a third.  The by-elections concerned took place in three adjacent seats on Maghull Town Council.

Maghull Town Council, 8 miles to the North West of Liverpool City Centre, is the largest civil parish in the country and levies a Band D council tax precept of nearly £90.

LabourTown councillors in three adjacent wards, Maghull North, Maghull East and Maghull South resigned in June.  North and East wards, each with electorates of around 5000, together combine to form the Sefton MBC ward of Sudell which Labour won in May 2012 by a 59% to 23% margin over the Lib Dems,

Yesterday Lib Dems notionally gained Sudell Ward with 49% of the vote against 44% for Labour, a swing of 20.3% from Labour to Lib Dems since the last Sefton Borough elections in 2012.

In terms of the three individual Maghull Town Council wards, as compared to the last town council elections in 2011, swings of 10.5% from Labour to Lib Dems were achieved in North and East Wards, and a swing of 9% in South Ward.

The full results were:

Maghull North Ward

Jen Robertson (Lib Dem) 546 52.0% (+22.3%)

Labour 504 48.0% (+1.5%)

Lib Dem GAIN from Labour

Maghull East Ward

Bruce Hubbard (Lib Dem) 621 46.2% (+14.3%)

Labour 557 41.5% (-6.8%)

UKIP 165 12.3% (-)

Lib Dem GAIN from Labour

Maghull South Ward

Labour 180 42.4% (-12.2%)

Geoff Howe (Lib Dem) 171 40.2% (+6.1%)

UKIP 74 17.4% (-)

Labour HOLD

The feedback from the campaign team is that they attribute a large part of their success to the fact that a lot of the electorate have rumbled Labour.  More than one activist reported that there was a real sense of disillusionment on the doorstep with the local Labour MP (a proponent of the “if you say something often enough, then people start to believe it” school of political propaganda) and the Labour Council leadership.

A fantastic effort by the Lib Dem team in Maghull, supported by colleagues in Southport, the rest of Sefton and Liverpool.

 

 

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

41 Comments

  • David Wilkinson 26th Jul '13 - 4:42pm

    Well done to all in Magull and nice to see Bruce back on the council, its always nice to see Labour with a long face as they are on a par with Charles I in thinking they have divine rights.

  • “LabourTown councillors in three adjacent wards, Maghull North, Maghull East and Maghull South resigned in June.”

    It would be interesting to know the circumstances – particularly as on another thread people have been emphasising the relevance of the special circumstances in Kingston.

  • David Evans 26th Jul '13 - 5:49pm

    If it was to the North west of Liverpool City Centre, wouldn’t that put it in the Irish Sea?

  • One special and local circumstance Sefton Lib Dems have had to contend with for some time has been a very slick and well organised and determined local Labour opposition . These victories given the current national polls should not be underestimated . A class act !

  • A Social Liberal 26th Jul '13 - 6:59pm

    On the other Maghull thread I asked for the percentage of the turnout vs the total electorate. Could you give them please Simon

  • It must have been about 23% in Maghull North if this report of a previous by-election in that ward is accurate:
    http://www.billesterson.org.uk/maghull-town-council-by-election-results-labour-scores-hat-trick

  • Interested to know:

    Is Maghull historically a Labour area, I read somewhere that until recently all seats were LD?

    Which party didn’t stand in the North ward as both parties increased their vote?

    Interesting result but on such small seats and turn outs context can be everything

  • Colin Richardson 26th Jul '13 - 9:34pm

    Well done. Now can some pressure be put on Sefton Council regarding the dreadful conditions on some of our pavements. My wife is disabled and has great difficulty because when the pavement was supposedly relaid in York road several years ago The quality of the work was SUB SUB SUB standard.using mainly the existing flags and and old flags from Norfolk Road which was relaid at the same time,and a super job to boot ,all new flags. I have phoned Highways on three occasions over the last few months and been told someone would be in contact, but no such thing has happened…Hope you can help . Colin Richardson.

  • A Social Liberal 26th Jul '13 - 10:44pm

    Many thanks for the info. Can this be part of the reason that the Lib Dems got in?

