4.4% swing to Lib Dems in Wiltshire by-election

Well done to Harry Ashcroft and the team for achieving a 4.4% to the Lib Dems from the Conservatives in the Wiltshire Council by-election today.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of the Conservative councillor, who was elected as the MP for Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire.

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This entry was posted in Council by-elections.


  • Damn that’s close. But well done to the team – you’ve set it up so you can scoop it up next time. 🙂
    No doubt the permanent doom-sayers will be along here shortly to tell us how this is a terrible result and the party is finished, but I’m glad to get the first comment in. It’s a good result and Harry and his team should be proud.

  • Rodney Watts 11th Mar '20 - 2:01am

    Yes, this is a very good result. Well done!

  • Very close indeed! Should be proud of the campaign you ran

  • No doubt Lab are pleased with their 1.9% that is approximately twice the (sufficient) Con minority.

  • Alex Macfie 11th Mar '20 - 9:26am

    The “permanent doom-sayers” are generally rather quiet when we get a good result!

  • What a silly comment. When the “Head in the sand brigade” take a failure to regain a seat that Ian West held for us with a majority of over 250 from its creation until 2017 and describe it as a good result – Well it shows their usual total unawareness of the facts.

    From what I have heard, the Lib Dem team worked very hard to win the seat on local issues, but the Tories remained buoyed up by their General election success, and ultimately victory proved to be just a bridge too far.

    Well done Harry and the Lib Dem team – I hope you get the success you deserve in 2021.

  • Yes.We had it lost and are now climbing the ladder to take it back. You are correct that the Tories are riding high from the GE. He has got a firm base to build on. It remains to be seen what ‘goodies’ (or baddies ) happen with the next year. In the mean time ALL activists regions should be sorting out their strategy for what they want long term and figure out the tactics needed to win that strategic aim. The Tories are good at it,we should learn..

  • @ John Payne 11th Mar ’20 – 8:58am “No doubt Lab are pleased with their 1.9% that is approximately twice the (sufficient) Con minority”.

    Perhaps they were following the approved expert Lib Dem practice of non-campaigning – so often extolled on LDV – known as “Flying the Flag” ?

  • I look at all the relevant Local Byelections & try to work out The National Vote Equivalent.
    On that basis this result is exactly in line with our Results so far this Year, it is not an especially “Good” result, it is Average.
    Those who argue that we are doing badly in General, with results like this as happy exceptions are just plain wrong.
    We are doing slightly better than we did last May but The Tories have improved more so dont expect fireworks this May.

  • @David Raw “@ John Payne 11th Mar ’20 – 8:58am “No doubt Lab are pleased with their 1.9% that is approximately twice the (sufficient) Con minority”.

    Perhaps they were following the approved expert Lib Dem practice of non-campaigning – so often extolled on LDV – known as “Flying the Flag” ?”

    Or perhaps, given both Labour and Conservative parties are nationlist statists, they felt that they could vote Labour because a Conservative win was better than letting in internationlist economic Liberals?

  • A result doesn’t have to be terrible to have warning signs*. Last year this would have been the sort of seat that would have been a comfortable LD gain in a by-election. As December showed it was wrong to make over-optimistic projections from local by-elections (which aren’t in any way as indicative as people like to think) and equally wrong to make very negative assumptions now.

    *Indeed you can win a seat and it still have warning signs – see for example the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

  • Congratulations. A plucky second place is just as good as a win. The Lib Dems must be looking forward to the Local Elections when the new narrative is second place is a good result almost as good as winning. Danny Alexander and David Laws etc must be so proud to see the party giving a good show of itself since the Coalition days. Good times.

  • Geoffrey Bowring 11th Mar '20 - 4:00pm

    Perhaps, by holding the by-election on a Tuesday, it could be got out of the way before the increased 2020-21 Council Tax bills plopped on people’s door mats next to the Tory leaflets?

  • “A plucky second place is just as good as a win.”

    Oh no, it’s not. Try telling that top Manchester City this season. A runner up can’t do a thing but an elected Councillor most certainly can – if they’ve got anything about them……. subject, of course, to the defenestration of services that has been applied to local government finance since 2010.

    @ TCO According to my mental arithmetic, Mr Gladstone left office 126 years ago last Tuesday, so maybe you ought to catch up by reading Messrs Hobson, Hobhouse and Rowntree.

    Here’s your starter for ten : “Hobhouse: Liberalism and Other Writings” http://www.cambridge.org Cambridge Core – Texts in Political Thought.

  • I think maybe Silvio, as is his wont, was being sarcastic about pluck second places.

    It is often the case that when a long-established councillor like Ian West retires (or is defeated) the LibDem vote proves to have been largely a function of that individual’s efforts rather than demonstrating widespread support for the Party. On that basis to come so close to winning the seat back is reasonably encouraging.

  • How will we handle a revived Labour party under Starmer?

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