You’ve got to be in it to win it

There were six principal council elections held on the 31st July. The Lib Dems held two seats and the Tories held four seats. There were no Parish council elections results reported to ALDC.


In Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire we run the council. Fighting by-elections from control is never easy. Everything is the fault of the council.


Luckily in the Uplands Ward when faced with a by-election we had a good campaign and a good candidate. The Tories, including their local MP, threw everything at this election including hard-hitting leaflets in the final week culminating in a huge polling day effort without success. Their candidate has now been defeated by Liberal Democrats in eight elections since 1995!! There’s a record worth maintaining.


In the month of July there were 37 by-elections. We defended eight and held six but with only one gain we had a net loss of one in the month. The Tories made seven net gains, five from Labour.   We fought 31 of the 37 by-elections.   84% is in line with our recent performance but is still far below the Tories 96%. 


There are usually three reasons/excuses for not standing:

1. We didn’t know – this is usually a problem in “black hole” authorities and it needs co-ordinated action from the region -perhaps including twinning authorities to gather the information on vacancies and organise nominations.

2. Tactical – almost never the right decision. Sometimes used when facing the BNP etc but it is completely the wrong tactic in these cases. See our “Tackling the BNP” publication for the arguments here.

3. Error – presumably unavoidable occasionally.

The first two should not happen, sometimes you may choose not to fight a campaign as hard as others but always stand a candidate.


There is a clear role for the regional and state parties here. First to look at how derelict constituencies and councils are covered. Secondly to deal with “organised” local parties who are repeat offenders.

Let’s sort this out.


John Bridges

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