By-election report 3 September 2021 – Win in Northampton

As always, a mixed bag of results for the by-elections this week. In three by-elections, we gained under 10% of the vote. But Newshound takes his hat off to Jacqueline Fuchshuber who gained a seat on Northampton Town Council by just seven votes. A win is a win, another Lib Dem win.

Calderdale MBC, Park – 2nd September 2021

Labour retains the seat. Thanks to Javed Bashir for flying the flag for the Lib Dems.

  • Labour – 1980 [82.9%, +26.1]
  • Conservative – 212 [8.9%, +3.9]
  • Green – 137 [5.7%, +2.8]
  • Lib Dem (Javed Bashir) – 60 [2.5%, +2.5]

Cheshire East UA, Wilmslow Dean Row – 2nd September 2021

The Residents of Wilmslow lost nearly 20% of the vote but regained the seat with ease. The Tories are champing at the Residents heels with a near 10% increase in vote. Thanks to Birgitta Hoffman for representing the Lib Dems.

  • Residents of Wilmslow: 447, 50.7% (-18.7)
  • Conservative: 354, 40.2% (+9.6)
  • Birgitta Hoffman (Lib Dem): 46, 5.2% (+5.2)
  • Green: 34, 3.9% (+3.9)

Calderdale MBC, Ryburn – 2nd September 2021

A Tory gain from an independent who did not stand. Peter Wilcock stood on our behalf.

  • Conservative – 1188 [53.6%, +25.4]
  • Labour – 798 [36.0%, +24.8]
  • Green – 163 [7.4%, +0.9]
  • Lib Dem (Peter Wilcock) – 66 [3.0%, -0.9]

Northampton TC, Talavera – 2nd September 2021

And the result of the week. Lib Dem Jacqueline Fuchshuber stole a Northampton Town Council seat from Labour with a seven vote majority.

  • Lib Dem (Jacqueline Fuchshuber) – 444
  • Labour – 437
  • Independent – 96

Results from ALDC.

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17 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 4th Sep '21 - 9:21am

    The Liberal Democrats did gain a seat but no Green candidate was standing. In the other three by-elections that evening where the Green Party did stand, the Liberal Democ rats finished behind the Green Party twice and only ahead of them once (by 46 votes to 34). I think the lesson is that the Green Party is becoming as much of a credible alternative to Labour and Conservative as the Liberal Democrats are. This will make it increasingly difficult for the Liberal Democrats to win seats where both parties field candidates.

  • Kevin Brian Hawkins 4th Sep '21 - 10:22am

    As I commented last month I do not think that taking one week’s results – only three of which were in principal authorities – has any real significance. Any party can have a good week or a bad week. Looking at the last fifty by-elections (England & Wales, excluding town councils) the data shows the Conservatives on 37.5%, Labour 26.7%, Liberal Democrats 15.8%, and Greens 11.5%. Our share of the vote is slightly up on last month (15.6%).
    Perhaps the most significant fact is that Labour are not doing well. The Conservatives have maintained a lead for some time. My earliest data is for the fifty elections ending in July 1996 – a time when Labour were ahead by 10%. This was the year before Blair became Prime Minister. Winning general elections by a landslide majority is always accompanied by success in local elections in the preceding years. On current evidence I can’t see Labour winning next time round.
    Out of the last fifty by-elections we have a net gain of 5, the Greens a net gain of 4. Labour (-4) and the Tories (-1) have net losses. Independents also have -5 and Aspire (whoever they are) are on +1.

  • Chris Moore 4th Sep '21 - 11:45am

    Lib Dems and Greens were no-hopers in all three seats. No general conclusion can be drawn from such a tiny and unrepresentative sample.

    LDs regularly win seats where there are Green candidates.

  • Brad Barrows 4th Sep '21 - 12:08pm

    @Chris Moore
    I should have been more precise with my language – Yes, the Liberal Democrats regularly win seats where Green candidates are also standing, but they appear to find it difficult to gain seats under FPTP elections when the Green Party is also standing. Indeed, the Greens appear more able to gain seats when the Liberal Democrats are also standing than the other way around. For the record, the last time the Liberal Democrats gained a seat under FPTP when the Greens were also standing was 1st July – over 50 by-elections ago. In that time the Greens have gained 3 seats when the Liberal Democrats were also standing: 19th August, 22nd July and 8th July.

  • @Chris Moore. “Lib Dems and Greens were no hopers in all three seats”.

    Not many years ago the Liberal Democrat’s regularly won seats in Calderdale and were part of the administration of the Council. The results there should be a matter of great concern to serious Lib Dem’s.

  • Chris Moore 4th Sep '21 - 2:34pm

    @Brad Barrows,

    It’s still a small sample to draw general psephological conclusions from, let alone to base any electoral strategy on: pacts with Greens?

    If we looked across all local elections and compared similar seats with or without Green candidates, perhaps there would be a negative effect on LD vote. But it would need to be quantified.

    But likewise there being no Labour candidate might well have a bigger effect on the LD vote.

    And ditto for seats having no Conservative candidate, SNP candidate and so on.

  • Brad Barrows 4th Sep '21 - 3:12pm

    @Chris Moore
    You make a fair point. The sample is small but there is no doubt that all the coverage of the climate emergency and the need for action to address climate change is giving a boost to the Green movement generally and I would suggest that the Green Party of England and Wales is going to grow in the years ahead. I notice that the SNP has decided to do a deal with the Scottish Green Party which I suspect is very clever politics as it adds a ‘Green credibility’ to its pro-independence agenda, a combination that may appeal particularly to younger voters. I do think that a formal non-aggression arrangement between the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party where they agree not compete in each other’s target seats would be sensible politics for both parties.

