Local Council By-Elections 24th June 2021: Another night of Lib Dem success

Following on from the stunning by-election result last week in Chesham and Amersham, there’s been plenty for Lib Dems to celebrate in this week’s local government by-elections. An excellent gain in Chichester and a hold in Somerset West and Taunton has left us feeling very good for the second Friday in a row.

The headline result of the night has to be Chichester East, following on from their great performance at the County elections in May. The local team worked hard and it showed: a 24.7% increase and taking the seat off the Tories from third is seriously impressive. They were out knocking on doors rain or shine, and managed to get the fantastic candidate Bill Brisbane over the line. The win was down to a classic campaign fought well: lots of leaflets, a strong focus on squeeze, letters to postal voters, and a phenomenal Get Out The Vote effort. A cracking team, a superlative candidate, and a Fighting Fund grant from ALDC proved to be the winning formula. A huge congratulations to everyone involved.

In Somerset West and Taunton we saw the second of two by-elections in the authority held recently, of which we needed to win both to maintain our majority on the council. Thankfully, we held our seat last week at the by-election in Old Cleeve and District, and so the hold this week too in North Curry and Ruishton is a big relief! Well done to new councillor Barrie Hall and the local team.

It’s also worth mentioning Priory Vale in Swindon, and Wolvey & Shilton in Rugby. We didn’t stand a candidate the last time those seats were contested at an election, so it’s great  to see us giving voters a Lib Dem to vote for. Even if the vote share is in the single digits this time, it gives us a base to work from in the future. It was especially encouraging  to see us stand a Young Liberals candidate in Swindon. Thank you to both Joseph Polson and Sam Edwards for standing.

We didn’t stand candidates in either the Gwynedd or North Lanarkshire by-elections this week unfortunately – but hopefully next time we can work to get a candidate in place to fly the flag for the Lib Dems. You can find ALDCs updated advice on candidate approval and selection here.

The full results of the local council by-elections can be found here, as well as forthcoming by-elections here.

ALDC works to support Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners across the country. Members of ALDC can apply for a by-election fast track Fighting Fund grant of up to 50% of the maximum expense limit, see more information here.

* Ollie Bradfield is a Campaigns and Communications Intern at ALDC with responsibility for the by-elections reporting service

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  • Paul Barker 25th Jun '21 - 5:58pm

    The problem I have with this article is that it talks about the massive increase in our Vote share in Chichester but doesnt mention the massive decrease in Somerset. We should leave this sort of boosterism to The Tories.

  • Brad Barrows 25th Jun '21 - 5:59pm

    No candidate in the North Lanarkshire by-election….not a surprise as the Liberal Democrats did not contested this ward in 2017, 2012, or 2007, the year the ward was created when STV was introduced for council elections in Scotland.

    For contact, the ward part of the Motherwell and Wishaw Scottish parliamentary which the Liberal Democrats contested in 2021 and achieved 1.6%.

  • Brad Barrows 25th Jun '21 - 6:01pm

    Sorry, bad typing. Should state ‘For context, the ward is part of the…”

  • @Paul Barker

    May be boosterism!

    But I have commented in the previous thread on our post C&A bounce – that from afar the Chichester result may be not quite as good as it seems (no Green candidate this time and they were on 18% before).

    And equally the Somerset West and Tauton result may be better than it appear. Andew Teale in his Britain Elects previews writes of “in fighting among the Lib Dems” and that it was caused by a Lib Dem councillor of 34 years standing down – so one could expect that he had a personal vote and he also says that us gaining control of the council in 2019 was “unexpected”. He also says that the district ward is in part of two county council divisions both which are held by the Tories – (last fought in 2017 – there was no county council elections in Somerset this year).


    So a successful defence in may be somewhat difficult circumstances and a solid gain is not too bad a night’s work in my opinion!

  • There have been 5 Polls since C & A, our Vote share averaging just over 9%. We are up an average of 2% on before The Byelection.
    There may be more Polls later tonight.

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