A disparate set of results

There were some fascinating stories, but no clear electoral trends emerged from this latest, large and disparate set of by-elections.

Running contrary to a national trend that sees the Conservatives under pressure, the party made some by-election gains.

The narrow margin of 19 votes saw it regain control of Surrey Heath Borough Council after taking a Liberal Democrat seat in Frimley Green. The absence of any UKIP candidate this time helped the Conservatives’ cause. 

In West Devon’s Bere Ferrers ward, the Liberal Democrat fate was sealed following a strong Labour performance and the intervention of the Greens, which assisted Conservative victory.

In North Kesteven’s Metheringham ward, the Conservatives were only denied two wins in the double vacancy when the second seat was decided by lot after a tie with the Lincolnshire Independents. 

The Conservatives had an easier ride in the Sleaford Castle ward, when the Independents did not defend their seat.

In South Kesteven, however, local support for Independent Richard Cleaver, the winner of the Sleaford West division in the county election last May, resulted in a Conservative defeat in Stamford All Saints ward.

Gloucester’s Longlevens ward saw Lib Dem Sarah Sawyer and Conservative Julie Evans resume their battle for election. Last May, the three-member ward divided its support, giving the Lib Dem’s one seat and the Conservatives two with Sawyer narrowly losing out then – but winning this latest contest. 

The Lib Dem gain in West Sussex provides a further example of perseverance rewarded.  The Bourne division was contested by Andrew Kerry-Bedell in a 2019 by-election which saw a Conservative returned.  Earlier this year he had another go, again finishing a distant second. Undaunted, he tried and succeeded at the third time of asking.

Labour struggles to progress. Its win in Carlisle’s Currock and Upperby ward was a gain from UKIP where the now largely defunct party did not field a candidate. 

In Newark and Sherwood’s Rainworth South and Blidworth ward, Labour had the misfortune to run into Independent Tina Thompson. She failed by just 54 votes to win the Blidworth county division from the Conservatives but was too strong for her Labour opponent this time.

Labour failed too in Canterbury, where the Greens captured the vacant seat in Gorrell ward.  In 2019, Labour won all three seats but their third-placed victor finished just nine votes ahead of the Green.

Next May’s elections should provide some interesting battles between these two parties.

But there was better news for Labour in Cardiff’s Heath division, which the Heath and Birchgrove Independents decided not to contest, and better still in Rutland where Labour’s Leah Toseland provided the party with a very rare victory.

She prevailed in a straight fight with her Conservative opponent for the privilege of representing Oakham North West ward. According to our records, this is the first elected Labour member on Rutland County Council since 2002.

The latest results:

local by-elections
Birmingham, Yardley East
LIB DEM HELD
35% over Lab
Turnout 25.4%
Bolton, Bromley Cross
CON HELD
53.5% over Lab
Turnout 23.5%
Canterbury, Gorrell
GREEN GAIN FROM LAB
13.2% over Lab
Turnout 31.5%
Cardiff, Heath
LAB GAIN FROM IND
16.4% over Con
Turnout 38.2%
Carlisle, Currock and Upperby
LAB GAIN FROM UKIP
20.2% over Con
Turnout 17%
Denbighshire, Llandrillo
PLAID CYMRU HELD
9.6% over Ind
Turnout 42%
Gloucester, Longlevens
LIB DEM GAIN FROM CON
29.3% over Con
Turnout 34.7%
Harrow, Pinner South
CON HELD
43.5% over Lib Dem
Turnout 28.8%
Horsham, Forest
LIB DEM HELD
20.8% over Lab
Turnout 28.6%
Huntingdonshire, Huntingdon East
LIB DEM HELD
10.7% over Con
Turnout 27.9%
Lancaster, University and Scotforth Rural
LAB HELD
4.9% over Green
Turnout 13.4%
Liverpool, Anfield
LAB HELD
29.9% over Lib
Turnout 11.9%
Liverpool, Clubmoor
LAB HELD
32.1% over Lib
Turnout 12.8%
Liverpool, Kirkdale
LAB HELD
49.3% over Ind
Turnout 11.8%
Luton, South
LAB HELD
17.4% over Lib Dem
Turnout 11.9%
Manchester, Chorlton
LAB HELD
30.5% over Lib Dem
Turnout 27.9%
Melton, Melton Dorian
CON HELD
12.1% over Lab
Turnout 15.3%
Newark and Sherwood, Rainworth South and Blidworth
IND GAIN FROM LAB
49.1% over Con
Turnout 22.2%
North Kesteven, Metheringham (2)
CON GAIN FROM LINCS IND
LINCS IND HELD
2% over Lincs Ind
Turnout 21.3%
North Kesteven, Sleaford Castle
CON GAIN FROM LINCS IND
13.1% over Lab
Turnout 14.8%
Rutland, Oakham North West
LAB GAIN FROM IND
25.2% over Con
Turnout 18.5%
Ryedale, Cropton
LIB HELD
9.2% over Con
Turnout 36.5%
Salford, Blackfriars and Trinity
LAB HELD
31.5% over Green
Turnout 10.1%
South Kesteven, Grantham Arnoldfield
CON HELD
45.8% over Lab
Turnout 17.7%
South Kesteven, Stamford All Saints
IND GAIN FROM CON
32.4% over Con
Turnout 23.2%
South Ribble, Bamber Bridge East
LAB HELD
14.4% over Con
Turnout 20.2%
South Staffordshire, Kinver
CON HELD
60.9% over Green
Turnout 19.5%
South Staffordshire, Wombourne South East
CON HELD
6.4% over Green
Turnout 13.9%
Surrey Heath, Frimley Green
CON GAIN FROM LIB DEM
1% over Lib Dem
Turnout 35.7%
Tewkesbury, Brockworth East
IND HELD
53.2% over Con
Turnout 26.2%
Thanet, Thanet Villages
GREEN HELD
26.3% over Con
Turnout 18.5%
West Devon, Bere Ferrers
CON GAIN FROM LIB DEM
0.1% over Lab
Turnout 37.5%
West Lancashire, North Meols
CON HELD
29.8% over Lab
Turnout 27.4%
West Sussex, Bourne
LIB DEM GAIN FROM CON
12.6% over Con
Turnout 22.5%
Wigan, Leigh West
LAB HELD
32.5% over Con
Turnout 16.4%
Wrexham, Gresford East and West
CON HELD
22.6% over Lib Dem
Turnout 28.5%

Author

See our Excel spreadsheet for more detailed statistics on these and other recent by-elections

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