After a few weeks of fantastic results for the Liberal Democrats, this week the by-elections are a little more routine, with campaigns taking place in North Ayshire, Renfrewshire and Worcestershire. North Ayshire was gained by Labour from the SNP (contested by the SNP by Nicola Sturgeon’s father, Robin Sturgeon), whilst the SNP retaliated by taking Renfrewshire from Labour, and the Conservatives comfortably held their seat in Worcestershire, resulting in no net gains or losses for any of the parties.
The Liberal Democrats experienced a 3.2% decrease in our vote share in North Ayshire for the candidate Nick Smith, where Labour won with 33.1% of the first preference votes. Despite the SNP’s Sturgeon gaining 37.5% of the first preferences, Labour ultimately won once the other parties were eliminated, although the SNP continued to lead the vote until Stage 5 of the vote transfers (when the Conservatives were eliminated). As a result of the Irvine West by-election in North Ayshire, Labour has become the largest party on the Council, although the SNP are expected to keep control as a minority administration.
Renfrewshire saw our vote share increase marginally by 0.1% for our candidate Ross Stalker, although we have a long way to go to beat the SNP’s 47.8%, or even Labour’s second place 36.9% (although this does represent a 8.5% drop in their votes).
The most positive results for the Liberal Democrats on the night were in Worcestershire, where our candidate Peter Evans increased our vote share by 8.8% to 14%, putting us in second place in the Ombersley ward. Whilst UKIP gained a close third place with 212 votes, this represents a substantial 19.2% drop in their vote share since 2013.
There is a lot to be positive about in the results last night, not just because of the gains in our vote share in two of the three wards, but also because we contested all of the by-elections taking place. The Liberal Democrats will succeed by building on our loyal voters across the country, who can only remain loyal if we ensure they always have a Liberal Democrat candidate to vote for.
Next week will be busy with nine by-elections taking place across the country, in Richmondshire, Surrey, Thanet, Wandsworth, Faversham, Kent, two in Waverley, and Redcar & Cleveland (which we are aiming to hold after the death of the local Liberal Democrat Councillor Ann Wilson).
A big thank you as always to those who come every week to 23 New Mount Street in Manchester to make calls at ALDC’s By-election HQ, funded through fighting fund donations. If you can help us fight in even more wards, please donate here.