By-election update: All holds

This week saw six council by-elections in Carlisle, Cumbria, two in Newark and Sherwood, Newham and Vale of White Horse. All the incumbent parties held their seats.

Margaret Crick, Layla Moran and the OxWAb Lib Dem team

In the Vale of White Horse, former Abingdon Town Councillor Margaret Crick retained the Liberal Democrat seat in Abingdon Dunmore with 52.4% of the vote. The Conservative candidate took 35.1% (-6.2%) in the Tory/Lib Dem marginal seat. UKIP came third with 6.3% and Labour came last with 6.1%. The Local Liberal Democrats ran strong campaign to protect the Green Belt from an inappropriate housing development (which is supported by the Conservative Council) and against road changes which have been dangerous for cyclists and caused traffic jams. Cllr Crick and her team began their campaign with a ‘knock and drop’ survey to gauge local reactions. As feelings ran very high they launched petitions on the key issues and went door to door with them, getting a great response.

The Liberal Democrat by-election campaign consisted of regular ward Focus leaflets, updating residents about the key campaigns plus a lot of targeted literature, including report back mailings and emails to people who had signed each petition. As the local team had solid Voter ID from years of canvassing they concentrated door-knocking on the waverers and postal voters. A significant number of Labour voters were prepared to vote tactically to beat the unpopular local Tory administration. The Conservatives put great effort into winning the seat and came out against things their council had decided. The Abingdon Lib Dems campaigned hard to rebut these messages and even printed council minutes to show Tory deceptions. The Liberal Democrat campaign closely linked Cllr Crick with Layla Moran (the Oxford West and Abingdon PPC). Layla Moran led many of the campaign sessions and successfully got large teams out in the final week.

ALDC Regional Development Officer, Neil Fawcett said: “Ultimately it was a combination of getting the message spot on, talking to the right people about the right issues at the right time, and a lot of one to one contact with the voters that would decide the result. The result is another sign that we can win back both the Vale of White Horse Council and the Oxford West & Abingdon constituency in May – as long as we keep building our campaigning and keep highlighting local Tory failures.”

In Carlisle, the Castle wards of the City and County Council were contested following the death of the sitting Labour councillor. The results were similar in both elections with Labour coming first with 38% of the vote, the Conservatives second, UKIP third, Mark Jennings (Liberal Democrat) came fourth in the City Council election with 12.8% and 10.9% in the County election, the Green party came last in both contests.

There was no Liberal Democrat candidate in either Newark and Sherwood election. Labour comfortably held on in Ollerton with 58.1% of the vote. In Collingham and Meering the Conservatives’ vote dropped by 24% but they still held the seat with 41.2%. Sadly the Liberal Democrats did not contest the election despite gaining 34.6% in the 2011 district election.

Labour won 51% of the vote in Beckton ward (Newham LBC). David Thorpe took 2.2% for the Liberal Democrats in this safe Labour seat.

For all the detailed results see ALDC elections.

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Max Wilkinson 12th Sep '14 - 9:39pm

    Caractatus raises a good point. Perhaps somebody at the top of the party can explain how we can continue to campaign on both sides of the housing debate without appearing completely disingenuous.

  • Caractatus 12th Sep ’14 – 8:22pm
    Max Wilkinson 12th Sep ’14 – 9:39pm

    We can campaign for new housing (I would hope for more than 300,000 per year) and protect green belt and greenfield sites but the would require government action on a scale that we have not seen since the 1950s.
    There are a number of quick fixes that c ould get us on the way .
    for example —
    1) releasing land which has been in the hands of the military since the 1940s and has been left derelict because of the changing needs of military training and warfare
    2). Releasing land and buildings currently assigned to the Royal Family and the Church of England but sitting idle
    3). Building on brownfield sites in cities. It is extraordinary that even in London you can in a short train journey pass derelict acres. Battersea Power Station a huge site has stood empty for as long as anyone can remember. In my own borough the power station was closed in the mid 1970s — the site stood empty and derelict for twenty years before a start was made on house building. A further twenty years have passed and the final phase of house building should be finished in the next few months. Hundreds of new homes, highly desirable in a town centre riverside location, but it tooknforty years !!

    Unfortunately the rather timid Clegg proposal for Garden Cities of a few thousand houses smacks of too little, too late and probably in the wrong place.

