Another good night for the Lib Dems in local elections – a strong hold and a GAIN

The Council by-election results are in and it’s been another very good night for the Liberal Democrats.

In Newnham ward, where MEP Lucy Nesthinga has stood down, Josh Matthews won with a big swing from Labour.

Congratulations to Cllr Josh Matthews and all the Cambridge team.

We had to wait for this one, but we GAINED Claines ward in Worcester to gain our only seat on the Council. Congratulations to Cllr Mel Allcott and team.

The Conservatives held the Irthlingborough Waterloo ward in Northamptonshire. Sadly there was no Lib Dem candidate.

Not a bad night, though! The Swinson Surge continues…

And there doesn’t seem to be much point in voting Labour. Look how their vote plummeted in both Newnham and Claines.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I’m wary of reading too much into such results but Labours vote does seem to be softening. In one respect that could be a great thing if it yields voters to the Lib Dem cause in a GE. The problem is that some might go Tory over Brexit and that would potentially see The Tory party form a majority government.

    Ultimately we can’t worry about such matters but there may well come a point where we need to make the electorate recognise that a vote for Labour is a wasted vote.

  • Such an extraordinary surge we are in at the moment. Its like being on the crest of a wave. What a shame Northamptonshire LibDems don’t want to be a part of it.

  • Charles Pragnell 9th Aug '19 - 9:12am

    Two good results last night. It seems Labour’s attacks on Jo are being counterproductive . Labour’s vote is softening. The results do show that the Labour vote locally is moving across to the Lib Dems, and this has been reflected by the National picture. The Your gov poll showed us up to 21 percent, that would see us with at least 48 seats . If we were to form a remain alliance , the Greens are currently on 5 to 7%. So we would be pushing towards the high twenties, it would put us between 96 and 111 seats .
    So much depends now on what is happening underneath the surface to counteract Boris’s no deal stance.

  • The Claines result shows the Conservative percentage also increasing since May. Apparently Labour did little or nothing mainly because the Conservatives losing a seat would alter the balance on the Council. We did win the ward in 2011.
    Perhaps it is interesting to compare the party percentages since the 2015 local election, then it was Con 42, Lib Dem 21, Labour 17, UKIP 11, Greens 8. (The combined Con/UKIP was 53%). So there appears to have been a sismic shift on the centre left, left side of.
    the equation.
    As in Brecon the Cons appeared to have stopped the rot, potentially making it more difficult for ourselves. Mind you in this political climate anything can happen from month to month. If a General Election is called in October then presumably there will not be a Hallam by election (memories of a Gorton scenario).

  • Apparently the poor Labour result in Cambridge is due to a lack of students. If it was term time, the students would have swung behind Labour singing “O Jeremey Corbyn” and crushed the Yellow Tories, or so say Jeremy’s outriders. Bless, just bless delusion seems endemic in the UK and not just over Brexit.

  • The Claines result shows the Conservative vote in better health than 3 weeks ago. We have to think about this. We won the ward in 2011, fell to 21% in 2015 when the combined Con/ukip vote was 53%, significant move upwards for us since then. Nice to get it back.
    One caveat I understand Labour did little or no work believing a Lib Dem gain resulting in the Cons maybe losing control of the Council as a result of last night.

  • Allan Brame 9th Aug '19 - 11:19am

    The 5% increase in the Tory vote in Claines is a concern, even though it was outweighed by our 9% increase.
    It can largely be put down to the absence of a UKIP candidate for the first time in years.
    Clearly much hinges on Johnson’s ability to cannibalise the pro-Brexit vote. If he succeeds, we are all in trouble

  • The Conservatives won a majority in 2015 with UKIP on nearly 13% but lost it in 2017 with UKIP on less than 2%. Not all UKIP/BREXIT voters are from the Conservative party.
    Nice local election results though.

  • Acland is correct. The UKIP/BXP situation is nuanced. Many are ex Tories some are ex LAB, a handful are ex LD, but many are from the unaffiliated and disaffected.
    I believe this was the Worcester candidate’s 6th attempt at this seat, so great credit to her for such determination. Let’s hope they can build on this.