  • I don’t know if there were local factors at play but surely anyone can see that the absence of Conservative candidates in all 3 wards this time must have been a huge factor.

  • @OllyT. A factor, but not a huge factor; Tories tend to stay at home when there is no Tory on the ballot. In two of the three wards there was a UKIP candidate to soak up Tory votes.

  • Regarding Conservative candidates – in 2011 there was one Tory for the 5 seat North Ward, one Tory for the 5 seat East ward and no Tory in the 2 seat South Ward. Their complete absence this time hardly made much difference, but there was UKIP intervention in two wards this time, for what that was worth.

    It’s worth remembering that North and East wards each have electorates of around 5,000 – which is bigger than many District Council wards.

    Also, I believe that these are only the 2nd and 3rd Lib Dem gains from Labour anywhere in the North West of England since the last general election.

  • Tony Dawson 27th Jul '13 - 1:50pm

    The ‘special circumstances ‘of this election were that Labour panicked and started lying through their teeth about matters which ordinary voters could see themselves were clearly untrue. The by-elections were called after a group of local councillors resigned due to their dislike of other councillors associated with the Labour MP’s office interfering with them for ends which were clearly not held in common.

  • “Regarding Conservative candidates – in 2011 there was one Tory for the 5 seat North Ward, one Tory for the 5 seat East ward and no Tory in the 2 seat South Ward. Their complete absence this time hardly made much difference, but there was UKIP intervention in two wards this time, for what that was worth.”

    That makes me wonder whether the calculation of the percentage changes in the article above takes proper account of the number of candidates in the previous election. For example, the figures indicate that in Maghull North the combined LD and Labour percentages increased by 23.8 points. I don’t think it’s arithmetically possible for that 23.8% to reflect the vote for a single Tory candidate in a five-seat ward, is it?

  • “Regarding Conservative candidates – in 2011 there was one Tory for the 5 seat North Ward, one Tory for the 5 seat East ward and no Tory in the 2 seat South Ward. Their complete absence this time hardly made much difference, but there was UKIP intervention in two wards this time, for what that was worth.”

    That makes me wonder whether the calculation of the percentage changes in the article above takes proper account of the number of candidates in the previous election. For example, the figures indicate that in Maghull North the combined LD and Labour percentages increased by 23.8 points. I don’t think it’s arithmetically possible for that 23.8% to reflect the vote for a single Tory candidate in a five-seat ward, is it?

  • @ Simon Shaw
    I ‘m sorry, that is tribal waffle. So when the Lib Dems lost all their seats in 2011 and 2012 was that because the voters of Maghull had “rumbled the Lib Dems”? Having looked into the results a bit more closely it’s fairly obvious that you picked up the Tory votes as they weren’t standing in these by=elections.

  • Tony Dawson 27th Jul '13 - 6:51pm

    Olly T cannot count.

    Lib Dems vote (not share) is fractionally up on the 2011 Sudell Ward result while Labour are ONE THOUSAND down.

    Chris T, nobody believes ANYTHING on Bill Esterson’s website any more.

    Hence this:

    http://billwith.blogspot.co.uk/2013_05_01_archive.html

    That’s why they’ve been rumbled. If they find their policies are unpopular, they just say they are the policies of their opposition. If they do something unpopular they just say they are against what they themselves are doing. Simples.

  • Tony Dawson 27th Jul '13 - 6:56pm

    @Nigel Ashton:

    “Regarding Conservative candidates – in 2011 there was one Tory for the 5 seat North Ward, one Tory for the 5 seat East ward and no Tory in the 2 seat South Ward.”

    In the recent Maghull North by-election there was a Tory candidate (he stood as a Tory recently in FOUR different elections on the same day!) but he was standing as a Labour Candidate. His candidacy seems to have set the Labour campaign on fire in a manner they could not match this month.

  • “As an outsider you might say that but you clearly haven’t read Nigel Ashton’s comment.”

