There were eight principal local council by-elections held on Thursday 9th February. The Lib Dems gained two seats off the Tories and held one seat. The Conservatives held three seats and gained one from UKIP. Labour gained one from UKIP. There were two parish or town council by-elections results reported to ALDC a Labour hold and a Labour gain from UKIP.South Northamptonshire is a Lib Dem good news story. In February 2011 we targeted five wards in and around Towcester. In May 2011our team won two seats in the Towcester Brook Ward – our first two on the council. In September they won an ALDC award for their campaign. After conference the third district councillor in Towcester Brook,a Tory was diagnosed with cancer and as the Tory county councillor for Towcester had already moved to Launceston in Cornwall both by-elections were called together.
Our candidate for the district was an active local campaigner who had already fought to save a local lollipop lady and we stood one of our two existing district councillors for the county seat. They were the only local candidates in the election.
We started early, delivering a focus and holding canvas sessions every week from the beginning of December.
We had some great issues to fight on for instance:
1) the proposal to move the town hall – it was moved in the 80’s but they wanted to move it again.
2) the Tory county councillor who moved to Cornwall had her portrait painted rather than photographed (as county council chairman) at a cost of three thousand pounds!!
We ran a good campaign using Connect for the first time, the Tories, UKIP and the BNP did a few glossy leaflets but did not do much and Labour submitted incomplete nomination papers and so did not have candidates.
We now have ten Councillors on the County, the first time since 1949 we have been in double figures. However, in 1949, only eight of those were elected – three were aldermen.So as far as the records show (there is a gap between 1919 and 1937) this is the first time since 1919 that we have been in double figures on the County. That’s the first time in 93 years!
Elsewhere we had held our seat in Windmere Town – South Lakeland council with a mere 72.9% of the vote – up 3%.
A very good night