All eyes were on the 2 Westminster by-elections in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central for differing reasons, but there were also 3 Principle Council by-elections and a number of Town & Parish Council by-elections to talk about also.

With both of the Westminster by-elections being in heavy Leave territory, and where our 2015 results both left the Liberal Democrats without a deposit expectations varied but were realistically low. Also with all the news output concentrating on what the results mean for the other 3 parties of the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP it’s important to highlight that the Liberal Democrats should be proud of our results.

In Stoke-On-Trent Central (Westminster) Dr Zulfiqar Ali took 9.8% of the vote more than doubling the Liberal Democrat vote share up 5.7 points as Labour took advantage of the “anything to stop UKIP” vote to hold the seat. Well done to all those involved in the Stoke campaign and those who spent time in the midlands helping, escpecially those how attended the Newbies Action Day.

In Copeland (Westminster) Rebecca Hanson took 7.2% of the vote, up 3.8 points, once again more than doubling the Liberal Democrat vote share where both Conservatives and Labour was squeezing our vote and pushed UKIP down to 4th place. Well done to all those involved in the Copeland campaign and those who spent time in the Lakes helping. The Conservatives took the seat in almost unprecedented fashion showing how weak Labour can be.

There were three Principle Council by-elections this week, all of which were Conservative defences. Two of these elections were contests where the Liberal Democrats hadn’t stood the previous time but as we have seen recently that is no barrier to success.

Congratulations to Andrew Dutton and team where they took the Barton (Kettering BC) seat from the Conservatives with 57% of the vote despite not standing last time.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Huntley and team where they took the Charterlands (South Hams DC) seat from the Conservatives with 46.1% of the vote despite not standing last time.

In Chigwell Village (Epping Forest DC) Joanne Alexander-Sefre had a head to head for the Liberal Democrats against the defending Conservatives as Labour and The Green Party didn’t stand this time but despite adding 20.4 points could only come a distant second on 24% vote share.

These gains leave the Liberal Democrats on a net 30 gains since May 6th 2016.
By-election net changes graph - 23/02/2017 - The Liberal Democrats Number 1 in local council by-elections since 6th May 2016. Net Up 30 Gained 33, lost 3.

I know of four Town or Parish Council by-elections this week. The first two are for Westhoughton Town Council which were both fantastic gains from Labour for the Liberal Democrats.

Daisy Hill (Westhoughton TC)
LD Rebekah Fairhurst 584 [58.5%]
Con 184 [18.4%]
Lab 119 [11.9%]
UKIP 70 [7.0%]
Ind 31 [3.1%]
Green 10 [1.00%]

Wingates (Westhoughton TC)
LD Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon 242 [53.8%]
Conservative 86 [19.2%]
Labour 63 [14.1%]
Independent 42 [9.2%]
Green 16 [0.4%]

In Wellington the Conservatives took the Rockwell Green seat in the very tight contest.
Rockwell Green (Wellington TC)
CANHAM, Kieran Mathew Labour 112 (26.9%)
LITHGOW, Mark Raymond Liberal Democrat 74 (17.8%)
RUSSELL-CAIRNS, Lynda Conservative 118 Elected (28.4%)
SMITH, Nicholas Andrew Ind 112 (26.9%)

In North (Blackrod TC) there was no Liberal Democrat while the seat remained Independant.
John Price Independant 254 (71.1%)
Susan Baines Conservative 72 (20.2%)
Derek Snowden UKIP 31 (8.7%)

Full details of last nights By-Election results can be found on the ALDC’s By-Election Results page and details of that is coming next on our Forthcoming Elections page. Hat Tip to Britain Elects for their results too.

Well done to all who stood last night regardless of the result. It is really important that we stand candidates in all by-elections in order to build the habit of voting Liberal Democrat. If there is no candidate of ours on the ballot paper we are depriving someone of their ability to vote for us. If you are interested in standing as a candidate please get in touch with your Local Party or ALDC.