There were a couple of near misses last night for Liberal Democrat candidates in principal council by-elections. Nathan Billings came agonisingly close to securing a gain in Camborne Pendarves ward in Cornwall (UA), finishing just 14 votes adrift of the Conservatives. In spite of not standing a candidate in the previous election in 2013, the Lib Dems polled 29% in finishing second place. With 30.3% of the vote, the Tories took the seat from UKIP, who saw their vote share plummet by 23.5% to finish a poor fourth.
In West Oxfordshire (DC), there were more positives for the Lib Dems in Witney North ward as the party saw it’s vote share increase by an impressive 19.8% from the ward’s last election just three months ago. Diane West polled 25.8% in a 17.8% swing from the Conservatives, who hung on to hold the seat by a much less convincing margin than they had done in May.
Elsewhere, Labour comfortably held their seat in Shotton & South Hetton division in Durham (CC) with over 50% of the vote, whilst Michael Anderson polled 9.4% in finishing fourth out of six candidates, the party again having not fielded a candidate two years ago.
A by-election was also contested in Orkney on Tuesday with the Orkney Manifesto Group winning a seat in West Mainland ward which had been vacated following the death of a no description councilor.
There is only one principal council by-election scheduled for next week. Labour will be defending one of their three seats in Dearne North ward in Barnsley (MB), with no Liberal Democrat candidate being fielded.
This means that Liberal Democrat candidates have been fielded in 11 of the 16 principal council by-elections in August (68.8%).