Four principal council by-elections take place this week. In Rutland (UA), there was a comfortable Liberal Democrat hold in Whissendine. In the ward’s second by-election in 18 months, Kevin Thomas won the seat with 65.1% of the vote and a majority of 156 ahead of the Conservatives.
Liberal Democrat candidates also came agonisingly close to making gains from the Conservatives in Havant (BC) and East Dorset (DC). In the former contest, Lib Dem Catherine Billam fell just 20 votes short of the Tories in Bondfields, polling 27.3% with a 16% vote share increase from last May. In Alderholt ward in Dorset, Liberal Democrat candidate Dave Tooke finished just 8 votes behind the Conservatives with 46.5% of the vote, with no Lib Dem standing in the ward’s previous election last year.
Elsewhere, Labour made a comfortable hold in Blackpool (UA) in Bloomfield wardwith 57.6% and a 300 vote majority. Lib Dem Neil Close finished in fifth place with 4%, with no Liberal Democrat being fielded last May.
In addition to the principal council contests, the Liberal Democrats in Hessle made a gain from Labour on the local Town Council. Matt Nolan received 58% of the vote to take the seat.
Next week will see two principal council by-elections taking place. In Cumbria (CC), Peter Thornton will be standing for the Lib Dems as the party hopes to hold it’s seat in Kendal Strickland & Fell division. The Conservatives will be defending a seat in Maidenhead Riverside ward in Windsor & Maidenhead (BC), with Saghir Ahmed standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate. The party will also have candidates in contests for seats on Street Parish Council and Kendal Town Council.