In the one directly elected mayoral by-election held on 15th October we took the post from an Independent. There were twelve principal council by-elections, the Tories held eight seats, Labour one seat and the Liberal Democrats one seat. The Lib Dems took one seat off Labour but this was reversed with Labour taking one seat from the Lib Dems. There were two Parish and Town council election results reported to ALDC an Independent hold and a Lib Dem gain from Independent.
The mayoral campaign was gripping everyone in the ALDC as news seeped out of the count all Friday. We fancied our chances from the start. One of our best results in the country on June 4th was in Bedford where, on new boundaries, we became the largest party in the new unitary authority. Then the Tories decided to hold an open selection for their candidate alienating many of their core voters and activists in the process. We ran a good campaign with big guns like Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes visiting. On the Tory side Eric Pickles and David Cameron were wheeled out. They must have been aghast to see our window posters, stakeboards and super boards dominating across urban Bedford. With Watford, East of England region now has two directly elected Lib Dem, t Mayors lets hope Henry Vann can take the parliamentary seat next May!
The Cannock Chase Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury Ward in Staffordshire has been held by all three parties over the last 20 years. Having held it before we won it back in 2004, but lost it in 2008 coming third. As soon as this election was over we got wind that the Lab councillor was moving to Sardinia and so we started working it. In the end it took him 18 months to go and even then it was just three days before he would be disqualified. We also used the county council elections as a trial run for the by-election, just working that part of the division.
Since June we delivered seven leaflets, covered the whole ward in street letters on specific local issues, direct mail and phone canvassed. In the postal vote we were neck and neck but we won on the day with a phone knock up.
In the Crawley Borough Council Northgate Ward By-election the Tories started their campaign with a leaflet implying that the reason for our councillors resignation was dubious. Coupled with a family bereavement for the candidate this put us on the back foot and we never really recovered dropping from first to third. The local agent suggests that we simply did not knock on enough doors.