ALDC by-election report: 30 September 2021

A very exciting set of by-elections this week with the Lib Dems making some spectacular gains, and coming within a whisker of even more, and sadly also suffering some very narrow losses.

We begin with an agonising near miss in Sunderland where Lib Dem candidate John Lennox was just 27 votes off a stunning win in Hetton ward. The Lib Dems finished 6th in the ward in May’s local elections with 63 votes. This time the Lib Dem team increased their vote to 634 with a 28% swing.

Hetton ward, Sunderland City Council

Well done to John and the Lib Dem team in Sunderland on a fantastic result.

  • Labour: 661 [31.6%, -13.1%]
  • Lib Dem (John Lennox): 634 [30.3%, +28.1%]
  • Independent: 386 [18.5%, -1.2%]
  • Conservative: 303 [14.5%, -4.9%]
  • Independent: 67 [3.2%, +3.2%]
  • Green: 41 [2.0%, -0.9%]

Wells City Council

On Wells City Council the Lib Dem made a sensational gain in St Cuthberts ward from the Conservatives – having not stood there at the last local election. Coming from nowhere new Lib Dem Councillor Amanda Bayley won with a swing of 39.9%. Congratulations to Amanda and the team in Wells.

Also, on Wells City Council the Lib Dems narrowly lost St Thomas ward to an Independent candidate by just 58 votes. Thank you to Lib Dem candidate Gordon David Folkard for your hard work in this election. The full breakdown of results is below:

St Cuthbert ward, Wells City Council

  • Lib Dem (Amanda Bayley): 287 [39.9%, +39.9]
  • Conservative: 219 [30.4%, -14.4%]
  • Independent: 152 [21.1%, 12.2%]
  • Labour: 62 [8.6%, -13.3%]

St Thomas ward, Wells City Council

  • Independent: 387 [43.1%, +8.4)
  • Lib Dem (Gordon David Folkard): 329 [36.7%, -11.3%]
  • Conservative: 181 [20.2%, +2.9%]


The Lib Dems also gained a new seat off the Conservatives in the North West – winning Penrith West ward on Eden District Council. Congratulations to Cllr Roger Burgin and the Lib Dem team for a great victory with 43.5% of the vote.

Penrith West, Eden DC

  • Lib Dem (Roger Burgin): 173 [43.5%, +2.5%]
  • Conservative: 87 [21.9%, -1.0%]
  • Independent: 51 [12.8%, +12.8%]
  • Labour: 40 [10.1%, -12.1%]
  • PCF: 28 [7.0%, +7.0%]
  • Green: 19 [4.8%, +4.8%]


There was yet another Lib Dem win on Swale District Council as newly elected Lib Dem Councillor Michael Henderson gained Priory ward from an Independent. The Lib Dems won the seat at the last election, but the victorious Lib Dem defected to become an independent councillor and then resigned. Michael and the Lib Dem team won the ward back with 38% of the vote. Congratulations on a great win!

Priory ward, Swale DC

  • Lib Dem (Michael Henderson): 215 [38.0%, -13.8]
  • Conservative: 173 [30.6%, +1.6%]
  • Green: 128 [22.7%, +15.3%]
  • Labour: 49 [8.7%, -3.0%]

West Suffolk

Finally in West Suffolk the Conservatives gained the seat of The Rows from the Independents with over 65% of the vote and a 38.5% swing. Thank you to Lib Dem candidate Robert Pinsker for giving local voters a Lib Dem choice on the ballot paper and for increasing the Lib Dem npte share by 15.5%.

The Rows, Suffolk DC

  • Conservative: 428 [65.2, +38.5%]
  • Labour: 126 [19.2%, +19.2%]
  • Lib Dem (Robert Pinsker): 102 [15.5%, +15.5%]

Other by-elections

There were two elections in which the Lib Dems did not stand candidates.

On East Hampshire DC the Green gained the ward of Horndean Downs from the Conservatives with a 33% swing, while on East Staffordshire BC the Conservatives held onto the ward of Tutbury and Oakwoods.

A full breakdown of these results, and all other results from Thursday, can be found on ALDCs website here.

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Kevin Hawkins 2nd Oct '21 - 12:56pm

    There were also two by-elections in Broadland held on Tuesday which ALDC do not list: Old Catton and Sprowston was held by the Conservatives, while in a double-by-election in Brundall ward the Greens took both seats from the Conservatives.

    For those interested in a longer term view the data for the last fifty by-elections to the end of September is as follows: (Equivalent data for the fifty by-elections up to the end of August is given in brackets).
    Conservatives 33.4% (36.7%)
    Labour 28.9% (27.5%)
    Liberal Democrats 19.0% (15.6%)
    Greens 8.7% (12.0%)
    Others 10.0% (8.2%)

    The Conservatives lead over Labour (4.4%) has narrowed to its lowest level this year.

