ALDC by-election report – 8 November 2018

There were four seats up for grabs this week in what was a tricky week for the party. Lib Dem candidates stood in all four elections however faced some tough tests in relatively safe seats. We’d like to thank our candidates Nigel Bakhai, Lesley Rideout, Christopher Styles-Power and Robert Thurston for all their hard work campaigning and for representing the party in some difficult battles.

Ealing LB, Dormers Wells

Lab 1868 [72.1%; +2.9%]
Con 429 [16.6%; +0.7%]
LD Nigel Bakhai 188 [7.3%; +2.7%]
Green 106 [4.1%; -3.2%]

Turnout 26%
Lab Hold
Percentage change from 2018

Harlow DC, Bush Fair 

Labour 543 [45.0%; +0.0%]
Con 460 [38.1%; -0.8%]
UKIP 103 [8.5%; -2.5%]
Harlow Alliance 63 [5.2%; +5.2%]
LD Lesley Rideout 39 [3.2%; -1.8%]

Turnout 21.77%
Lab Hold
Percentage change from 2018

Torridge DC, Holsworthy 

Conservative 698 [56.4%; +11.5%]
Ind 314 [25.4%; +25.4%]
LD Christopher Styles-Power 151 [12.2%; -5.3%]
Lab 75 [6.1%; +6.1%]

Turnout 35.04%
Con Hold
Percentage change from 2015

Harlow BC, Nettleswell 

Labour 497 [50.2%; -0.7%]
Con 254 [25.6%; -13.0%]
Harlow Alliance 99 [10.0%; +10.0%]
UKIP 98 [9.9%; +3.6%]
LD Robert Thurston 43 [4.3%; +0.2%]

Turnout 18.1%
Lab Hold
Percentage change from 2015

Next week we have another four by-elections, with Jane Hanna running to defend Grove & Wantage in Oxfordshire CC, and candidates hoping to make gains in East Retford West for Bassetlaw DC, Dursley for Stroud DC and Canterbury North for Kent CC. 

If you have a spare hour you can find contact details of who to ring to help out on the forthcoming by-elections section of our website.

Or why not donate to the ALDC Fighting Fund so we can give more grants to local teams to help us win more by-elections.

Good luck to all our standing candidates and see you next week!

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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This entry was posted in News.


  • David Becket 9th Nov '18 - 3:46pm

    Not a good result, but not surprising considering our position in the polls. Is it good advice to stand when you achieve 3.2% of the vote, a drop of 1.8% in a seat we once held?
    Two other of these “tricky” seats we once held.

    Considering we have a PM who cannot control her cabinet at this critical time and a non leader of the Opposition who will do anything, or nothing, to achieve his dream (nightmare) of Socialist Utopia (hell) why are we not doing any better?
    As a party we look boring, we lack the inspiration that has rescued us in the past (Ashdown/Kennedy) and our PR is dire. A third party needs inspiration and noise to get noticed. We have policies and solutions but we cannot put them over and until we sort this out we will continue to get 3.8%, a drop of 1.8%

  • paul barker 9th Nov '18 - 4:33pm

    Our vote share dropped in 3 of the 4 but in each case there was a local independent who didnt stand before. Certainly this week wasnt typical, in general we seem to be doing a little better than we did in May.

  • John Marriott 9th Nov '18 - 5:34pm

    Tick tock, tick tock!

  • chris moore 9th Nov '18 - 5:36pm

    @ David Raw : “The clock’s ticking….”

    Well there’s a thought.

  • nvelope2003 9th Nov '18 - 5:58pm

    The German Social Democrats seem to be going through a similar phase. It is what happens to people who are perceived to have served their purpose, have not changed with the times and are out of tune with the current mood. We must hope that Trump and his ilk will be found out for what they really are.

  • It was probably our least good night of recent Thursdays but it depends entirely on where the seats fall and Labour facing seats are more difficult than Conservative facing seats at the moment.

    Electionmaps has us up 6.4% since the May local elections and more than doubling our seats – winning 18 – up 10.

