ALDC by-election report 21st July

This week saw some fantastic results for Lib Dem teams in local by-elections – and in particular a couple of amazingly close second-place finishes in wards that we had not even contested in the previous election!

The first results comes from South Staffordshire District Council where Lib Dem candidate Sam Harper-Wallis was just 10 votes off a sensational victory in Penkridge North East & Acton Trussel ward. This is even more impressive as the seat had been uncontested at the previous election. This goes to show the importance of always standing a candidate. We now have a great base to start from next time.

Well done to everyone involved – and congratulations to Sam who was successfully elected to Penkridge Parish Council on the same evening. You can find the full result of that election here. Well done too to Keith Pincher for standing in a Swindon Parish Council by-election – also in the South Staffordshire area – and coming just 30 votes short from taking the seat. Full result here.

South Staffordshire DC, Penkridge North East & Acton Trussel
Conservative: 388 [47.8%]
Liberal Democrat (Sam Harper-Wallis): 378 [46.6%]
Labour: 45 [5.6%]

The next fantastic result comes from Harbour ward on Lancaster City Council. The Lib Dems had not stood a candidate in the previous election in the ward. But in this by-election Jake Perkin and the local Lib Dem team achieved a fantastic 41.4% share of the vote and coming within 76 votes of taking the seat. Well done to Jake and the team on a superb result that puts us in a great position to take the ward next time.

Lancaster City Council, Harbour
Labour: 555 [47.9% +3.8%]
Liberal Democrat (Jake Perkin): 479 [41.4%, from nowhere]
Conservative: 124 [10.7%, -1.6%]

There was a rare Wednesday by-election this week – on Basildon Borough Council. Thank you to Lib Dem candidate Stephen Nice for making sure voters in Nethermayne ward had a Lib Dem to vote for on the ballot paper – and well done for increasing the Lib Dem share of the vote too!

Basildon Borough Council, Nethermayne
Independent: 909 [62.7%, -7.1%]
Conservative: 233 [16.1%, +4.1%]
Labour: 169 [11.7%, -2.8%]
Liberal Democrat (Stephen Nice): 102 [7.0%, +3.2%]
Reform: 37 [2.6%, from nowhere]

The other principal by-election this week saw the Conservatives hold the seat of Harthill on North Warwickshire Borough Council by 44 votes from Labour in a two-way contest. You can see the full result here.

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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  • As well as rejoicing in remarkable Lib Dem performances in places where we did not stand a candidate last time, it is worth looking at the reverse dimension – what happened to the votes of parties that were there last time but not there this week. In Lancaster the Greens and localist independents did not re-appear from last time and Lib Dems were far more effective than Labour in occupying the space. In South Staffs with independents leaving the field, Labour’s vote share dropped by more than two-thirds. In Basildon, where the “spare” votes were not available, Lib Dems managed a modest doubling of vote share, while Labour were treading water – a drop of 0.2%. In Warwickshire Labour had their best result of the night, relatively speaking, in a straight fight with the Tories, but the latter still chalked up a modest share of headroom left by the Greens.
    This is not a one-off set of by-elections. The trends have been there for some months. Labour is not a party as ease with itself and this must have an impact on the enthusiasm of activists. While my instincts are to draw back from intrusion into private grief, we probably ought to devote some sober reflection as to what is happening with the principal party of parliamentary opposition. I recommend the occasional visit to Labour List to find some straws in the wind.

  • Paul Barker 22nd Jul '22 - 7:46pm

    On Labour, when people compare Starmer,s Leads with Blair,s in the early 1990s they forget that, by 1993, the Lefts control of the Party had been over for a Decade. Its only 2 Years since Corbyn went & Starmer had to rescue Labour from near collapse – he has done a good job of squeezing out The Far-Left without allowing a narrative of Civil War to develop.

    Voters are another matter, they only change their minds slowly, as we know only too well.

    PS keep an eye on the crazy Tory petition to put Johnson on the Ballot, 7,000 names in 3 days is quite significant. If this morphs into a “Write-in” campaign it could do immense damage to The Tories & hasten a General Election.

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