Yet another Liberal Democrat GAIN from the Conservatives

Congratulations to Peter Pilkington, elected to West Somerset District Council with an amazing gain from the Conservatives last night. In a ward that we didn’t stand in last time.

There was another good increase in vote share from a standing start in Herefordshire:

Another by-election in Blackburn will have to be re-run following the disqualification of the Labour candidate.

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

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This entry was posted in News.


  • At first glance the Labour vote in Dunster could be seen as in the “mustn’t grumble considering…” category until you realise that there was a failure to gain more in vote share from the significant Green collapse.

  • Paul Murray 24th Mar '17 - 9:25am

    Following on from the recent Lib Dem gain in Emmbrook Ward in Wokingham Borough Council, a Conservative councillor last night crossed the floor and joined the Lib Dems.

    In a statement at the end of the meeting he said that Conservative members are “required to adhere to the wishes of a clique that promotes unnecessary politicisation, obsessive secrecy, playing at consultations, side-lining backbenchers, restricting the number of Council meetings, lack of financial transparency and accountability and over use of patronage.”

    This is very similar to the comments made by other former Conservative councillors who have recently resigned.

  • West Somerset has been something of a black hole in West Country terms, in 2015 we appear to have stood only two candidates over the whole Borough! I suspect the Tories must be increasingly anxious about the May elections.

  • Great win in Somerset. Leominster, an area of Lib Dem/Liberal strength for many years, therefore we should ask some polite questions. I hope we will put up a candidate at Darwen next time.

  • Chris Bertram 24th Mar '17 - 12:04pm

    @Ian BB – encouraging, but that is a town council result rather than a principal authority, so we should be wary of reading too much into it. Still nice to see though.

  • Great result in Somerset. Anyone know why the Labour Candidate at Blackburn was disqualified? Need to contest the new By-election. Labour in disarray – can’t give UKIP a clear run!

  • Re Prescot. This is another area where we used to do very well, remember the Knowsley by election etc. So a recovery here is very welcome.
    The Greens won a seat there recently, we were second and Labour third.
    Looks like this time the Greens and Lib Dems each fought just one of the TWO wards that were up for grabs yesterday. The Greens won the other also on a big swing.
    I think we should fight the Greens each time, especially in Bristol West where recently they have suggested we do not stand at the General in return for them not standing at the Mayoral election next month.

  • Sue Sutherland 24th Mar '17 - 1:19pm

    Great news from lovely Dunster!

  • Sue Sutherland 24th Mar '17 - 1:37pm

    Also I’m hoping the Preston result might be hopeful for the Manchester Gorton by-election where we need to re-awaken previous support?

  • Well done to the team in West Somerset.

    Ian Lauder asked what happened in Blackburn. My understanding is that the winning Candidate works for Growth Lancashire: As this is owned by councils including Blackburn and Darwen, his eligibility to serve was challenged. Real amateur hour, even by Labour standards, that no-one picked up this might be an issue in advance. And without any knowledge, raising the complaint on election day makes me wonder if someone had been sitting on it for a while….

  • paul barker 24th Mar '17 - 3:53pm

    Further to my point in an earlier thread, we now seem to be roughly level with UKIP in the Polls, somewhere around 10.5%. Thats a big shift from last Month when UKIP were about 2% ahead of us. In recent polls we have ranged between 8% & 13% & UKIP between 6% & 15%. Pollsters seem to find it hard to measure UKIPs support.
    Levels of Party support in Polls continue to lag behind those shown in actual Elections, by about a year.

  • Roger Billins 24th Mar '17 - 4:39pm

    Good to see progress, which appeared to have stalled somewhat in recent weeks but I wish Caron wouldn’t blow a trumpet about coming 5th in Leominster with 8.5 % ! I also think our polling in England is probably much higher but the overall polling is reduced as a result of our dismal performance in Scotland where we are squeezed between the Tories, as the main unionist party and the SNP. I think serious re-thinking needs to take place north of the border.

  • Roger : hear hear.
    Sue: forgive me, sorry to be pedantic, its Prescot, between St Helens and Liverpool.

  • The alleged result of the Blackburn with Darwen UA, Higher Croft was Lab 446 (59.6%) up 1.4%, UKIP 169 (22.6%) down 2.4% & Con 133 (17.8%) up 1.0%. (since by-election in December. It has been questioned whether the returning officer acted correctly in declaring the result null and void. Probably makes little difference to the ultimate outcome but possibly there are legal niceties that it would be beneficial to clarify.

  • nvelope2003 25th Mar '17 - 9:16am

    The Greens collapsed (and the Liberal Democrats soared) in Somerset but won in Leominster where the Lib Dems were nowhere although they used to do well there. Were there local factors such as a popular candidate ? Maybe the Green MEP in the West Country is not so popular in Dunster ?

  • nvelope2003 25th Mar '17 - 9:20am

    Theakes: Why would fighting the Greens help us ? I think a deal would help both parties because we have things in common and no deal will just help our opponents.

  • Chris – Re Town/Parish Councils and importance of elections.
    These elections can be of real significance where the wards are as large as district or unitary wards. Now we in Cheshire West are unitary, in the (politicised) Town Councils the elections have gained more political meaning, all parties are taking them more seriously. Certainly a key building block back to where we were a few years ago.

  • Geoff English 25th Mar '17 - 12:03pm

    Incidentally we also won another town council election this week in Ross on Wye (within tthe same Herefordshire UA as Leominster. Yes ,we have to be careful not to read too much into town council results where local factors are very significant and turnout is often low (the only sensible cut off point for assessing results statistically is to include only principal councils). But at the same time this year’s crop of town council results have been exceptionally good and just reinforce the message of the principal council by elections. By the way on the difference in performance between Leominster and Dunster : In Dunster we had the only candidate living in the ward, and ran a strong campaign. In Leominster the Anti-Tory vote was split between 4 candidates, and Leominster is one of the relatively few places where the Greens are properly organised to fight by-elections.

  • nvelope2003 26th Mar '17 - 8:26pm

    So if the Greens are properly organised they can win. They are strongly pro EU for the most part and have lost some of their more left wing supporters to the Labour Party since Corbyn became leader. A Green / Liberal Democrat alliance would appeal to the younger more idealistic voters and could do better than the sum of its parts. It could seem fresh and a bit more exciting than the present party set up. It might even appeal to some of those protest voters looking for somewhere else to go if UKIP collapses. I would be surprised if Arron Banks Party had any more success than Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party. As Douglas Carswell said they have got what they wanted and there is no need for UKIP now. It is time for a regrouping of the political parties for a new age.

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