There were four by-elections in principal by-elections on Thursday – and Lib Dems both stood in all four and increased the party’s vote share.
Huge thank you to the candidates for standing, and the teams around them who organised the paperwork, delivered leaflets and knocked on doors!
The highlight of the night was the stunning gain of a seat from UKIP in Elmhurst ward, Aylesbury.
Our Aylesbury market square hero of the night was Susan Morgan who turned out to be quite the assassing to UKIP’s brief encounter with electoral success in the ward. Susan’s legacy of hard work as a town councillor in the area really paid off and the enlightened local electorate turned out for her in droves.
In 2015 the ward had split between the Lib Dems and UKIP, and it was great to see Susan knock the kippers back into fourth place in the pre-easter contest, despite Labour and the Tories being pretty much incommunicado for the entire campaign. I’m sure there will be a celebratory garden party or similar once the county elections are out of the way. Aylesbury is an even more fantastic place than it was, and we’re hoping for further progress in May.
Susan and the team ran an intensive campaign with weekly leaflet drops, lots of target material and a very thorough canvass. I helped out by artworking the main leaflets for the last two weekends of the campaign.
LD Susan Morgan 785 [63.5%, +37.9%]
Lab 151 [12.2%, -10.0%]
Con 147 [11.9%, -9.3%]
UKIP 111 [9%, -14.4%]
Grn 43 [3.5%, -4.2%]
Lib Dem GAIN from UKIP
We also saw a great hold in Walcot ward, Bath & North East Somerset Council. This ward had also split in 2015, with experienced local councillor Lisa Brett topping the poll but our second candidate some way behind.
Richard Samuel’s victory was therefore all the more impressive. Hopefully this bodes well for the West of England Mayoral contest.
LD Richard Samuel 750 [48.6%, +11.2%]
Grn 343 [22.2%, +0.4%]
Con 339 [22.0%, -0.5%]
Lab 111 [7.2%, -7.4%]
Lib Dem HOLD
In Calderdale, Alasdair McGregor overtook Labour to move up to second place with a 6.8% increase in our vote share, and rattling the local Tories in the process.
Con 1483 [60.3%, -4.3%]
LD Alasdair McGregor 420 [17.1%, +6.8%]
Lab 407 [16.5%, -0.5%]
Grn 150 [1.9%, -2.0%]
And a big thank you to Sean Duffy and the team in St James ward, Tendring, who not only stood a candidate but won a sizeable 12.8% of the vote.
Con 371 [47.9%, +12.7%]
UKIP 174 [22.5%, -16.2%]
Lab 116 [15%, -1%]
LD Sean Duffy 99 [12.8%, +12.8%]
Grn 15 [1.9%, -]
Con GAIN from UKIP
Overall a good night for the party as we approach the local elections in a few weeks time. Another full slate with all four increasing our vote share and with what is becoming a fairly consistent trend of UKIP, Labour and the Greens all struggling. We march!