ALDC’s by-election report: 21 July 2016

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)From one week of fantastic by-election results to another, with a Liberal Democrat gain in the Northampton Council, where the local Westone team increased the Lib Dem vote share by 36.4% to get our candidate Brian Markham elected. Councillor Markham received 49.7% of the vote, compared to the Conservatives’ 27.2% and Labour’s 23.0%.

The local team ran a fantastic campaign to “Bring Back Brian” to the area, as Brian first won the seat at another by-election in 1993 and represented the area for 18 years. Team Lib Dem engaged many of their new members in Westone as part of the campaign, with Brian saying that “we have had quite a few new members recently and it’s been great to be able to get them involved and see their enthusiasm”.

We also enjoyed success in the town council by-election in Burbage Parish, where the Conservatives enjoyed a 200 vote majority in the Stretton ward last year, but was gained yesterday by the Liberal Democrats with a 58 vote majority, receiving 47.2% of the vote.

Out of the ten by-elections that took place yesterday, the Liberal Democrats put up candidates in eight (we did not stand in Gwynedd and East Devon, which were held by Plaid Cymru with 75.8% of the vote and the Conservatives with 45.3% respectively). In six of these wards we saw increases in our vote share, including an impressive 12.6% increase for Celia Ann in Tandridge and 17.0% increase for Alex Sadiq in East Devon (both held by the Conservatives, with 56.5% and 45.3% of the vote respectively).

ALDC' LIb Dems Gain Seat

Alex has lived in Exmouth for fifteen years, where she is a pillar of the community along with her husband, who runs a family business in the centre of town. Alex gained 38.7% of the vote, and with less than 7% between us and the Tories, we are sure we will be reporting a gain in the area sometime soon. We also saw gains in three other council – in Lancashire where we got 4.8% of the vote, Lewisham with 10.9%, and Newark & Sherwood with 17.6% (as we had previously not contested the seat).

We have a slightly lighter week next week, with seven elections taking place – East Hampshire on the 26th, South Hams on the 27th, and Wychavon, Cornwall, Newport, Sutton and Haringey all on the 28th. The wards in both Newport and Sutton are currently Lib Dem seats, which we look forward to defending, as well as hopefully gaining some more seats to keep our winning streak going.

For a detailed list of this week’s results please click here. If you would like more information on all the forthcoming by-elections and details on who to contact to help, click here.

A big thank you as always to those who come every week to 23 New Mount Street in Manchester to make calls at ALDC’s By-election HQ, funded through fighting fund donations. If you can help us fight in even more wards, please donate here.

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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  • Congratulations to all including those whilst the result was disappointing, at least gave Lib Dems in the area someone to vote for. But surely if we are to progress we should have a system which allows party officials to seek explanations “why no candidate” and assist those areas to get organised. I appreciate there is already a forum to get Constituencies moving forward who would appear to close to dereliction,but it needs formal party action

  • Simon Banks 23rd Jul '16 - 8:29pm

    First I’ve heard of that Forum, though I’m pleased to say our local party, which could have been near to collapse if the new member surge hadn’t come, is strengthening thanks to making good use of the surge.

    We need to look at this at constituency or local party level (not always the same: we cover two constituencies and one of them would be derelict without this), but also at a higher level (cities or sub-regions where activity is minimal) and at a lower level where medium-sized towns have no activity.

    That said, let me give an example of an occasion when we didn’t put up a candidate. Crucial elections elsewhere were approaching and most of our work was going into our target. We’d fought a county council by-election, a low-cost but by no means insignificant effort in an unpromising bit of our worst town, and got 5%. A district council by-election followed in the same county division. The same candidate was primed to stand, but decided he’d had enough for the time being. No-one else was pushing to stand. We (including that candidate) decided to concentrate where our work would have an impact. It did.

  • Devon Lib Dem 23rd Jul '16 - 8:32pm

    Good results, again, and hopefully we have started to regain our local mojo. However, I am concerned about the propensity of local lib dem campaigns to run towards the NIMBY barricades when it comes to the crunch. In my own area, the local leaflets are 50%+ filled with articles about how terrible it will be when new homes are built, ignoring the national housing crisis that the country is in, and which the party (nationally) recognises. It is one of the reasons that I wasn’t sure whether to rejoin the party post – election. There are plenty of other things to campaign on.

  • Another Devon Lib Dem. Just to say – as Agent in the Exmouth byelection – we do sometimes campaign against inappropriately sited new housing, but none of that occurred in our literature this time, and we welcome more especially new affordable, and where possible social housing for rent.

    I agree with the comment in the lead article, that we shall, I believe soon make more gains locally – we gained a Town Council seat in April from the Tories. Another District and Town combination is pending in the town after the sad death of another Conservative.

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