By-election news: two Lib Dem gains, one loss, Yeovil hold

Shropshire Lib Dem team celebratesLocal farmer Richard Huffer, last night won Clee Division of Shropshire County Council from the Conservatives taking over 60% of the vote. Speaking after the count, Richard said “I’m extremely grateful for the confidence that local electors have shown in me. The scale of the victory is quite humbling. Now the work really starts – our area has suffered from neglect and poor representation for too long!”

Parliamentary Candidate Heather Kidd, who was agent in the by-election said,

Richard will make an excellent councillor. He has a reputation for hard work and commitment to the community. He missed the seat by 20 votes in the first unitary Shropshire Council elections last year, so this is a huge vote of confidence in him and a big boost for the LibDems in Shropshire. We fought a full campaign which focused on issues critical to local people.

We had a fantastic team. We delivered over huge areas a classic ALDC campaign. It really works – especially if you have a great local hard working candidate!

The result:

Richard Huffer (Lib Dem) 946 60.3%,
Con 506 32.3%,
Ind 116 7.4%.

Turnout 43.11%.

And in another gain from the Conservatives, Garfield Kennedy was elected to Mendip District Council in the Shepton West by-election. This means that Mendip Council is now under no overall control (23 Conservatives, 22 Liberal Democrats, 2 Independents).

LD Garfield Kennedy 459;
Con 358;
Labour 241
Green 44.
There were two spoilt ballot papers.

Turnout 29.6%.

In other by-elections last night: Liberal Democrat Mike Lock held Yeovil Central on Yeovil town Council; the Lib Dems lost Crimchard, Chard Town Council, to an Independent. In Tulse Hill, Lambeth, Lib Dem Terry Curtis came second to Labour, with a 1.5% swing towards the Liberal Democrats.

By-elections in which the Lib Dems didn’t put up a candidate yesterday: Fylde BC, Ribby with Wrea, Newark and Sherwood DC, Rainworth, South Staffordshire DC, Huntington and Hatherton, and Hyndburn BC, Peel.

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9 Comments

  • The Shropshire result is excellent. It proves that we can and do win in rural areas if we fight them properly, and it shows that even in Tory areas where our vote subsided badly in May we can still come back.

    The Mendip result is also encouraging. However, the Labour vote was much less squeezed than it was at the General Election, and that is worrying. There is a risk, if we have AV, of Labour candidates coming second (just), and Lib Dem second preferences spitting equally and letting the Tory in.

  • David Hughes 2nd Jul '10 - 3:21pm

    The Labour candidate in Shepton West is a very popular local figure in the town who has a record of far outperforming any other Labour candidate in the area. It would have been nice to halve their vote as was achieved at the GE, but with this guy standing it was never likely. This lack of Lab squeeze actually makes Garfield’s achievement all the more encouraging, despite a very aggressive Tory campaign.

  • Andrea Gill 2nd Jul '10 - 4:08pm

    “There is a risk, if we have AV, of Labour candidates coming second (just), and Lib Dem second preferences spitting equally and letting the Tory in.”

    I don’t think AV for local elections is on the cards?

  • Christine Headley 2nd Jul '10 - 5:10pm

    Tulse Hill is interesting. LibDem vote up; (winning) Labour vote less up; Tory vote down.

  • @sesenco
    “There is a risk, if we have AV, of Labour candidates coming second (just), and Lib Dem second preferences spitting equally and letting the Tory in”

    You say that like we are all supposed to be inherently anti-tory, and de facto support Labour as the second best choice. Such sweeping assumptions don’t work for me, and a number of other Liberal Democrats I know.

    As for these results, they are very interesting. I’m not sure we have had any by-election yet where the Lib Dems have been squeezed by the Tories as was feared? Yes it’s early into the coalition, yes they are only low turnout local by-elections, but even so we can take a lot of heart from these results.

  • Patrick Smith 2nd Jul '10 - 6:41pm

    The Mendip and Shropshire By-Election results are encouraging.

    The evidence shows that where genuinely committed Local L/D candidates are standing they will win especially in Wards where there were quality defeated hard working L/D Cllrs. on May 6th.

    Bring on the local challenge to convert and listen to local voters on the coming up AV `Fair Votes’ Referendum.

    There will soon be national opinion polling on AV. once we know where the goalposts are going to be.

  • Ryan M,

    I didn’t express myself very well. I meant to say that in some constituencies if all Labour inclined voters voted Labour, the Labour candidate would be very far from winning, but would just pip the Liberal Democrats into third place; whereas, under FPTP, enough Labour voters would vote tactically to ensure a Lib Dem victory.

  • Patrick Smith 3rd Jul '10 - 12:13am

    Under a new mandate for AV for General Elections there would no longer be `tactical voting’.

    Simple majorities will still prevail in By and Local Elections and `tactical voting’ as we know, can play the most important part in victory for a candidate.

  • Garfield Kennedy 3rd Jul '10 - 7:48pm

    As the new Lib Dem councillor for Shepton West, I see our victory here as the Trojan Horse in the Tory citadel that is Mendip District Council. Despite a hateful series of personal attacks against myself and a catalogue of half-truths and downright lies about the past record of the Lib Dems in the Tory election literature and their candidate’s letter to the local press, the electorate have shown they’ve had enough of the local cozy self-serving Tory stitch-up of the Council. Shepton as a town has been ignored and abused by poor planning decisions and lazy or totally absent councillors. We have an opportunity next year to bring in new people who will listen and properly and fairly represent the town, and whole population of Mendip. Last Thursday’s result shows that with a well-run and energetic campaign – with no dirty tricks, no nasty letters or leaflets, and an ear for the real local issues, we can wipe out the Tory’s threadbare majority. I can’t wait to get stuck in!!!

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