Mixed by-election results – joy in Maghull, commiserations in Kingston

So, who says the Liberal Democrats can’t take seats off Labour in the north?

Actually, we can. In Maghull, just north of Liverpool, two wards of the town council turned from red to gold and another came within 9 tantalising votes of doing the same.  Our vigorous campaign won a 20% swing from Labour.

And, it seems, those fabulous Liberal Youth people were on the case, too.

Well done to all involved and congratulations to new councillors Jen Robertson and Bruce Hubbard. If anyone who was actually there wants to tell us how you did it, let us know.

Sadly Liberal Democrat Voice’s featured ward in Kingston (in Beverley ward, New Malden) didn’t go as well for us. Local circumstances made it a very difficult defence, and it ended up being a gain for the Conservatives. Commiserations to the team who ran a busy and energetic campaign. In February, another by-election in the constituency, in Berrylands, saw a Liberal Democrat victory.

Elsewhere, it wasn’t a good night to be a Conservative in Weston Super Mare, where they lost seats on both North Somerset Council and the town council to an independent candidate.

Liberal Democrats made progress in the Felsted ward of Uttlesford District Council in Saffron Walden, too, pushing UKIP back down into third place.

Next week’s by-elections include a contest in what I’ve seen described as a squeaker of a Liberal Democrat/Tory marginal in the Clitheroe Littlemoor ward of Ribble Valley Borough Council where our Jim Shervey is hoping to gain the seat. If you have time to do some phoning for them over the weekend, it could make the difference. The VPB code is  9F56BE-1998.




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  • Kingston is the end. I am a supporter of the co-alition. However it is taking us down, we a like the Titanic breaking in 2. The economy is now on the mend, We should now be looking to extricate ourselves over the next 3 – 6 months, we have done what we can, we have ensured a brighter economic future, we now need to be independent as a party.
    I feared leaving the coalition would create a general election situation and a whitewash for ourselves. Well staying in appears even worse. Better to fight an election having left now than in 18 months – 2 years time.

  • Sorry Theakes, but either you don’t know the very particular (and tragic) circumstances of the Kingston by-election or you are just using this as an excuse.

    It is simply not possible to draw any broader lessons from this very difficult situation.

  • ‘ I feared leaving the coalition would create a general election situation and a whitewash for ourselves. Well staying in appears even worse. Better to fight an election having left now than in 18 months – 2 years time.’
    A WEEK IS A LONG TIME IN POLITICS…… don’t panic, time to hold the nerves it wont be as bad (in terms of seats/MPs) as many our predicting!
    Although I’m no longer a LIB DEM member or supporter the LIB DEMS will still be around for a good few years yet….up until a real PR system, when a solid social Liberal party may have room to exist, alongside an economic right leaning Liberal Party .
    Just look at history…I recommend every Liberal & Lib Dem signs up to the ‘Journal of Liberal History’.

  • For more detail of the magnificent Maghull victories including the stats demonstrating the 20 +% swing see here ttp://birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/2-gains-from-labour-on-merseyside-and.html. As to how we did it.? hard work, Labour arrogance and the scales falling from the electorates’ eyes when it comes to their Lab MP. The campaign plan, as always up here ,we did it our way.

  • Liberalone: I suggest you are burying your head in the sand. 40 years ago I lived at Old Road, a stones throw from Maghull. Know the area well, At one time did we not have nearly every seat there.!!!
    The key is Kingston, a parliamentary seat etc full time staff, big campaign. The result is not due to the circumstances of the election . It demonstrates how weak we are. Constituency parties in meltdown, councillors dropping like flies and we say do not worry it will be alright on the night. It simply will not do. We are in a doomsday scenario, the end maybe nigh!!!

  • David Evans 26th Jul '13 - 2:41pm

    Two excellent results, well deserved, but we do need a dose of realism amongst the euphoria.

    Maghull TC was Lib Dem controlled until 2011 with 100% Lib Dem councillors (I think). In 2011 we lost it to Labour when they won 13 of the 16 seats. Now we are back to 5. A long way still to go, but a team that can do it and deserves our help to do it.

  • Simon Shaw: apologies Old Roan, typing error, I used to use the station daily into Liverpool. Get out and about and you will see how desperate the situation is in place after place. We are not geographically a national party anymore.
    We need a change of direction, and I say that as a person who has solidly supported the coalition, but needs must.

  • David Wilkinson 26th Jul '13 - 5:11pm

    Theakes you are wrong in assume that the Kingston result is the end.
    Given the circumstances of that by elcetion it would have been a miracle on a par with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes.
    In 1998 Labour had a simpler issues in a by elction in my patch and even though they tried everything and anything they still lost to us.
    I think the team in Kingston did well given the personal blow it must have been to them from the cause of the by election.
    Clegg however is having a lead brick tied around your neck

  • A Social Liberal 26th Jul '13 - 6:25pm

    So an election in an area which is historically liberal is returned to the Lib Dems. I’m having difficulty finding the percentage of those turned out, can you help me Simon Shaw, given that you did the number crunching?

  • Daniel Lewis 27th Jul '13 - 1:54am

    The Turnouts were:

    East: 27.77%
    North 20.88%
    South 20.02%

    East ward was a fairly remarkable turnout for a town council by-election not far off usual local election turnout.

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