There were six principal council elections held on the 16th July. We held three wards, the Tories two and Labour took a seat from the Tories. In the only Town and Parish Council result reported to ALDC we held the seat.

The St Helens Moss Bank team celebrate their victory

In the Merseyside metropolitan borough of St Helens we held all three seats in the Moss Bank ward. The council was on a knife edge. Lab 23: LD 19: Con 6. We lead a LD/Con administration. When a well respected councillor for Moss Bank ward, Anne Heyes, died, control of the council was at stake in the ensuing by-election. Our campaign team quickly spotted from early canvassing that one of our other councillors in the Ward, Carole Kavanagh was the Liberal Democrat that most voters identified with. Our campaign was then to use Carole’s popularity to help the new candidate David Kent get elected. We did this by having plenty of target mail from Carole and emphasising David as part of our strong team. Photos on literature were of our two existing councillors with David, not usually of David on his own. This contrasted well with the isolation of the opposition candidate’s campaigns. Labour ran an entirely negative campaign against our administration.

In the Portfield ward of Christchurch Council in Dorset we saw the benefit of knocking up to the last minute. In 2007 in the borough we lost a seat when the vote was tied and lots were drawn. On the first count in Portfield ward there were only 4 votes between 1st and 2nd place. After the first recount we led by one vote as a bundle of 25 had been found to be mixed and this was confirmed on the second recount. It pays to knock on phone and foot to the last minute.

In the Warwickshire County council ward of Arbury and Stockingford Labour again demonstrated their resilience by retaking this ward from the Tories. So far this year Labour has made five net gains in by-elections, not as good as us but very notable in the current national political climate

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