By-election watch: 10/11 April… Luton bringing me sunshine…

Ballot boxThree principal authority by-elections this week, two candidates and one win…

We start with Darlington, where Howard Jones was flying our flag in Lascelles ward, one which we didn’t fight in 2011. Plaudits should go the team there, who have demonstrated that there is a vote for us out there, if we make a case. The Conservatives were pushed into third place, perhaps reflecting national opinion polls that are showing them at their lowest level in this Parliament. The result was;

  • Helen Crumbie (Labour) – 426 votes (63%, -17%)
  • Howard Jones (Liberal Democrat) – 129 votes (19%, +19%)
  • Lewis Cairns (Conservative) – 117 votes (17%, -3%)

Luton saw that rare event, a Wednesday by-election, and, even rarer in the East of England, a Liberal Democrat defence in one of Labour’s two Parliamentary seats. The by-election, caused by the death of stalwart Liberal Democrat Roy Davies in Wigmore ward. The Conservative vote from 2011 collapsed, as their share of the vote halved, UKIP being the apparent beneficiaries. The Liberal Democrat vote held up well, proof that it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom in contests against Labour.

The result;

  • Alan Skepelhorn (Liberal Democrat) – 982 votes (47%)
  • James Taylor (Labour) – 517 votes (24%)
  • John Young (Conservative) – 281 votes (13%)
  • Lance Richardson (UKIP) – 230 votes (11%)
  • John Magill (Independent) – 62 votes (3%)
  • Marc Scheimann (Green) – 27 votes (1%)

In tribute, our successful candidate said;

I’ve always had an idea of what’s going on and as far as I’m concerned it’s business as usual. Roy served the people of Wigmore for 30 years and I intend to follow with the same dedication. It’s how we work.

Finally, in Pembrokeshire, there wasn’t a Liberal Democrat candidate in Burton ward, which saw its first contested election since 2004. Despite the intervention of Labour and Conservative candidates, one of the Independents was successful in what is one of the Independent-led rural Welsh authorities.

Again, if there are any results that we missed, do add them as a comment…

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This entry was posted in Council by-elections.


  • David Pollard 12th Apr '13 - 11:27am

    Its always interesting to know the change in the % vote from last time.

  • Delivered good mornings in Luton, went to work, then went knocking up. Labour’s operation had good literature and aggressive messaging and their MP was out on the doorstep. Even more importantly, the Lib Dem vote didn’t just ‘hold-up well.’ there was an average 3% swing to us 🙂

  • Peter Chapman 12th Apr '13 - 2:54pm

    The result actually hides how hard Labour worked this ward. They ran a massive campaign with extremely aggressive personal attacks against myself (one of the two other Lib Dems Cllrs in the ward) and the candidate. We find it hard to be so aggressive as them to be honest (basically they make up stories about our people that are totally untrue and present them in leaflet after leaflet) Their whole campaign was based on slander and innuendo and they never once mentioned a policy or view on a local issue .But the leaflets they did were expensive glossy colour ones (lots of them)
    We have gone back to the levels of work we had to put in in the Late 70’s and 80’s to win a ward and realise the sorts of campaigns that won wards in the 90’s and 00’s wont get Lib Dems elected against Labour. We went back to a4 Risoed Black and white focus which meant we could produce a lot cheaply and target mail .But the real secret of our success was giving local people a reason to go and vote on a local issue (closing a Library etc) .We may be at ground Zero but at last we are not retreating

  • Spot on, and well done Peter.

  • Lots of expensive, glossy leaflets? Might be worth checking their expenses return and letting them know you checked it to discourage them next time round?

  • Paul McKeown 13th Apr '13 - 12:20pm

    Great work, pat on the back to the Lib Dems in Luton.

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