    On standing in seats – it is IMHO far, far, far better to stand than not to stand – people will remember far more that there was no Lib Dem on the ballot paper when they trudged off to the polling station than the percentage. And we owe it to those that do make it out on a cold November night to have the opportunity to vote Lib Dem.

    On leaders, it is easy to view Paddy’s and Charles’s leadership through rose-tinted spectacles. Paddy’s reviews in his first two years were dire and as he himself said we were at the margin of error of being at zero in the polls (not actually quite true – but we were low). I hate to think what would have been said on LDV at the time if it had existed. Charles also got a lot of criticism – mainly for not being Paddy!

    Clearly we will not improve (substantially) in the polls until we win a parliamentary by-election – all the history shows that.

    A Government minister, Jo Johnson, resigns today saying that the Government is leading us into a terrible economic mistake with Brexit. Labour are passive onlookers without any policy that anyone knows what it means. As the only party supporting a second referendum it is up to us, fellow Lib Dems to save Britain – by standing everywhere, knocking on those doors, making those arguments. If we do, we will also reap the rewards at the ballot box.

  • nvelope2003 9th Nov '18 - 8:12pm

    Michael 1 : If you mean 18 MPs the party has 12 at the moment.
    I notice that whenever a prominent Independent stands in a local by election support for the Liberal Democrats normally falls or stays at the same low level.

  • @nvelope2003
    For clarity I was referring to local council by-election wins. Of those up since the May 2018 local elections we started with 8 and we now have 18 – see

  • It is worth noting nvelope2003 point about independents and to be fair often other local parties( resident et al). People will often vote for someone who isn’t part of the establishment, this seems to work for the Lib Dems when they are the only none establishment party but if there is an independent or other party that fits this criteria it doesn’t. Perhaps the coalition policy of getting into bed with the establishment is still having a drag on the way we are perceived.

  • What would worry me, if I were claiming to represent anybody in any constituency or ward, is the turnout.

    I get the feeling that all level of politics are speaking to themselves and that the general population have gone their own way.

  • The problem is that everyone keeps waiting for an alleged moderate left or centrist party consensus to return. but there was nothing moderate about that era in the first place. The period from the 90s to 2007 was one of extremist violent attempts at nation building, dogmatic free market economics and wide the spread surveillance of private citizens in allegedly open democratic countries. It ended in military failure, economic collapse, epic levels of corruption and in 2011 by half of London being raised to the ground. In short it was a total and utter failure at almost every level.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Nov '18 - 9:21am

    Look up, chaps! Far from the Lib Dems having served their purpose, nvelope, we have led the movement that is now galloping forward for another referendum and an Exit from Brexit. So time may come soon when ‘We told you what the country needs all along’ can be recognised, and a time of chaos and falling leaders can see us emerge known and respected.

  • Katharine Pindar: It is possible that Brexit will not happen now but we will not be thanked for it, any more than we would be thanked for a big tax and NI increase even though people might think it was necessary to pay for the NHS. Increases in rail fares are probably necessary to modernise the railways but are greeted with anger and dismay. Many people have been led to believe in a fantasy world where nothing bad happens as they sit in their beautiful kitchens where little or no cooking happens as they live on takeaways and ready meals.

    Michael 1: Thank you for you explanation and the link. We are much the larger of the smaller parties now. I assume the Greens have lost votes as their left wing recruits return to Labour under Corbyn. Presumably the so called under class do not vote now, if they ever did.

    Glenn: Half of London raised ? Assuming you mean razed that is an absurd exaggeration. There was some damage, mostly caused by looters and arsonists looking for a fun night out from my observations.

    frankie: Yes our party is now seen as part of the establishment because it is hard to have warm feelings for a party which is opposed to grammar schools while many of its members went to independent schools and/or send their children to them. It is seen by many as a party for the better off middle class but then so is the labour party. We could try to be different but I suppose that would not suit the membership.

