Independents’ Day

Each gain has a story to tell, beginning with Pembroke St Mary North ward. Conservative David Boswell was elected to the council by a margin of just six votes in May 2017. Months later, he was charged with child sex offences and suspended by his party. This June, he was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison. It was against this backdrop that eight candidates contested the by-election, including six Independents. It was perhaps fitting that the winner, Jon Harvey, who lost so narrowly to Boswell, should triumph this time. The Conservative candidate finished sixth.

In Hartlepool’s Hart ward, it was a case of battle recommencing. In 2018, one of the ward’s two seats was won by Independent Thomas Cassidy, who defeated Labour’s Aileen Kendon. Her colleague Paul Beck then resigned his seat, leaving the way clear for Kendon to have another go. Step forward Independent James Brewer, who contested the adjoining Rural West ward last time. Taking notes from Cassidy’s victory, Brewer defeated Kendon by 55 votes.

When Kenny Watson, Chairman of Warrington Momentum, was selected as the Labour party candidate for Penketh and Cuerdley ward, few expected that Independent Geoffrey Fellows, a local parish councillor, would snatch victory just weeks later. Watson even received endorsement from Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid. Labour won all three seats in 2016 by a margin of 300 votes, ahead of the Conservatives. The by-election attracted five party candidates, but none could thwart the Independent.

Labour suffered two further setbacks in the East Midlands. Defeat by the Conservatives in Nottingham’s Clifton North ward was followed a week later by a loss to the Liberal Democrats in Chesterfield’s Moor ward. For Roger Steel, the by-election win in Clifton North marks a return to representing the area after his own defeat in 2011. In Moor ward, the Liberal Democrat victory follows on from one in Holmbrook ward
last year and suggests the party could stage a comeback.

Four defeats for Labour does not indicate a party preparing for government. But further south, there was a gain in Adur’s Southlands ward. The vacancy arose after the resignation of UKIP group leader Paul Graysmark. The ward is a microcosm of UKIP’s rapid rise and swift decline in local government. Graysmark was originally elected for the Conservatives, switched to UKIP and then called and won a by-election in May 2013. The party subsequently retained the seat but, in 2018, its vote declined, and it did not contest this vacancy. Labour’s win is its first in the ward since 2004.

local by-elections
Pembrokeshire, Pembroke St Mary North
IND GAIN FROM CON
18.8% over Ind
Turnout 36.6%
East Devon, