Last night there were three principle council by-elections. One of them produced an interesting ‘null and void’ declaration while in West Somerset there was an outstanding Liberal Democrat gain from the Conservatives in an election for the district council.

First to Blackburn UA. Higher Croft ward saw a by-election in December 2016, had one yesterday and is now set for a third in usual circumstances. Last night the Labour candidate won but the result was immediately declared null and void because he was employed by an external organisation on which Blackburn UA had places on the governing board of trustees.

The situation which occurred here is a classic nomination mistake and emphases the importance of checking work restrictions. Whether a teacher in an academy or someone working in a local museum can stand comes down to whether a local authority has any involvement in running the organisation and/or a role in making appointments. If you are in doubt talk to ALDC and ask the prospective candidate to check with their employers HR department.

Over to West Somerset District Council where, until last night, there were no Liberal Democrat councillors. We hadn’t stood in the lovely Exmoor town of Dunster last time but a great campaign was fought by the local team and newbie Peter Pilkington was elected.

West Somerset DC, Dunster and Timberscombe
Liberal Democrats 174 [49.7%, +49.7%]
Con 115 [32.9%, -26.7%]
Green 38 [10.9%, -26.9%]
Lab 23 [6.6%, +6.6%]

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The final principal council election was held in Herefordshire UA’s Leominster South ward. Leominster constituency was once a top Liberal target seat and the area should be good Lib Dem territory but in recent years the Greens have made the running. They had won in 2014 in a previous incarnation of the ward (rather different to the current boundaries).

Herefordshire UA, Leominster South
Green 318 [40.8%, +10.1%]
It’s Our County 143 [18.3%, +18.3%]
Conservative 139 [17.8%, -8.6%]
No Description 116 [14.9%]
Liberal Democrat 64 [8.2%, + 8.2 %]

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We had a candidate, unlike last time, which was a great step forward but here it was the Greens who fought the winning campaign. Thank you to Clive Thomas for flying the flag.

There is an interesting contrast between the Green vote in the two wards.

On the town, parish and community council front we had another gain, winning from Labour in Merseyside. Congratulations to Ian Smith for a thumping win.

Prescot Town Council, Prescot North Ward
Lib Dem 396
Labour 164
Conservative 26

Richard Cole ALDC
With statistical analysis by John Swarbrick

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