By-election news: Great start to the New Year

Photo: Andrew Carpenter

There were two principal council elections held on the 28th January. The Lib Dems held one seat and gained one from the Tories. In the only Town and Parish Council results reported to ALDC the Tories held the seat.

The Great Bowden and Arden Ward of Harborough District Council in Leicestershire saw this year’s first by-election gain, at the expense of the Conservatives. Tory attacks fell flat when faced with candidate Phil Knowles’ wide experience of local issues and hard-working reputation established during his previous time as councillor. The campaign’s popular position on a touchstone local planning issue was further boosted by extensive media coverage following a visit by party President Baroness Ros Scott. Emphasising the importance of local issues and grassroots activism throughout, the Knowles campaign used regular Focuses, Street and Targeted mailing, and an extensive door-knocking in terrible weather to open our 2010 local elections with a resounding success.

Thursday saw the second by-election win in the Lyngford Ward of Taunton-Deane District council in Somerset. In October last year another of our three seats in the ward was successfully defended in a by-election, so given that this was a disqualification this was another good result. Key to our success here was a lot of good preparation given that we knew a by-election was likely. In a cold winter’s campaign 47% of votes cast were postal and 67% of all postal voters voted. Lucky, then, that we sent blue letters and knocked up our postal voters. Falling within Jeremy Browne’s Taunton constituency this was a second piece of good news following his successful appeal against his “Legg letter”. The Tory candidate didn’t bother to attend the count in October but was so confident that he was there to see them lose this time.

John Bridges is a Political Officer at the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

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This entry was posted in Council by-elections.

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