This week’s by-elections were a fairly uneventful lot if you consider that no seats changed hands at all. However, they were still on the whole a pretty good selection of results for the Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats in Cotswold showed how to win in style, with a resounding defence of the Water Park ward near Cirencester. We took an amazing 72% of the vote on a 32% swing from the Conservatives – something that will fill other local parties with jealousy. As well as an incredibly hard fought campaign with lots of literature backed up by masses of canvassing, the real key to our success was our candidate. The biggest issue in the ward was the controversial decision by the Conservative run council to sell some land to a developer. Our candidate Esmond Jenkins was a leading light in the community campaign against this sale, and so had a strong personal following which helped to bring on board many Soft Conservatives.
In Amersham in Buckinghamshire we were a frustrating 72 votes from victory. This division seems to be always destined to be very close, as our excellent candidate Davida Allen was beaten by just 159 votes in June and lost by 84 votes in the county council elections in 2005.
We were also agonisingly close in Redcar & Cleveland where we were just 88 votes from another amazing gain from Labour. There have been six by-elections on this council in the last year, three of which we gained, and this was the second one in the South Bank ward. We managed to keep up the momentum from our last campaign with lots of good literature and canvassing. Although we didn’t quite manage another amazing win, we did significantly better than last time. You can find out more about how Redcar & Cleveland have managed this level of success in an article in the next edition of ALDC’s Campaigner magazine.