ALDC by-election Report, 11th April

There were just 2 principal council by-elections last week. Both were Liberal Democrat defences fought in difficult or unusual circumstances. However in both elections the Lib Dem candidates and campaign teams did themselves proud and achieved superb results.

We start in North Yorkshire Council where we successfully held Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone ward following the resignation of an Independent councillor elected as a Lib Dem.

Congratulations to Councillor Andrew Timothy and the local Lib Dem team on winning and  retaining the ward so decisively with a majority of over 400 and 43% of the vote. An impressive feat to uphold our majority with a larger set of party candidates than before. A marvellous win for the Lib Dems in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Council, Hookstone Woodland and Stray
Liberal Democrats (Andrew Timothy): 1094 (43%, -7.8%)
Conservative: 768 (30.8%, -4%)
Green Party: 376 (15.1%, new)
Reform UK: 141 (5.7%, new)
Labour: 116 (4.6%, -2.6%)

The other by-election this week took place on Highlands Council in Inverness South ward. That was also a Lib Dem defence. But a very difficult one. We won the seat in the 2022 local elections – it was the fourth seat available in the ward and we won through second preferences having received 8.6% of first preference votes.

Though we did not retain it this time we finished an extremely close second place. We received 652 first preference votes (an increase of 11% and just 78 fewer than the winning independent candidate), beating the SNP into third place in the process. We were just 12 votes behind in the final count.

Thank you to our candidate Jonathan Chartier and the local Lib Dem team for all your hard work in the ward and congratulations on achieving such an amazing increase in the Lib Dem vote. You were so unlucky to fall just short of a spectacular win.

Highland Council, Inverness South
Independent: 730 (22.1%, new)
Liberal Democrats (Jonathan Chartier): 652 (19.7%, +11.1%)
SNP: 641 (19.4%, -15.8%)
Conservative: 533 (16.1%, -0.8%)
Labour: 364 (11%, -3.7%)
Green Party: 237 (7.2%, +1.8%)
Alba: 107 (3.2%, +1.3%)
Sovereignty: 41 (1.2%, new)

A full summary of all results can be found on the ALDC by-elections page here.

* Charles Quinn is Campaigns Organiser for ALDC and a local councillor in Hull.

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  • Interesting to reflect that Inverness South was continuously part of constituencies represented at Westminster between 1964 and 2015 (a period of over 50 years) by successive Liberal and Liberal Democrat MPs.

  • Seems a bit ridiculous to have by elections under stv it should either be done before cooption like in northern Ireland or there should be an open primary to elect a candidate from the same party that won the seat last time, with candidates of other parties only being allowed if the incumbent party fails to put up a candidate or if the former councillor had been elected as an independent.

  • * by co-option

  • Alex Macfie 15th Apr '24 - 8:07am

    In Northern Ireland STV casual vacancies are filled by substitutes nominated at the time of the original election. In effect each candidate is at the head of a closed list and is the only one who can be elected on their list! A by-election is held if no substitutes are available (this is why local by-elections are so rare in Northern Ireland).

    Malta uses ‘countback’, i.e. the original ballot papers are recounted to determine who would have been elected following the elimination of the candidate who has left the chamber. I think this is also what happens in our internal elections.

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