    The problem is that comment seems to be completely at odds with the figures in your article. He says the Tories’ absence “hardly made much difference”, but your figures for Maghull North, for example, show the Lib Dem vote rising by 22.3 percentage points, and the Labour vote rising by 1.5 percentage points. Where did the extra 23.8% come from, if not from the Tories? Or are those percentage changes incorrect?

  • Chris, you really are clutching at straws. The Maghull East & North campaigns were fought by Labour and Lib Dems over the past six weeks or so in the same manner as any annual tightly-fought electoral contest. The most recent results (May 2012) for a comparable campaign in the same local government ward (identical boundaries) were:

    Labour Lynn Gatherer 2,124
    Liberal Democrat Clifford Mainey 820
    UKIP Gordon Kinread 286
    Conservative Wendy Moore 285
    Green Andrew Rossall 86

    So, on a considerably reduced turn-out, Lib Dems increased their actual number of votes by more than 25 per cent and the Labour vote drops by over 1000 (over 50 per cent of their 2012 figure).

    You are completely (deliberately?) forgetting differential abstention. I doubt whether there were 50 former Tory voters across both wards who supported the Lib Dems this week.

    The result in Maghull on Thursday could not have been obtained without three factors:

    (a) direct swaps from Labour to Lib Dem
    (b) massive abstention and disillusionment by former Labour voters
    (c) a high turnout by core Lib Dem voters.

    The reasons for all the above are hardly rocket-science. Labour in Maghull has done very nicely over the past two years by lying to the residents and, largely, being believed. This time they upped the ante and made such a collection of ridiculous and preposterous lies across a range of subjects that they could not sustain any credibility and their support fell apart.

  • “You might understand things better if you refer to the detailed analysis to be found at the bottom of this: http://birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/2-gains-from-labour-on-merseyside-and.html

    Thanks. I do understand things better now, and as I suspected the percentage change figures are not based on comparison with the true percentages of votes cast for each party in 2011.

    What you have done in calculating the 2011 percentages is to take the largest vote for each party and ignore the others, despite the fact that there were five candidates each for Labour and the Lib Dems, and only one Tory and one Independent.

    The effect of this (in Maghull North) is to artificially inflate the Tory and Independent votes to a total of nearly 24% when in fact only about 7% of the votes were cast for these candidates. Based on the true percentages cast for each party in 2011, the changes in the percentage vote would actually be +17 for the LDs and -10 for Labour.

    That is why your percentage changes showed an enormous 23.8% apparently having gone from other parties to LD and Labour, despite the fact that only 7% of votes had been cast for other parties in 2011!

  • Tony

    I am not “clutching” at straws – I am simply trying to clarify the reason for the apparent contradiction between the figures for percentage change in the article and the statements that the Tory vote in 2011 was insignificant. And it has now been clarified.

    “I doubt whether there were 50 former Tory voters across both wards who supported the Lib Dems this week. “

    Obviously it depends what you mean by “Tory voters”. In a five-seater ward with only one Tory candidate, there were 348 voters who included one Tory on their ballot paper in 2011. One might guess that most of those voted LD this time – but it’s equally likely that most of them voted for three or four LDs along with the one Tory in 2011.

    The comparison between a normal election and a by-election in a multi-seat ward is far from simple, and figures like those given in the article can be extremely misleading if they are not properly explained.

  • I find it rather touching (and proof that we are the same party that we always have been) that so much energy has been devoted on this thread to the proper interpretation of the results of three town council by-elections !

  • Simon

    Sorry, but it’s just nonsensical to analyse this result on the basis that the Tory vote was 15.7% in 2011, simply because (simplifying things) something like 15.7% of the voters included the sole Tory candidate among their five choices. Quite possibly most of them also voted for three or four Lib Dem candidates. What earthly sense does it make to count them as Tories?

    For obvious reasons, it makes even less sense to say the Independent vote was 8.1%.

    Obviously what I’m suggesting is that you should simply work on the percentage of total votes cast for each party.

