ALDC’s by-election report – 2 November 2017

Well that was pretty good wasn’t it? Last night there were 6 seats up for grabs in England, with a fantastic hat-trick of gains from the Conservatives giving us all something to cheer about as we head into the depths of winter. Across the night we took a mighty 39.0% (up 17.2%) of the vote, showing that like in much of last year if we stand candidates and fight hard we can win anywhere, in spite of our current Westminster polling! We stood candidates in 5 out of the 6 by-elections, which is 1 more than we did in the previous corresponding elections.

 

Arun DC, Aldwick West – Lib Dem gain from Conservative
 
LD Martin Smith 719 [52.7%; +34.2%]
Con 480 [35.2%; -16.7%]
Lab 112 [8.2%; +8.2%]
Grn 54 [4.0%; +4.0%]
UKIP 0 [[0.0%; -29.7%]]
Starting off with the most spectacular result of the night, a staggering swing of 25.5%(!) ensured that Martin Smith came from third to win in Aldwick with a handsome majority. A campaign based around the council’s poorly planned over development, our team in Arun won by showing residents that the council simply don’t listen to their concerns, which included the unpopular closure of the public toilets and moving the town bandstand. Massive congratulations to the Arun team!
North Devon DC, Braunton East  Lib  Dem gain from Conservative
LD Derrick Spear 459 [37.1%; +3.0%]
Grn 387 [31.3%; +10.5%]
Con 225 [18.2%; -17.5%]
Lab 165 [13.3%; +6.3%]
TUSC 0 [[0.0%; -2.4%]]
Across to the South-West and the tradional Liberal heartland of North Devon for our next gain, where Derrick Spear benefitted from a collapse of the Tory vote, whilst holding off a spirited campaign from the Greens. A swing like this would easily be enough to take the parliamentary seat back off the Tories and hopefully shows the beginning of a serious Tory slump in our former seats.
Sefton MB, Duke’s – Lib Dem gain from Conservative
 
LD John Pugh 1680 [56.0%; +10.9%]
Con 790 [26.3%; -1.6%]
Lab 417 [13.9%; +0.7%]
UKIP 69 [2.3%; -8.2%]
Grn 45 [1.5%; -1.7%]
 
Up to the north-west for the next gain, and (as the leaflets put it) the return of Southport’s voice, with former MP John Pugh making a triumphant return to elected office, continuing his personal record of winning every election he’s ever fought. Even though we won Southport in every general election bar one from 1987 to 2015, Duke’s ward had been consistently Tory, so this by-election result along with the win in 2016 is a real testament to our campaigning skill in Southport. John’s campaign was focused on the notable difference in the way the Labour run Sefton council treats Bootle (Labour stronghold) and Southport (no Labour representation since 1974).
Buckinghamshire CC, Beaconsfield – Conservative hold
 
Con 1,298 [81.3%; +11.1%]
LD Mark Skoyles 299 [18.7%; +2.5%]
Lab 0 [[0.0%; -6.9%]]
UKIP 0 [[0.0%; -6.7%]] 
 
South Bucks, Beaconsfield North – Conservative hold
Con 441 [76.4%; -9.7%]
LD Damian Saunders 136 [23.6%; +23.6%]
UKIP 0 [0.0%; -13.9%]
 
 
Now to the Buckinghamshire for two by-elections caused by the death of a sitting Tory councillor, a big thank you to Mark Skoyles and Damian Saunders for flying the Lib Dem flag to make sure these seats were contested. It’s important that in areas like this we continue to stand candidates like we have been doing since the general election earlier this year, as they help increase our overall share of the votes and give us legitimacy in the area.
 
Copeland BC, Egremont South – Labour hold
 
Lab 354 [52.4%; +9.1%]
Con 321 [47.6%; +23.0%]
Grn 0 [[0.0%; -8.0%]]
Ind 0 [[0.0%; -24.2]]
 
Continuing up the north-western coast to Copeland, no Lib Dem candidate as the Conservatives continued their impressive set of results in Copeland following their by-election triumpth last year. This once Labour stronghold looks to be trending increasingly Conservative, highlighting that Labour are vulnerable too at the moment under the right scenarios.
Next week there are 5 elections, with a couple of potential gains in Fareham and Flintshire. See you next week!

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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