    Gains and losses are:
    Conservatives: Net loss of 2 (8 gains, 11 held, 10 lost)
    Labour: Net loss of 2 (3 gains, 6 held, 5 lost)
    Liberal Democrats: Net gain of 4 (5 gains, 7 held, 1 lost)
    Greens: Net gain of 4 (4 gains, 0 held, 0 lost)
    Independents: Net loss of 5 (2 gains, 2 held, 7 lost)
    Aspire: Net gain of 1 (1 gain, 0 held, 0 lost)
    Residents: No change (0 gains, 2 held, 0 lost)

    (In case anyone spots the number of gains and held adds up to 51 and not 50, this is because of the double by-election.)

    This data is for the most recent 50 by-elections in England & Wales (8th July to 30th Sept). Parish/Town councils are not included.

  • Hetton:
    UKIP did not stand, 28% last, did the bulk of their protest vote transfer to us! If so what does that say?

    We are getting outgunned by the Greens, made worse by not standing in Hampshire.
    The ALDC message is possibly hiding the cracks which are getting wider.

    I keep saying what are we doing about them, they are a real threat.

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Oct '21 - 7:50am

    UKIP did not stand, 28% last, did the bulk of their protest vote transfer to us! If so what does that say?”
    Why don’t you ask the local Sunderland LD team – which has been making gains in recent years – what they believe happened and what else they could have done to get another 28 votes?

  • Chris Moore 3rd Oct '21 - 8:45am

    We are not getting “outgunned” by the Greens!!

  • Looks like green party made a concerted effort in Swale ( which we held with reduced vote) green + 15% .. Lib Dem – 13%. It appears the green party does not want co-operation. We should be warned

  • Peter kemp.
    Exactl;y what I have been saying for weeks, like a voice in the wildereness.
    The Greens are our enemy and have set thgemselves the task of replacing us. They are very close to doing so.
    We have to smell the coffee and it is coloured Green, otherwise they will leave us standing.
    We should not give them an inch.

  • Kevin Hawkins 3rd Oct '21 - 2:51pm

    I don’t doubt that the Greens would like to replace us and personally I wouldn’t trust them one bit. We made an electoral pact with the Labour Party back in Edwardian times – where did that get us? Let’s not make the same mistake with the Greens.

    However, let’s not overact – the Greens level of support as measured in local by-elections is currently lower than it was ten years ago. It is our vote that has gone down, not theirs that has gone up.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Oct '21 - 3:58pm

    The way to defeat the Greens , if that is needed, where they stand, is not by us as a party being a green party replica.

    We are discussing crime and violence on here a lot, correctly. We have strong policies and often female spokespeople who pull no punches.

    Perhaps the tempted by the Green party brigade, women especially, ought to read the policies of that party on prison, even for the worst offenders. The Green party thinks it should resemble people’s home in lifestyle!

    They only want to punish those who “offend” the planet. And they defend the Insulate Britain ,in my view and most, dangerous, life threatening behaviour.

  • Christopher Moore 4th Oct '21 - 8:04am

    If course, the Green Party wants to replace us: they are our political competitors.

    But they are nowhere near doing so, so let’s not exaggerate.

    A couple of years ago, there was enormous gloom and doom from some posters about Change Uk who were going to replace us…..

  • john bennett 4th Oct '21 - 10:45am

    I am a voter. I vote Lib Dem or Green, whoever I think has the best chance of beating the Tories (dominant locally). My concerns are the NHS, the environment, and Electoral Reform.

    If the LibDems and Greens insist on Mutually Assured Destruction, then it will soon be inevitable that I will cease to vote. In my case this will be mostly harmless; but disenfranchising younger, angrier, and more active people would seem to be unwise.

  • Delighted that we are talking about the “Green” problem. For so long the party has ignored it. Thisa is a start but there is a long way to go before the Parfty at a national level faces the issue, gives us a clear lead, otherwise it will be left to local parties and that will create internal problems.
    The Greens have a clear and simple platform which is readily understood. We do not.

  • @john bennett: I’m puzzled – why do you think that having LibDems and Greens fighting each other will disenfranchise people? It may well make it more likely that some other party wins the election, but having a LibDem and a Green candidate does not in any way prevent you or anyone else from voting. And if – as you seem to be implying that you might do – you choose not to vote, when you could have done, does that not make you somewhat complicit in enabling the Tories (or whoever you dislike) to win?

  • Delighted we are now openly talking about this.
    Let us hope the National Party now gets a strategy for the problem, led maybe by ALDC?

  • Paul Barker 5th Oct '21 - 12:32pm

    On the prospects of The Green Party overtaking us – we have six times as many councillors, even last May where The Greens did exceptionally well we still got four times as many.
    Our Membership is nearly twice that of The Greens; just under 100,000 for us & just over 50,000 for them. Certainly they have grown over the long term but very slowly – their first big peak was 20,000 in 1990.

    On how we counter the Green competition – respect & honesty certainly. I would argue that we should stress just how similar the two Parties are & how much bigger We are.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Oct '21 - 12:43pm


    Similar to the Greens on some issues, different on others.

    On the environment, welfare, yes.

    On crime, protests, no.

    The Green party have little to say on mainstream issues other than the environment. They do say things that are irresponsible and wrong, like supporting Insulate Britain.

    They keep painting the Liberal Democrats as supporters of conservatism. That means we need to reveal them sometimes as supporters of anarchism.

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