There were eleven principal local council by-elections held on Thursday 16th June 2011. The Lib Dems lost two seats to Labour and one to Plaid. The Tories held two seats and lost one to Labour and one to the Greens.  Labour held four seats. An independent took a seat off Plaid. There were no parish or town council by-election results reported to ALDC.As we approached the Crewe and Nantwich parliamentary by-election in 2008 we focussed our not insubstantial attention on making sure we made some gains in the constituency. Two out of three seats in Crewe South was the result. Since then the new Unitary borough has had some radical boundary changes, prior to the May 2011 elections leading to one of our two sitting councillors choosing to fight Crewe West as some of the “best bits” of Crewe South had ended up in Crewe West. Our remaining incumbent sadly died after nominations closed thereby triggering this re-run.
To add to our woes both the Tory and Labour parties locally have been re-invigorated. Labour have been encouraged by the surrounding elections in May. The Tories won the parliamentary by-election and held the seat at the General Election last year. They now have a far stronger and better party machine than they did in 2008 and would have been difficult to squeeze as we did in 2008,had we tried. In fact we didn’t. A campaign that costs £114 is rarely one geared to wining or holding a seat. It probably did not help that despite a decent record to defend as councillors our record of action counted for little. We had failed to communicate it to the electorate over several years. The A4 front page of the March 2009 Focus, for instance, consisted of a wordsearch competition for the names of 10 previous Mayors of  Crewe and Nantwich. You couldn’t make it up. In the boundary changes Crewe South Ward went from a three member ward to a two member ward so it’s debatable whether we lost one or two seats but, we definitely have two fewer councillors. Crewe South result.
In Newcastle we had two wards where deaths of candidates led to campaign re-runs. In Byker, where the Tory candidate had died during the May Campaign, Labour held on with ease.
In 2008 we won Westerhope with 53% of the vote. In 2009 two of our councillors resigned the party whip. In 2010, on the day of the General Election Labour took the third council seat off us with a majority of 185. The leader of “Newcastle First” was then the Tory candidate. In May 2011 our remaining ex-councillor Neil Hamilton, who had lost in 2010, was to stand again but died in his home on polling day. This left a new Lib Dem candidate to face a sitting independent elected as a Lib Dem.  The Labour vote fell from 2010 but our vote was fatally split.

Other byelections on 16th June 2011

Staffordshire CC, Burton Town

Dumfries and Galloway UA, Abbey

Gwynedd UA, Arllechwedd

Conwy UA, Uwchaled

Rochford BC, Hullbridge

Rushcliffe BC, Manvers

Derbyshire CC, Eckington



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