ALDC By-election Report: 23 September 2021

There were seven local by-elections on Thursday night. It was a mixed bag of results for the Lib Dems with some great holds but a very narrow loss too.

There were two great defences in Kendal as newly elected Lib Dem Councillors Jonathan Cornthwaite (Kendal North ward, South Lakeland DC) and Phil Walker (Strickland Ward, Kendal TC) both won with just short of 50% of the vote. Congratulations to Jonathan, Phil and the Lib Dem team in Kendal. The full results are below and you can find full breakdowns here.

Kendal North Ward, South Lakeland DC

  • Lib Dem 622 (47%)
  • Green 527 (40%)
  • Conservative 122 (9%)
  • Labour 54 (4%)

Strickland Ward, Kendal TC

  • Lib Dem 647 (49%)
  • Green 511 (31%)
  • Conservative 115 (9%)
  • Labour 60 (5%)

East Devon Lib Dems also held the Exe Valley ward in a very tough 3 way fight with the Conservatives and Labour – with all three candidates finishing within 30 votes of one another. Congratulations to newly elected Lib Dem Cllr Jamie Kemp and the team in Devon on a very hard fought victory. Full details can be found here.

Exe Valley Ward, East Devon DC

  • Lib Dem 190 (37%)
  • Conservative 164 (32%)
  • Labour 161 (31%)

There was an agonisingly close election in East Cambridgeshire as the Lib Dems narrowly lost the seat of Soham North to the Conservatives. There were just 115 votes in it. Thank you to candidate Anne Pallett and the local Lib Dem team for working so hard representing the Lib Dems in the election. Full details can be found here.

Soham North ward, East Cambridgeshire DC

  • Conservative 484 (51%)
  • Lib Dem 369 (39%)
  • Labour 71 (7.5%)
  • Green 28 (2.9%)

Shepshed West Ward, Charnwood BC

On Charnwood Borough Council the Conservatives held the seat of Shepshed West. Thank you to Katy Brookes-Duncan for representing the Lib Dems in this election.

  • Conservative 511 (44%)
  • Labour 316 (27%)
  • Green 302 (26%)
  • Lib Dem 44 (3%)


Finally there were two elections in London with Labour holding Wormholt and White City ward on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, and the Residents Association candidate holding Cuddington ward on Epsom and Ewell Council. Thank you to Michael Illingworth and Dan Brown for fighting the Lib Dem corner in those respective by-elections.

Wormholt and White City ward, Hammersmith and Fulham LBC

  • Labour 1462 (70%)
  • Conservative 431 (21%)
  • Green 110 (5%)
  • Lib Dem 86 (4%)

Cuddington ward, Epsom and Ewell BC

  • Residents Association 585 (56%)
  • Labour 207 (20%)
  • Conservative 135 (13%)
  • Liberal Democrat 117 (11%)

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • When are we going to speak about the elephant in the room, The Green vote, it is a big threat to us, without it we would probably be at 15%+ in the polls and certainly not recording 1 – 5% in by elections.

  • Ian Patterson 25th Sep '21 - 11:44am

    So what went wrong in Soham? We have pretensions in Cambridgeshire outside Cambridge.

  • Neil Woollcott 25th Sep '21 - 11:51am

    Epsom and Ewell is in Surrey not London.

  • As the first ever Liberal Councillor to be elected for the Fell and Strickland Ward in Kendal way back in 1974 (and to be Leader of the then group), I’m pleased to see Jonathan Cornthwaite and Phil Walker successfully retain what are now the seats in 2021.

    I would, however, point to the remarkable number of votes for the Green candidates. Lib Dems everywhere need to reflect carefully on why this should be – Lorenzo Cherin please note. My belief (and hope) is that the assiduous Tim Farron will take due note.

  • Paul Barker 25th Sep '21 - 1:19pm

    This report leaves out the most important information – the changes in percentage Votes & when they were last fought.

  • Ian Patterson

    According to a comment on the Conservative Home website Soham was traditionally a Tory ward which they briefly lost to us. I think our main hopes are in South Cambridgeshire, rather than East.

  • Paul Barker 25th Sep '21 - 4:04pm

    Its true that in this tiny, unrepresentative bunch of by-elections, we are more down than up & The Greens more up than down. Has that been true of the last 6 Months worth of by-elections ? I don’t know, perhaps someone else does ?
    Its worth remembering the context though – we have 10 times as many Councillors as The Greens & perhaps 3 times as many members.

    In general I would say that we have similar Values as The Greens (outside Scotland) & appeal to similar Voters; we should be trying to work with them where we can & compete in a respectful way when we can’t.

  • Paul Barker, this weeks result are NOT unrepresenative of what has been happening generally, beware the Greens, we need a strategy to combat them..

  • @ theakes “we need a strategy to combat them.”

    More radical policies which appeal to the general public, more impressive leadership, and more door knocking instead of ‘flag flying’ would be a start.

  • Too often when people talk about ‘dealing with the Greens’ it’s about whether or not we should do deals with them, or warning that they are not (always) our friends etc.

    What we need more of are candidates who are vocal about green credentials so the wider voting public don’t assume that if they want to register support for the environment that they put their cross in the “Green” box.

    Conference agreed to prioritise our support for the environment within our Constitutional preamble, and that needs to be reflected in how we communicate our values to the public.

  • Peter Watson 26th Sep '21 - 9:46am

    @Paul Barker “we have similar Values as The Greens (outside Scotland) & appeal to similar Voters”
    Is it the Greens or the Lib Dems who have different values in England and in Scotland?

  • The Green image is easily understood by everyone.
    For the life of me what is our simple image, Liberal Values, well that is pretty meaningless, Cons, Labour Greens all would say they have Liberal values in a Liberal pluralistic society.
    It might help if we changed our logo and colours to Green and Gold. Otherwise they will take over the third party role, with more councillors and MPs than ourselves.
    The message is stark we ignore it or try to talk round it at our peril.

  • Paul Barker asks for comparative past information about the Kendal byelection.

    Not much comfort for Paul, Lorenzo, or Keir Starmer I’m afraid. The Tories marginally deflated, UKIP disappeared in a puff of hot air :

    Result 2016
    Liberal Democrats 1,067 60%
    Labour Party 307 17.2%
    Conservative Party 172 9.6%
    Green Party 128 7.2%
    UKIP 106 6.0%

    Result 2021
    Lib Dem 622 (47%) down 13%
    Green 527 (40%) up 32.8%
    Conservative 122 (9%) down 0.6%
    Labour 54 (4%) down 13.2%

  • Leekliberal 26th Sep '21 - 7:21pm

    I am commenting in the hope that those reading this will want us to be part of the solution to the UK’s malaise. All our hopes to make that difference depend on whether my Party notices the elephant in the room. It’s BREXIT! There are huge numbers of remainers in our potential target seats but we toddle along on 10% of the vote with our leadership barely mentioning it. Labour cannot do so as they try to win back their brexity red-wall seats. So why are we not shouting for a more sensible arrangements with the EU: Perish the thought, even us re-joining the single market and the customs union which would at a stroke would remove all the bureaucracy strangling our businesses and also, importantly, protect the Irish agreement. If you want our leaders to wake up and and pitch for this let them know!

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