Lib Dems gain in Three Rivers and forge ahead in Sheffield

Some very promising Council by-election results overnight.

First of all, there was a gain from the Conservatives in the Lib Dem stronghold of Three Rivers. Good to see the majority of one being boosted.

Congratulations to Keith Martin and the fabulous team in the area.

In Sheffield there was a solid 21% increase in the vote, even though Labour held the seat.

Another interesting result was this from Ashfield:

We did put up a candidate here, which is a really good thing. It is so important that we continue to fly our flag there and try to recoup the ground lost in that area. The winning Ashfield Independents, though, were formed by the previous Council-dominating Liberal Democrat group. Their literature looks strikingly familiar.

Another couple of seats wee held by Labour and there are some more results due today.

Update, much later:

A very disappointing result in Aberdeenshire. There was no Independent this time round but it is really heartbreaking to see this result in a former heartland.

This was a Tory hold and we do have a Councillor in the ward so there is something to build on.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Also one cannot be exact how the vote is churning but where we do well UKIP do very badly. Suggest a protest vote shuffling towards us in some areas. No real sign of a real swing from either Labour or the Cons. So perhaps best keep things in perspective.

  • Chris Bertram 13th Oct '17 - 9:25am

    UKIP have been very weak in all recent contests, typically losing 15-20%. And that’s where they bother standing. They have failed to defend some seats. My impression is the Labour may be picking up most of their vote – I call it “Red UKIP” returning home. It’s doubtful that we benefit much from their collapse. Maybe as some UKIP votes head for Labour, we pick up some from Labour. But that would need further analysis.

    The Greens are also not doing well. They start from a lower base than UKIP, but seem to lose about half their vote in most contests. And again they’re often absent from the ballot paper.

  • theakes Deadkip are well dead. If people are offered a viable option of something other than Labour or Conservative they seem to be willing to take it. You can see that with Independents, Greens and even Lib Dems being elected. The apatite for either main party is probably less than we think.
    Brexit is acting as the defining issue that is polarising the electorate. For it tending to hang onto nurse for fear of something worse, against it hanging onto Uncle. This will not last eventually both nurse and Uncle will start to alienate sections of their vote. in the case of nurse when she fails to provide the Brexit they want (becasue as they all want different Brexit s how can she satisfy them all or even most of them) and Uncle when he fails to deliver the goodies he has promised or what people think he has promised (what he has promised and what is expected are not the same, but that won’t help). How long will this take well to paraphrase Keynes

    “The voters can remain irrational longer than you can remain sane.”

  • Caron , You are right about the Ashfield Independents leaflets. Also their use of “..keep party politics out of…” will be familiar to those up against independent political parties elsewhere. Nonsense though it is, it’s effective nonsense.
    By the way the town used to enjoy the interesting name Hucknall Torkard which was unfortunately truncated to the ugly Hucknall circa 1970. Maybe the independents could get it reinstated.

  • paul holmes 13th Oct '17 - 1:58pm

    @Theakes. I don’t think it is a sign of “..the protest vote shuffling towards us in some areas..” That falls into the repeated trap of seeing national trends and swings from national politics as being the key factor in the regular Thursday by elections. During the year June 2016-May 2017 we had a lot of that on LD Voice, seizing on our 33 Council by election gains as a sign that the ‘Remainers’ were switching to us. Yet more than a few chipped in to note -or to puzzle over -the inconvenient fact that over half of those gains were in fact in strong Leave areas.

    Rather, the good results in a few post GE/June Council by elections have been where experienced L D teams have mounted strong campaigns using proven campaigning techniques (so not a couple of videos of Facebook for example). I know that is the case in Chesterfield’s recent gain with a 22% increase to 50% of the vote. I would strongly suspect that is what lays behind the 21% in Beighton yesterday and behind the Three Rivers gain too. Any current progress is a result of hard campaigns swimming against the electoral tide -not of ‘drifting’ with it.

  • paul barker 13th Oct '17 - 2:07pm

    The “Gain” is in fact a hold as we already were the leading Party in a multi-member ward.
    However both the Thre Rivers & Sheffield results were good with solid increases in our vote share. We stood in 6 of the 8 contests with the the other Wards both places we havent stood this Century.
    The general picture is of a slow recovery with our Local support now nearly back to the levels we got in May, itself our best showing since 2010.
    Our National Polling has also crept up, by nearly 1% over the last 3 Months.

  • Actually in Three Rivers we dropped % since last year when we won the seat. Your argument may be sound, I would not dispute that BUT the possible UKIP to Lib Dem swing does suggest it may not be an actual positive Lib Dem increase as such but the old style of protest, which I would not knock, it is votes after all, but in the end not solid or long lasting..
    Todays Scottosh Opinion poll and local result do not offer much at all, although I am sure Caron will zoom in on an optimistic level.

  • Politics is in flux and doesn’t look like it will settle down anytime soon. We live in interesting times and they are likely to get even more interesting.

  • Denis Loretto 13th Oct '17 - 6:42pm

    I would have thought any substantial transfer direct from UKIP to Lib Dem unlikely. Is it not more credible that the collapse of UKIP has led to transfers largely to Conservative while at the same time there are transfers from Conservative to Lib Dem, with Europe as the spur?

  • nvelope2003 13th Oct '17 - 8:42pm

    The Liberals used to gain support during periods of Conservative Government but not do so well when Labour was in power. Apart from some local government by election successes there has been no increase in Liberal Democrat national opinion poll ratings for some time. It is still about 7%, sometimes lower. Something is wrong. The party is too stuck in an establishment bubble supporting policies which no longer appeal to ordinary people. The Greens seem to have the same problem. The obsession with issues like comprehensive schools and other preocupations of the middle classes who only want theses things for other people’s children while they send their own to public or grammar schools does not help the party one little bit. Stop it now and try to reach out to the needs of the ordinary folk.

  • The gain in Three Rivers was certainly not due to us picking up vote from UKIP, but due to a steady increase in our vote share since we first won a seat there in 2014. The UKIP otr split between Tories, Labour and staying at home.

    The 2016 result was an outlier and was based on the individual candidates who stood that year. All three main parties fought the seat to win, ut voters recognised both the strength of the local team and the efficient and effective way that we run Three Rivers.

  • There are only 2 main parties now. The Liberal Democrats are for the moment the larger of the small parties.

  • Paul Barker. It’s a gain. The seat was held by the Tories. It’s now held by us. It’s a gain.

  • The Ashfield Independents are not independents. They are a rag bag of assorted political rejects led by the ex-LD Zarodny who couldn’t face the music anymore when we rightly suspended him.

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