There were four principal council by-elections in the week leading up to December 2nd, one of which was a rare Tuesday election out in Wales. The trend toward good news for incumbents continued unabated with three out of four contests resulting in holds, none of which were particularly close.
Tuesday’s match-up in the Ciliau Aeron ward of Ceredigion Council was the second Tuesday by-election of the year, after the famous Lib Dem defence of Whyteleafe in Tandridge on February 2nd (not that you needed to ask, of course). Out in the valleys, it was Plaid who held on despite a surge of almost 20% to Liberal Democrat candidate Sonia Williams, an encouraging result that we look forward to seeing surpassed by the Ceredigion team next time around. Of Thursdays two holds, we came out with silver on both occasions. In the Haydock ward of St Helens, Labour put on 11% to hit mid-60’s in vote-share whilst we slipped 10 points to 27%. Slightly closer was the 150 vote margin in Rugby’s Dunchurch & Knightlow, where Robert Turner Aird’s 40% of the vote kept the Rugby Lib Dems within touching distance of our Conservative opponents on a day where no party’s vote altered dramatically. All of Thursday’s excitement was Poole-side, to coin a phrase, where the ‘Poole People – Putting Poole First’ party took both the Poole Town ward from the Tories and the Teacher’s Prize for achievement in alliteration! Joking aside, the Poole People’s 33% of the vote on a first go is a very interesting development; though it seems mainly at the expense of UKIP and a previous (non-standing) Independent, with Peter David England’s tally for the Poole Lib Dems essentially unaffected.
There will be another three by-elections to report on next week, with the major parties defending one apiece. Lib Dems will be fighting to keep hold of Bewsey & Whitecross in Warrington, whilst Labour and the Tories will be circling the wagons Truro and Fareham respectively. The very best of luck to our candidates, councillors, and campaigners across the country. Craig Whittall