ALDC By-election report, 16th November

There were 6 principal by-elections this week. Lib Dem candidates contested 5 of the elections. As well as scoring a terrific gain in Bolton, every Lib Dem candidate moved forwards and increased our vote share – some spectacularly so!

The only place to start is Bolton MBC where there were 2 by-elections on Thursday.

We gained Westhoughton North & Hunger Hill ward from the Conservatives with an 11% increase in our vote share (while everyone else went backwards). Congratulations to Councillor Deirdre McGeown and the whole team in Bolton on a superb win.

Bolton MBC, Westhoughton North & Hunger Hill
Liberal Democrats (Deirdre McGeown): 959 (41.5%, +11.3%)
Conservative: 665 (28.8%, -0.7%)
Labour Party: 440 (19%, -1.1%)
Independent: 118 (5.1%, -5.3%)
Reform: 101 (4.4%, -0.7%)
Green Party: 28 (1.2%, -3.4%)

Also in Bolton, Kearsley ward was up for election. Thank you to Chris Cooper for flying the Lib Dem flag and making sure there was a Lib Dem option on the ballot paper.

Bolton MBC, Kearsley
Farnworth and Kearsley First: 1,081 (66%, +42.5%)
Labour: 365 (22.3%, +8.2%)
Reform UK: 121 (7.4%, +1.2%)
Conservative: 38 (2.3%, -6.9%)
Green Party: 18 (1.1%, new)
Liberal Democrats (Charles Cooper): 15 (0.9%)

We came within a whisker of another great gain in North Somerset DC in Wrington ward. Lib Dem candidate Samantha Louden-Cooke achieved 27.5% of the vote, despite there being no Lib Dem candidate there at the last election, and came within 50 votes of the winning Green Party candidate. Well done to Samantha and the Lib Dem team in North Somerset. A great result from nowhere and a brilliant base to build on.

North Somerset DC, Wrington
Green Party: 336 (32.7%, new)
Conservative: 297 (28.9%,+6.8)
Liberal Democrats (Samantha Louden-Cooke): 283 (27.5%, new)
Labour: 112 (10.9%, new)

In Wales, Aberystwyth Penpercau ward was being contested on Ceredigion County Council. Thank you to Bryony Davies for standing here and giving voters a Lib Dem option. Plaid Cymru held the ward.

Ceredigion CC, Aberystwyth Penpercau
Plaid Cymru: 201 (36.7%, -17.5%)
Labour: 122 (22.3%,-10.2%)
Independent: 122 (22.3%, new)
Liberal Democrats (Bryony Davies): 76 (13.9%,+0.5%)
Conservative: 27 (4.9%, new0

In Scotland, there was a by-election on North Lanarkshire Council in Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig ward. Thank you to Robert McGeorge for flying the flag. Especially as there was no Lib Dem candidate here last time. Labour gained the ward from the SNP.

North Lanarkshire Council, Motherwell East and Ravenscraig
Labour: 1368 (44%, +12.8%)
SNP: 934 (30.1%, -12.7%)
Conservative: 296 (9.5%, -7.1%)
Green Party: 255 (8.2%, +0.4%)
BUP: 96 (3.1%, new)
Liberal Democrats (Robert McGeorge): 68 (2.2%, new)
Alba: 66 (2.1%, new)
UKIP: 24 (0.8%, +0.1)

Yesterday’s final by-election was in Doncaster. Sadly there was no Lib Dem candidate in Rossington and Bawtry ward, which Labour held.

City of Doncaster Council, Rossington and Bawtry
Labour: 1467 (56.7%,+10.8%)
Conservative: 492 (19%,-1.1%)
Independent: 461 (17.8%, -8.5%)
Reform: 168 (6.5%, 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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  • 30-40 years ago Westhoughton was a strong Lib Alliance/Lib Dem area, did some campaigning there. Come Clegg , Tuition Fees etc etc and crash, it all seemingly went down the drain. Now we are firmly back in both North and South wards. It has taken almost a decade but great to see. Well done.

  • When there are two by-elections on the same day for the same authority if clearly makes sense to focus on the one that is most winnable, which I would guess is what happened in Bolton. It’s true that our base vote has collapsed (and my view of the Coalition was much the same as Michael’s I guess) but I don’t think it is ‘shameful’.

  • Katharine Pindar 19th Nov '23 - 1:00am

    Struck by your comment, Michael M. (and how good it is to hear from you again!), I am thinking that our party’s inability to attract support in ‘derelict’ areas may be linked to our leadership’s concentration on constituencies held by Conservatives where we have come second at the last General Election, mostly in the south of England. I understand the target-seat plan, but I believe the leadership should also be spreading the word of our vision and mission, and our policies to reduce poverty, fix the NHS and social care, raise the standard of living and ensure that everyone can have a decent and secure home to live in. In short, show we are aiming to improve life for everyone in our country, as a national party aiming to share power should do, and we will expect our national polling share to rise in response from its current about eleven per cent, and inspire the Liberals from every constituency to reveal themselves and come forward to help, seeing that we are well worth supporting.

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