Nine principal council by-elections were held last Thursday. The Liberal Democrats in Wiltshire (UA) were unable to hold the party’s seat in Salisbury St Edmund & Milford ward, with the Conservatives polling 36.7% to secure the gain. The Lib Dem vote share dropped by 22.1% from 2013 as Greg Condliffe finished 183 votes adrift of the Tories.
The Conservatives, however, did experience a loss last week as they succumbed to Labour in losing their seat in Rochford ward in Rochford (DC) by just 4 votes. Daniel Irlam received 11.1% of the vote for the Liberal Democrats in fourth place.
In Fife (UA), Liberal Democrat candidates in Rosyth and Dunfermline North wards polled 3.6% and 9.5% of the first preference votes respectively as the SNP comfortably held both seats.
Elsewhere, the Conservatives held their seat in Carnforth & Millhead ward in Lancaster (DC) with a majority of 225 as Philip Dunster finished in fourth place with 3.8% for the Liberal Democrats, with the party not fielding a candidate in the ward’s previous election this May.
In addition to these results, there were holds for the Selston Independents in by-elections in Ashfield (DC) and Nottinghamshire (CC), whilst there was a hold for the Independents in Newport (UA) and a gain for a non-description candidate in Gwynedd (UA) from Llais Gwynedd. No Liberal Democrat candidates were fielded in these four contests.
Alongside last week’s principal council by-elections, the Liberal Democrats did win a seat on Llangattock Community council in Powys, as Richard Thomas took victory with 79% of the vote in a straight fight with an Independent candidate.
In November, Liberal Democrat candidates were fielded in 14 of the month’s 22 principal by-elections (63.6%), slightly down from 67.7% for October. In principal council contests, the party held one seat but lost three (all to the Conservatives), averaging 18.7% in the by-elections were we fielded candidates. In addition, the Liberal Democrats won three seats on Town and Community councils this month.
Five principal council by-elections, as well as four contests on town and parish councils, will be held this week. Liberal Democrat candidates will be fielded in contests in Shropshire (UA), Newham (LB) and Guildford (BC), alongside by-elections in Malvern (DC) and South Kesteven (DC). There will be Lib Dem representation in all four town and parish elections; three in Bognor Regis (TC) and one in Barwell (PC).