    On past experience I suspect I’m wasting my breath explaining this to you. But there should be no scope for argument about your assertion that the Labour to LD swings are “completely unaffected” by this consideration. That is demonstrably wrong, as you’ll see if you think about it – or if that doesn’t work, calculate the numbers. (Ironically enough, your procedure is actually reducing the swing, because it is artificially reducing the combined Labour/LD vote.)

  • Simon

    Don’t worry, I don’t take it at all personally. And I don’t think you should either. But frankly – whatever Rallings and Thrasher may or may not do – I think most people will see how nonsensical it is to calculate percentage votes for each party by discarding the votes for two thirds of the candidates (all the discarded votes being for Labour and the LDs).

    But really I think you should correct your error about the calculation method making no difference to the Lab/LD swing. Because you must now realise it was an error.

  • LDProfessor 29th Jul '13 - 8:06pm

    @Chris
    ALDC have been taking the highest vote for each party for years. The idea is that by taking the highest vote it represents the maximum vote achieved in that election.

    Swings are calculated based on the same method being used over and over again.
    The highest vote system can therefore easily cope with parties only fielding 1 or 2 candidates in a 3 member ward.

    You say it is nonsensical. That’s your opinion. No calculation system is perfect.

  • You say it is nonsensical. That’s your opinion.

    Yes, I do. I say it’s absolutely nonsensical to take the ballot paper of someone who votes:
    LD
    LD
    LD
    LD
    CON
    and count that person as a Tory.

    If you were canvassing, and someone told you that was how they were going to vote, would you put them in the ‘Con’ column?

  • Simon

    OK. Fair enough. But in your system, that ballot paper would still boost the Tory percentage every time, and the Lib Dem percentage four fifths of the time. It would be counted more as a Tory vote than a Lib Dem vote, despite the fact that it contained four crosses next to Lib Dem candidates, and only one next to a Tory.

    Why not simply base the percentages on the actual votes cast, rather than discarding most of them and introducing a bias towards parties that didn’t put up a full slate of candidates?

  • Simon

    You can argue about whether it will be four fifths or a bit more than four fifths if you like, but the essential question remains the same – why not simply base the percentages on all the votes cast for each party?

    And maybe you can also acknowledge your error about the swings being unaffected by the calculation method. In fact, the swing from Labour to the Lib Dems (in Maghull North at least) is higher when the percentages are based on all the votes cast!

  • Any calculation with multi member wards will be a compromise because of the propensity for split voting. That’s magnified when people stand fewer candidates than their are places as the extra votes have to go somewhere.

    ALDC went with the top candidate for the prettty simple reason that so did Rallings and Tresher and it is their reference books which are used for past results (and from which their calculations of past election performance come from).

  • “That’s a major problem, surely?”

    But the major problem with your method (or whoever you want to attribute it to) is that it shows this massive boost of 23.8% for the combined Labour/LD vote – with both vote shares rising – owing to the absence of the Tory and Independent candidates, even though you seem to agree with Nigel that their absence actually had little effect.

    You are saying, aren’t you, that the main effect was a Labour-LD swing, but that is completely obscured in your analysis – beacuse the changes in the votes of the two major parties have been distorted by the artificial inflation of the vote shares of the minor candidates in 2011.

    It would still be nice if you could acknowledge your error about the swings being unaffected, by the way.

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.

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 ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Chris Moore
    Mick, our record at holding by-elections in the current political generation, i.e. last 25 years, has been distorted by the wipe out in 2015, at which point we ...
  • Mick Taylor
    I reject emphatically the idea that Corbyn was as toxic for Labour as militant. He actually did quite well in 2017 and only started doing badly when the entire ...
  • Mick Taylor
    @Roger Billins. I was 12 when the Liberals won Orpington and helped with the campaign. Eric held the seat for 8 years and then lost it in the disastrous electio...
  • John Marriott
    @David Raw Thanks for thinking of me. I’ve been on a bit of a self imposed sabbatical from LDV, which looks like being permanent. I think I’ve ruffled too ...
  • Tristan Ward
    @Paul Barker "everyone is running down the Solid Labour win in Wakefield" Seems about right to me: 12.75 % compared to our 30% swing 39% turnout (be...