ALDC by-election report, 7th September 2023

It has been an eventful week for by-elections with principal elections on both Wednesday and Thursday – and even a good town council gain for us on Monday night too!

The only place to start however is on Shropshire Council with our amazing gain on Thursday night in Worfield ward – taking the seat from the Conservatives with a 33.5% increase in the Lib Dem share of the vote. The Conservative share of the vote fell by 27.9%.

Congratulations to Cllr Andrew Sherrington and the Lib Dem team on winning in such spectacular fashion.

Shropshire Council, Worfield
Liberal Democrat (Andrew Sherrington): 400 (48.1%, 33.5%)
Conservative: 392 (47.1%, -27.9%)
Labour: 40 (4.8%, new)

Elsewhere on Thursday we put in some solid performances and made sure there were Lib Dems on the ballot paper in all of them.

There were two by-elections on Newcastle-Under-Lyme BC. In Audley ward Andrew Wymess increased the Lib Dem vote share by 8.7% to finish a very strong third with 355 votes. In Knutton ward Aidan Jenkins stood for the Lib Dems (we had not stood a candidate in the previous election) and got just shy of 20% of the vote. Labour held both wards.

Well done and thank you to Andrew, Aidan and the team in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

Newcastle Under Lyme BC, Audley
Labour: 732 (46.1%, -6.7%)
Conservative: 438 (27.6%, -14%)
Liberal Democrat (Andrew Wymess): 355 (22.4%, +8.7%)
Independent: 63 (4%, new)

Newcastle Under Lyme BC, Knutton
Labour: 153 (49%, +1.1%)
Conservative: 99 (31.7%, -2.8%)
Liberal Democrat (Aidan Jenkins): 60 (19.2%, new)

On Manchester City Council we’d like to say thank you to Euan Stewart for flying the Lib Dem flag in Brooklands ward – the ward was held by Labour but we made sure we moved forwards compared with last year’s result.

Manchester City Council, Brooklands
Labour: 923 (61.5%, +13.2%)
Conservative: 189 (12.6%, -6.7%)
Green Party: 178 (11.9%, +0.8)
Reform: 133 (8.9%, new)
Liberal Democrat (Euan Stewart): 77 (5.1%, +1.6%)

The final result from Thursday is from Broadland DC in Thorpe St Andrew North West. Thank you to Brian Howe for standing and ensuring a Lib Dem option on the ballot paper. The Conservatives gained the ward from Labour.

Broadland DC, Thorpe St Andrew North West
Conservative: 870 (50.5%, +8.8)
Labour: 757 (43.9, -3.7)
Liberal Democrat (Brian Howe): 96 (5.6%, -5.1%)

There was one Wednesday by-election this week in Ashford Town ward on Spelthorne DC. Sadly there was no Lib Dem candidate – and the Conservatives gained the ward from the Green Party who fell to third place.

Spelthorne BC, Ashford Town
Conservatives: 562 (37.4%, +11.3%)
Independent: 420 (28%, new)
Green: 252 (16.8%, -7.6%)
Labour: 212 (14.1%, -6.5%)
Reform: 35 (2.3%, new)
TUSC: 19 (1.3%, new)

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

Ed: Apologies for not ascribing the authorship correctly at first.


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

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  • It would be an interesting and useful addition in order to be able to assess the significance of such local government by-elections to publish the percentage turnout. My guess is the turnouts will be low.

  • Paul Barker 9th Sep '23 - 10:27am

    I often pop in with a comment about the National Polls but they have been pretty flat for what feels like ages –
    Lab. 45%
    Con 27%
    LDs. 11%
    of course in the actual Election all three figures will be higher.

    There is a story about Scotland though – the SNP/Labour gap has been shrinking all Year
    & the two are now about level, great news for The UK & Libdems in particular.

  • A win is a win. I don’t care about the turnout.

  • @ Martin In partial answer to your questions, In Newcastle-Under-Lyne the turnout was 24.8 per cent for Audley Ward, compared to 33.5 per cent in 2022, and 15.9 per cent for Knutton Ward compared to 25 per cent in 2022. As you say, “unreliable to try to extrapolate more widely”, but not a great demonstration of a vibrant democracy.

    @ Paul Barker, You say, “There is a story about Scotland though – the SNP/Labour gap has been shrinking all Year & the two are now about level, great news for The UK & Libdems in particular”.

    Whether, as you say, the polls in Scotland are “great news for the Lib Dems in particular” is a moot point. In the interests of accuracy from my viewpoint in the Lothians, the latest You Gov poll in Scotland shows the Lib Dems on 5%, a drop from 8% in August. The forthcoming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election will be an interesting measure of current party support in Scotland.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Sep '23 - 2:25pm

    “The forthcoming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election will be an interesting measure of current party support in Scotland.”
    Can’t see that LDs have ever done particularly well there.

  • I don’t know why we had no candidate in Spelthorne, but it is part of the Blue Wall in Surrey that we are targeting for the next elections. The Parliamentary seat is held by Kwasi Kwarteng with 59% of the vote against Labour 22% and Libdems 15% in 2019.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Sep '23 - 4:35pm

    @Joe Bourke
    Re Spelthorne – if you took the trouble to look at past election results you see for yourself that LDs haven’t been active in this ward.

  • @ Tim Hill “A win is a win. I don’t care about the turnout”.

    That sounds very much like what the last man saved on the Titanic said when he managed to scramble into the last lifeboat.

  • Nonconformistradical,

    Following the 2023 local elections and the Conservative loss of 11 councillors, a new independent-led leadership took control of the council. This was only the second time in the borough’s history that the Conservatives had lost control of the leadership and the first as a result of an election. The first being a defection of six Conservative councillors in 2020 to an Independent group which resulted in LibDem leadership of the council from 2021 to May 2022.
    10 LibDem councillors were elected in May this year History is made in Spelthorne
    Perhaps no LibDem candidate stood as a result of a local party informal agreement with the Green Party.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Sep '23 - 8:22pm

    @Joe Bourke
    “Perhaps no LibDem candidate stood as a result of a local party informal agreement with the Green Party.”
    Informal agreement or not – I can’t imagine the LDs, being part of the coaltion running the council with the independents, wanting the tories to take this seat from the greens who were trying to defend it.

  • Chris Moore 9th Sep '23 - 9:16pm

    The by-election seat in Spelthorne was contested in May 23 by a Green/Labour non-aggression pact. They put up three candidates between them for three seats. The Green got the third seat. Con and Ind the other two.

    In the by-election, Labour and Green both put up a candidate for the single seat.

  • Chris Moore 9th Sep '23 - 9:19pm

    Hello David, you cite the recent You Gov poll in Scotland.

    Other posters who’ve polled in September put us on 8% in Scottish Westminster seats. And variously on 7 or 8% for seats in Scottish parliament.

  • Chris Moore 15th Sep '23 - 6:25am

    Btw I have now seen the You Gov September poll for Scotland. It puts the LDs on 8% for both regional and constituency seats.

    Not 5%!!

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