  • Nvelope2003
    The “night” of fun lasted four nights, spread across several boroughs and caused over £50 million in damage and then spread to other cities. You can also find clips of rioters shouting “we are all in this together”. The main thrust of my argument was not the riots but in fact the catastrophic failure of what was being hailed as the end of history and the dawn of a new stable centrist consensus. But actually resulted in military , financial, political, and social failure at almost every level. The thing I find symbolically interesting of this failure is elevation of London as an idealised beacon of liberal values, when really it’s a grotesquely unequal crime ridden conurbation made up of a transient student population, the poor and the wealthy living together in anything but peaceful harmony.

  • Sue Sutherland 10th Nov '18 - 12:23pm

    I was very active in the party after the break up of the Alliance and the situation was similar to the one we face now. Voters expected us to behave differently from the other two main parties and we let them down. We recovered by campaigning hard in local elections and then we had a series of stunning by election wins at a national level which in turn resulted in increasing numbers of gains at general elections.
    So I think it’s vital to celebrate local elections and to thank those who stand in them. It really doesn’t do much good to look at the nearly empty glass all the time. We are where we are. This party is where I belong and there are lots of new members who feel the same way.
    I agree with Katharine. When most people realise we have been telling the truth about Brexit there will be an opportunity to grow again in terms of numbers of councillors and MPs.

  • @ Martin Not so. You mustn’t confuse disappointment at performance with a lack of goodwill for improved performance.

  • marcstevens 10th Nov '18 - 4:26pm

    Ealing LB, Dormers Wells. It’s also the kind of community that could lose out when the benefits of EU membership disappear and community resources are shut down in that area funded by ESF monies. When these groups are unable to secure funding, I am not aware of any commonwealth money trees that will bail them out, neither will necessarily local or national government.

  • paul barker 10th Nov '18 - 4:38pm

    Some thoughts on
    Where we are, our ” current” Polling range is from 6% to 13%. Polls find smaller Parties harder to measure, hence the variation. My best guess is that we are around 9% & have been improving by about 1% every 4 or 5 Months. That is painfully slow & could all be swept away by yet another “Snap” Election. As usual we do rather better in Local Votes but our performance is very patchy.
    What we can do is keep going, keep recovering slowly & keep looking for opportunities. As far as a rapid recovery goes, its not in our hands. There really isnt “Something” we could do differently & looking for that Magic Bullet will just waste our time. Blaming each other certainly wont help, it never does.

  • nvelope2003 10th Nov '18 - 7:38pm

    Glenn: I was not disagreeing with what you said but you do seem very embittered. Work may not suit everyone but it is necessary to have the standard of living people aspire to and many people find fulfillment in doing it.
    Being a curious person I went to have a look at the rioters and found they were a lot of young people stealing things and breaking windows to do so. It was quite frightening.

  • Nvelope28
    I’m not embittered and you keep dragging it back to the riots, when as I said my main point is that what gets called centrism resulted in military failure, political failure, and economic failure. My point about London is that from the outside it isn’t universally seen as vibrant interesting place. From a suburban or rural POV it looks more like a crime ridden dump and absolutely not a model to be emulated. The main problem the Lib Dem face is that the central vision isn’t attractive enough to get many votes outside of the major cities and the poor in the major cities seem to feel safer with labour. I didn’t mention work.

  • nvelope2003 11th Nov '18 - 9:30am

    Glenn: I assume your comment is directed at me so why not have the decency to use my correct ID. Your comments about work were in a previous post which I did not reply to initially. I have made similar points about the failure of the Liberal Democrats to deal with current issues. Crime is also spreading to the suburbs and even rural areas, mainly due to promoting drug addiction and supply to drug users. Most big cities are like London to varying degrees.

  • Nvelope2003
    It was a simple mistake caused by being up at an ungodly hour waiting up for my kids to roll in from a party. I can only apologies.

  • nvelope2003 12th Nov '18 - 3:19pm

    Glenn: Thank you.

  • Nevelope2003
    And thank you for graciously accepting my apology.

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