By-election update: 8 seats up for grabs – no losses, no gains

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)Thursday saw eight principal by-elections take place in England and Scotland. The Conservatives secured a gain on Gloucestershire County Council in the Mitcheldean by-election, a ward which previously had an Independent councillor.

In Durham, Labour gained a seat in Burnopfield and Dipton, defeating the Derwentside Independents by just a single vote.

In Shepway, the Conservatives successfully retained their seat in Folkstone North West. However UKIP made considerable inroads into the Conservative majority in the ward, with the party registering 27.7% of the vote having not fielded a candidate in the ward’s previous election in 2011. Also in the ward, the Lib Dems saw a rise in their vote percentage, with Hugh Robertson-Ritchie increasing the party’s vote share by 3.4% from 2011 in finishing third, two places higher than the party managed in the last election.

In Scotland, the SNP gained their first seat in a local by-election since 2011 by winning the Oban North and Lorn contest in Argyll and Bute by 461 first preference votes.

Elsewhere the Conservatives held seats on Chichester, Shepway and Mid-Sussex councils, with Labour successfully defending their seat in Evenwood ward on Durham Council. In addition, an Independent candidate was one again victorious in the Forest of Dean District Council ward of Newnham and Westbury.

For all the detailed results see ALDC elections.

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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14 Comments

  • Peter Watson 25th Oct '14 - 8:33am

    It looks like Lib Dems stood in four of those eight by-elections and finished third in two, fifth and sixth in the others.
    Is that good enough?

  • David Blake 25th Oct '14 - 9:34am

    Strange that there wasn’t even a Lib Dem candidate in the Oban election in a parliamentary seat we hold.

  • paul barker 25th Oct '14 - 3:12pm

    The big problem is not how we do when we stand but that we dont stand at all in so many places. We have plenty of good things to say & Voters will listen but we have to speak first.

  • paul barker 25th Oct ’14 – 3:12pm — The big problem is not how we do when we stand but that we dont stand at all in so many places.

    Possible reasons why there are no Liberal Democrat candidates in “so many places”.
    1. The party has been wiped off the map in so many places?
    2. Very few respectable Liberal Democrats wish to put their name forward for election whilst Clegg is leader?
    3. The message from the top of the party is — “There is not point in doing anything unless you are in a seat with an MP who has a chance (slightly more than 30 constituencies)?
    4. Grassroots Liberal Democrats have forgotten why it is important to fight and win local elections because Clegg has spent the last eight years telling that the only thing that matters is coalition government?
    5. A combination of 1,2,3 and 4. Failure of leadership has demoralised Liberal Democrats?

  • David Evans 25th Oct '14 - 4:29pm

    So no seats to defend, so no losses possible. However, the headline has to be “No losses.” Is it necessary to hide the facts behind Daily Mail standard headlines?

  • Martin Land 25th Oct '14 - 5:35pm

    No gains, no losses, no candidates. Head Office must be SO proud.

  • From what I can see there is not a single LibDem candidate in any of next week’s by-elections

  • paul barker 25th Oct '14 - 7:31pm

    One obvious possible reason is that the Anti-Clegg/We are all doomed campaign has been so succsessfull that no-one believes we can win anything anymore. The really odd thing is that Labour, Tories & Libdems are all demoralised at the same time.

  • Paul, I actually admire your perpetual optimism, but Peter Mandelson would be proud of that comment as a piece of spin.

  • Peter Watson 26th Oct '14 - 8:33am

    @paul barker “One obvious possible reason is that the Anti-Clegg/We are all doomed campaign has been so succsessfull that no-one believes we can win anything anymore.”
    Where we do stand, in elections at a variety of levels, we do not perform well, and in national polls a declining number of people have expressed a preference for voting Lib Dem. Party membership is down and some former activists have retained their membership but withdrawn their labour so there is a smaller pool of candidates. That is not because a few people on Lib Dem Voice point out failures in Clegg’s leadership of the party.

  • Paul In Wokingham 26th Oct '14 - 9:14am

    @Paul Barker – Overwhelming evidence requires us to reverse the order of your statements. It is much more logical to say that the “Anti-Clegg/We are all doomed campaign” has been “successful” because under the current leadership “no one believes we can win anything anymore”.

    Today’s Opinium poll for The Observer (Lib Dem 6% – lowest score ever recorded by Opinium) has the usual “QI” style scores for leaders’ approval:

    Farage : -1%
    Cameron : -6%
    Miliband : -23%
    Clegg : -43%

    This is the new normal. Lowest ever VI rating and Clegg far and away the least popular leader.

    Over on the members’ forum there has been an active thread called ‘”the Lib Dems are irrelevant” meme’. In that thread it is noted that we hope and expect to win about 30 seats and to be in contention in another 30. But at the same time we are on record low VI nationally. So since we must be on 30% or more in many of those seats, to get a national VI of 7% must mean that where we are not in contention we must be polling very badly indeed – mostly at lost-deposit level.

    In very large swathes of the country it is indeed the case that “no-one believes we can win anything anymore”. That is the consequence of years of unbroken poor polls and disastrous election results, culminating in the near wipe-out in the Euros in May. The responsibility for that lies with the leadership and I am tired of hearing the usual suspects blaming those who are willing to observe the emperor’s lack of apparel.

  • Has anybody at the top of the Liberal Democrat herirarchy WOKEN UP yet???

    Farage : -1% Cameron : -6% Miliband : -23% Clegg : -43%

    Clegg : -43% Clegg far and away the least popular leader. How many moths (years) has this been true now?

    Or are you all still sleep-walking to the cliff’s edge?
    How many weeks to the start of the General Election?? 20 weeks maybe ?
    Have any of you woken up to the reality of politics in the closing weeks of 2014?

  • John Tilley wrote:

    “How many weeks to the start of the General Election?? 20 weeks maybe ?”

    Look at the “Flock Together” menu on the right of the page. How many Actions Days are listed? The only Action Days that have been listed in the past month have been in Reading and Newbury, which are not target seats. What is Danny Alexander doing speaking in Elmbridge next Tuesday? Shouldn’t he be spending every spare moment in Inverness? Or has he given up already? And what was Mike Thornton doing in Hereford last Friday? Yes, it’s great that a sitting MP is helping in a target seat. But shouldn’t he be in Eastleigh?

    By the way, I have yet to receive an email from head office telling me how I can help. It looks suspiciously like everyone has given up, including the leadership, who are doubtless looking forward to careers in the City and media.

    Should I really spend my time helping anyone if our leaders don’t want to win?

  • So since we must be on 30% or more in many of those seats, to get a national VI of 7% must mean that where we are not in contention we must be polling very badly indeed – mostly at lost-deposit level.

    Not many seats are going to be won on 30% of the vote, even taking UKIP into account. Realistically it needs to be more like 40% to be in contention. And how likely is it that the party will get 40% in 10% of the seats (i.e. 4% of the national vote) and that the remainder of its national vote (4% according to UK Polling Report) will be spread over the other 90% of seats – giving an average vote of about 4.5%?

    Of course that’s not going to happen. If you really lose two thirds of your national vote, there is no way you can remain in contention in more than a small fraction of the seats you currently hold.

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