There were two principal council elections held on 24th March. Labour held one seat and took a seat off Independents.  There were no parish or town council by-election results reported to ALDC.
In the Bellingham ward of the London Borough of Lewisham we stood a good local candidate.  Last time it was fought, in 2010, turnout was boosted to 54.8% on the same day as the general election but in the last un-combined election in 2006 the turnout was reputed to be the lowest in London at 22.6%. In this by-election the turnout returned to 22%. 
We consciously went into this election focussed on doorstep contact over literature. We canvassed the ward once and had a positive feedback producing a reasonable, if not a winning, shuttleworth to work with on polling day. We ran a full polling day operation but failed to get our vote out.  As has been commented on before in this column, this year above others, we need to
a)    work on the postal vote as it has a far greater propensity to vote  – see advice below.
b)    maximise our final week and “getting out the vote” plans as differential turnout will again be crucial.
c)    Squeeze hard.
In the Pontypool ward of Torfaen County Borough Council in the valleys of South Wales we failed to stand a candidate. In January and February we had a 100% record of standing candidates. But in March this now the third in eleven that has not been fought. Whilst Torfaen is hardly an area of strength – we stood 2 candidates for 44 vacancies in 2008! –  we need as state and regional parties to develop “black hole” strategies, that should include using by-elections to gain a foothold for the future. In this seat Labours vote stayed steady whilst the independent vote splintered between five candidates.

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