There were two holds, one gain and one loss for Liberal Democrats in last week’s round of principal council by-elections. In Cambridgeshire (CC), the party made a gain from the Conservatives in Sutton division on the back of an impressive 18.5% swing from the Tories. Lorna Dupré polled 52.5%, a vote share increase of 19.8% from 2013, to take victory with a 412 vote majority.
Liberal Democrat candidates were also successful in contests in Flintshire (UA) and Lichfield (DC), as candidates Sara Parker and Paul Ray held seats for the party with 47.4% and 40% of the vote respectively.
There was less good news for the party in Chiltern (DC), as the Conservatives made a gain from us in Amersham Town ward. The Tories polled 50.2%, with Lib Dem candidate Richard Williams falling 135 votes short in second place.
Elsewhere, the Conservatives held a seat in Newmarket and Red Lodge division in Suffolk (CC), with Lib Dem Tim Huggan polling 4.7% in fifth place. The Tories also held seats in Toton & Chilwell Meadows and Greasley wards in Broxtowe (BC), whilst Graham Heal and Keith Longdon polled 20.7% and 11.8% respectively for the Liberal Democrats. Also, Labour comfortably held one of their seats in Higher Blackley ward in Manchester (MB) with 65.3%. Lib Dem Peter Matthews polled 4.8% in fourth place, a vote share increase of 2% from last May.
No Liberal Democrat candidate was fielded in the contest in Oban North & Lorn in Argyll & Bute (UA), as the SNP made a gain from an Independent, polling 42.3% of the first preference votes.
In addition to the principal council by-elections, there were two wins for Liberal Democrats in Town Council contests. Gordon Yearwood won a seat in West ward on Berkhamsted Town Council as the local Lib Dems made a gain from the Conservatives with 47.6% of the vote. Alongside the party’s win in the district council by-election, the Liberal Democrats in Lichfield were also victorious in Chadsmead ward on the Town’s Parish Council, holding the seat with 44.7% of the vote.
Next week sees four principal council by-elections taking place. Hazel Wright will be the Lib Dem candidate as the party will hope to make a gain from the Conservatives in in Studley with Sambourne ward in Stratford-on-Avon (DC). However, the party will not be fielding candidates in Richmondshire (DC) or two by-elections in Dudley (MB). In addition, Liberal Democrats will be represented in Town and Parish elections in Street, Ross-on-Wye and Porthcawl.