  • Paul Barker 9th Aug '19 - 2:05pm

    For the next 3 Weeks, Local Byelections may be the only data available, its normal for Polling organisation to knock off completely in August. YouGov have put out one Poll this Month but I don’t know if they plan any more, we may have to wait till September.
    That one Poll does suggest that we got a small Boost from Brecon but its not much to go on.

  • Maybe the UKIP and Brexit parties get the protest vote which used to go to the Liberals and Liberal Democrats. The increase in support for the Liberal Democrats after Brecon may mask a slight drop recently. We need plenty of publicity but I think the party has changed from purely centre left into a Remain Party and attracted a different, possibly more determined, membership, which might be more dynamic.

  • Tony Greaves 9th Aug '19 - 6:42pm

    Sorry to quibble but the % changes here (which I think may be taken from Britain Elects) are not correct. (Claines seems to be from 2018 though even then not correct).

    The correct changes from May this year appear to be:

    WORCESTER Claines: LD 47.6 (+8.2); CON 45.6 (+3.0); LAB 2.2 (-2.7); GRN 4.6 (-3.7); [UKIP – 4.7].
    CAMBRIDGE Newnham: LD 59.5 (+9.3); LAB 18.1 (-9.5); GRN 11.5 (+2.4); CON 11.0 (-2.2)

  • Tony Greaves 9th Aug '19 - 6:45pm

    Tom McClean: perhaps there aren’t any Liberal Democrats in Irthlingborough. Easy to attack from ignorance.

  • Martin Land 9th Aug '19 - 8:20pm

    Newnham is not a high student population area, frankie. Also, students at Cambridge are generally not stupid. They know when they have been conned by Labour.

  • Martin Land – Read Andrew Teale’s Previews. Newnham has a substantial student population in term time.

  • Martin,
    I am merely the herald of the corbynoutriders pronouncement on the result. As I said delusion is not confined to Brexit, Jeremy’s desciples can be equally delusional and look for any excuse to explain away bad results, for truely it is spoken “Tis never Saint Jeremy’s fault”.

  • David Garlick 10th Aug '19 - 10:43am

    Tom McLean.
    I am part of Northamptonshire LD family and I don’t know why we did not stand in Irthlingborough.
    I am clear that it would not have been that they did ‘not want to be part of it’.
    Please don’t knock active, willing and hard working colleagues. They will work their socks of for the Party and I have no doubt they would have put up a candidate if they could.

  • Paul Barker 10th Aug '19 - 1:47pm

    The announcement of an Electoral deal between Us, The Greens outside Scotland & Plaid is great news. My only worry is that the plan seems to be limited to 100 Seats. If, as seems likely we will be fighting an Election in the midst of Brexit-generated Chaos, I think we could be much more ambitious.

  • Laurence Cox 10th Aug '19 - 4:14pm

    @Paul Barker

    I think the reason that they are targetting 100 seats is that it is enough to make a difference. As Nick Cohen says in the Spectator article (

    As the parties move down the list of target seats, the task becomes harder. In each constituency they are asking activists to step aside for a rival, a hard concession for many to make.

    I don’t think that it precludes Lib Dem and Green Party members in England agreeing local deals in constituencies where neither party has any chance of winning. Also there are the 16 independents, some of whom may be able to hold their seats as independents even if they do not join one of the Unite to Remain parties.

  • Paul Barker 10th Aug '19 - 6:19pm

    Reading Cohens piece again more carefully, its clear that more Constituencies could join if they want. The Agreement seems fairly open-ended, its a question of how much enthusiasm it generates & crucially, how much money is donated. Its really down to the “Will of The People.”
    None of this has been Officially announced yet.
    Looking at the current Polling Average on “Britain Elects”, the re-arranged figures would be :
    Unite To Remain. 26%
    Labour. 25%
    Tories. 25%
    Brexit Party. 19%
    That looks like a good start to me.

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