ALDC’s by-election review 23 March 2017

Last night there were three principal council by-elections. One of them produced an interesting ‘null and void’ declaration while in West Somerset there was an outstanding Liberal Democrat gain from the Conservatives in an election for the district council.

First to Blackburn UA. Higher Croft ward saw a by-election in December 2016, had one yesterday and is now set for a third in usual circumstances. Last night the Labour candidate won but the result was immediately declared null and void because he was employed by an external organisation on which Blackburn UA had places on the governing board of trustees.

The situation which occurred here is a classic nomination mistake and emphases the importance of checking work restrictions. Whether a teacher in an academy or someone working in a local museum can stand comes down to whether a local authority has any involvement in running the organisation and/or a role in making appointments. If you are in doubt talk to ALDC and ask the prospective candidate to check with their employers HR department.

Over to West Somerset District Council where, until last night, there were no Liberal Democrat councillors. We hadn’t stood in the lovely Exmoor town of Dunster last time but a great campaign was fought by the local team and newbie Peter Pilkington was elected.

West Somerset DC, Dunster and Timberscombe
Liberal Democrats 174 [49.7%, +49.7%]
Con 115 [32.9%, -26.7%]
Green 38 [10.9%, -26.9%]
Lab 23 [6.6%, +6.6%]


The final principal council election was held in Herefordshire UA’s Leominster South ward. Leominster constituency was once a top Liberal target seat and the area should be good Lib Dem territory but in recent years the Greens have made the running. They had won in 2014 in a previous incarnation of the ward (rather different to the current boundaries).

Herefordshire UA, Leominster South
Green 318 [40.8%, +10.1%]
It’s Our County 143 [18.3%, +18.3%]
Conservative 139 [17.8%, -8.6%]
No Description 116 [14.9%]
Liberal Democrat 64 [8.2%, + 8.2 %]


We had a candidate, unlike last time, which was a great step forward but here it was the Greens who fought the winning campaign. Thank you to Clive Thomas for flying the flag.

There is an interesting contrast between the Green vote in the two wards.

On the town, parish and community council front we had another gain, winning from Labour in Merseyside. Congratulations to Ian Smith for a thumping win.

Prescot Town Council, Prescot North Ward
Lib Dem 396
Labour 164
Conservative 26

This article was written by Richard Cole from ALDC with statistical analysis by John Swarbrick


* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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  • Prescot, second seat on Thursday won by Greens, similar sort of majority. No Lib Dem in that ward, looks like a local arrangement?

  • Geoff English 26th Mar '17 - 1:18pm

    Again , I mention the Lib Dem win at Ross- on- Wye Town Council on the same day as the other results listed. At least it shows we can win in Herefordshire still, even if the Greens have taken a grip on Leominster. I am puzzled as to why you seem to be anxious to ignore it. And alright it was only a town council, but so was Prescot!

  • Geoff: I suspect as this piece was written on Friday the author hadn’t seen the result in question. I am especially delighted to see a gain in the Hereford constituency. As am 18 year old I spent three weeks of my life living in Hereford during the 1992 General Election campaign and have fond memories of Paddy making a Battle Bus stop in a packed Ross on Wye town centre. Sadly we didn’t get Gwynoro Jones elected but I met some wonderful people (including the wonderful Baroness Seear) and went away inspired to attend many other by-elections during the 1990s.

  • Geoff English 26th Mar '17 - 3:02pm

    A couple of other comments about the by election at Higher Croft, Blackburn.
    (1)the Labour candidate had stood before in another ward, had lost and nobody had challenged his eligibilty. This time he was standing in a “safe” Labour seat, duly “won” with 58% of the vote, and was then disqualified. So while it is always important to check eligility criteria carefully, double the care if you are going to win!
    (2) Lib Dems failed to field a candidate this time, one of only two places this month in principal councils. As the election has to be rerun, there actually is a second chance to correct that.

  • The alleged result of the Blackburn with Darwen UA, Higher Croft was Lab 446 (59.6%) up 1.4%, UKIP 169 (22.6%) down 2.4% & Con 133 (17.8%) up 1.0% (since by-election in December). If this is verifiable why not publish it?

  • Tony Dawson 27th Mar '17 - 8:08am

    Does the candidate who wrongly caused the void election get to pay for the cost of his/her errors?

  • Please..lib dems get a candidate organised for this seat in Blackburn

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