    So I believe campaigns by local Liberal Democrats to save Green Belt landi are entirely compatible with a national plan for hundreds of thousands of new homes every year. Well done Councillor Margaret Crick for fighting a successful campaign working with local people in their community!!

  • George Potter, good points but make sure the infrastructure gets built first before the developers even start on any housing.
    Promises of infrastructure have far too often been forgotten once houses are in place and developers have pocketed their profits.

  • Glenn Andrews 13th Sep '14 - 9:42am

    John Tilley;
    Max raises a good point there; here in Cheltenham (a thriving Liberal Democrat run authority) there really are no brownfield sites left – barring those that are about to be built on in the next couple of years… and there is still a need for more housing…. So pretty soon we are going to have to bite the bullet and build on green belt land… What’s important in such a scenario is that we build in a way that preserves green corridors going deep into urban areas, and of course invest in re-wilding shrinking towns.

  • Glenn Andrews, you make a reasonable case. You obviously know more about the local situation. Could I offer one more alternative to building on green belt? Make a detailed assessment of what type of housing is actually needed. Some of the housing estates built by private developers do not make best use of the imited land available. They conform to a model (like Brookside Close) with overprovision for cars and parking, token gardess etc you know the sort of thing? They work on a sort of lowest common denominator of “what sells” and maximises their profit rather than what is needed. The Bedromm Tax has if nothing else revealed that in many places there is a severe shortage of single bedroom properties or studio flats — matched by an over provision of two and three bedroom properties. Living patterns have changed over the last fifty years with divorce and/or people opting to live alone or finding themselves in that position after their partner dies there is scope for building according to need rather than the property developers
    In addition you might chose the Barcelona option and build p rather than out. It require imagination and proper intelligence on local future housing needs. Apologies ifmI am teaching you to suck eggs. You maybe kow all this stuff already.

  • People might be interested in the approach to housing used by URBED, who have just won the Wolfson prize for their ideas:

  • Tim Leunig

    Not everybody is enthusiastic about the URBED proposals.   Richard Rogers makes points that many Liberal Democrats would share — on brownfield sites, middle class flight from cities and increased car use.

    Reacting to URBED‘s winning proposal in the Wolfson Economics Prize, Richard Rogers has denounced the idea of creating new Garden Cities in the UK, saying that the “ridiculous concept” risks “emptying out existing cities and that is a ridiculous idea.”

    …. Rogers claimed that there was enough brownfield land in Britain’s major cities to meet the needs of the current housing crisis, and the creation of new Garden cities would lead to increased car use and middle-class only towns.

    for more of Rogers’ comments —

  • David Evans 15th Sep '14 - 3:39pm

    It is sad to note that there is so little said about the Carlisle By elections, when in reality it is a microcosm of Nick Clegg’s disastrous leadership. Castle Ward was won by the Lib Dems in 2002 and built up to three Lib Dem Councillors over the next two years. It was then continuously held by the Lib Dems each year with a vote approximately double that of Labour, until 2010, when we held it, just, against a general election turnout that was double that of a normal year. In 2011 we lost one seat, finishing second; and again in 2012. In the 2014 by-election we finished fourth.

    A Lib Dem stronghold turned into a near wasteland in four years.


  • John Tilley: “you might chose the Barcelona option and build p rather than out” Presuming you meant ‘up’, I think you would find that to be even more unpopular in Cheltenham. Incidentally how many people do downsize after a partner dies? Very few, I suspect.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Helen Dudden
    Restricting heating wont help. Black mould has been a culture in the many years of social housing. The lack of repairs, housing that was not that great to st...
  • Geoff Reid
    As a Methodist my instincts are usually to avoid interfering in private grief. However while the influence of bishops in the Lords may be marginal, this is grea...
  • Mick Taylor
    I rather fear that this sort of casual racism is far more common that any of us like to admit. I remember canvassing in a by-election that the BNP won. I, perh...
  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    When my mother was in her 90s and suffering from Alzheimer's I took in a photo of Obama and explained that he was the new US President. "Oh, he's a negro!" she ...
  • expats
    I clicked on a link to 'Petsy' Wyatt, it took me to the 'Mail' comments page; 'nuff said'!...