  • @David Raw

    Yes, Calderdale was once an area of strength. But the fact is we were no-hopers in the relevant local by-elections this week.

    It’s true of many areas of the country.

    @Brad Barrows: so what about a pact with Labour?

  • Jayne mansfield 5th Sep '21 - 9:40am

    @ Brad Burrows,
    The Green party is a distinct party which, one hopes, does not blow with the wind, depending on the ongoing arguments as what being ‘Liberal ‘ means in practical terms.

    Many like myself, who have moved from supporting the Liberal Democrats to supporting the Green Party, have done so because we were horrified by the voting patterns of the Liberal Democrat MPs in the coalition, including that of the current leader. I am sorry, but those who say we should move on, seem to lack the understanding that one can’t move on when the damage done is still all too apparent and still being felt.

    Admittedly, I was a member of Greenpeace , so environmental issues always been important to me, but it is not only the urgent issue of Climate change that is the reason I and others of my acquaintance have switched allegiance. There are the Green Party manifesto pledges to restore the NHS, repeal the Health and Social Care Act, ( I was appalled when a politician who I have always admired, the Late Shirley Williams became involved in its acceptance), the abolition of the internal market, the roll back of privatisation, that has continues apace under cover of Covid.

    I am afraid that when I read posts by the sort of Liberal Democrats I can relate to, the David Raws, the Katharine Pindars, and their passion to see the Alston Report findings acted upon with vigour, I find them to be in a minority. The balance has moved far too far to individual rights and far too far from our duties and responsibilities to others as members of society.

    As individuals we are already choosing to vote positively, but also negatively, to keep some parties out, why would anyone who feels deeply about issues, vote for a party that is doing deals with a party that one has rejected as an option?

  • Chris Moore 5th Sep '21 - 6:03pm

    So it seems with that last paragraph, you are declaring yourself against any coalition…..

    I think the vast majority of LD members would support implementation of the Alston report.

    Like a lover that has disappointed you, your view of the LDs is understandably jaundiced, but it’s also very one-sided!

  • Jayne mansfield 5th Sep '21 - 8:13pm

    @ Chris Moore,
    No I am just against coalitions of parties that have values and principles that I believe are , or should be, incompatible.

    The Green party is , if one chooses to place a party on a left right spectrum, is in my opinion, on the left of the spectrum, whereas the Liberal Democrats and its predecessors were once to the left of Labour , now seem to be seeking to scoop up disenchanted Tories by being more to the political right.

    I have never been disappointed by a lover. But as we say in Yorkshire , ‘Mustn’t gloat”

  • Christopher Moore 5th Sep '21 - 10:04pm

    @Jayne Mansfield

    Never disappointed by a lover?

    That’s one of the finest experiences life can offer.

    My “second preference” is Green. I did read their 2019 manifesto. But it was really an enormous wish list with nothing much or coherent about how they’d achieve their wishes.

    They are even further from power than the LDs so I guess don’t have to bother with being credible.

  • Nonconformistradical 6th Sep '21 - 11:11am

    @Jayne mansfield
    “No I am just against coalitions of parties that have values and principles that I believe are , or should be, incompatible.”

    So if an election results in no one party having a majority but there are some parties with major differences but sufficient overlap of values to permit the possibility of their working together at least in the short term how do you think they could proceed? Formal coalition? Or some other arrangement?

  • Jayne mansfield 6th Sep '21 - 11:56am

    @ Nonconformist radical,

    I believe that if one had deeply held values, there should be red lines that will not be crossed. If one has to adopt a working relationship, and many of us do in our working lives, support should only be given when policies are developed where those values and principles are not in conflict. I think if you look at yougov polling after the coalition, the problem for the who left the Liberal Democrats for other parties was lack of trust and credibility.

    If one looks at the voting record of Liberal Democrat MPs during the coalition , some of the voting behaviour of Liberal Democrats, on for example, austerity measures, or social welfare , did indeed demonstrate an overlapping of values with Tory values , and that appalled so many of us and made us view the Liberal Democrat Party in a new light.

    As someone who has in the past, never had any reason to be other than pleased with the hard working, decent local Liberal Democrat councillors that I have voted for in different parts of the country, I have to say that the Green Party and indeed the Labour Party should be wary of any coalition with the Liberal Democrats. until one knows exactly what they believe in, because even on here, given the small number of contributors, it really isn’t clear.

  • Chris Moore 6th Sep '21 - 9:37pm

    I think you’ll find there’s a wide range of opinion in the Labour party too! There is in any broad-based party.

    That’s a positive, not a negative.

    Imagine a party where everone sang from the same hymn sheet. That really would be disturbing!

  • @ Jayne Mansfield Kind words, for which I say ‘thank you’, Jayne.

    I would imagine you’re not the only one to experience your direction of travel. From an historical point of view the events and debates of recent years have much in common with the travails and events of 100 years ago…… as have the outcomes.

  • Paul Barker 7th Sep '21 - 5:29pm

    If we look at the 50 or so Polls since Chesham, The Libdems are averaging 9% & The Greens between 5% & 6%, this at a time when The Environment is seen by Voters as more important than The Economy.

    In May there was a lot of talk of a “Green Breakthrough” yet We elected 4 times as many Councillors as them – they made impressive gains but from a much lower base.

    I have been advocating an Alliance of some sort with “The Greens” (GPEW) for some time – because we share similar Values & appeal to many of the same Voters. I have no problem with Local Deals to avoid “splitting the vote”, its another consequence of Targeting.

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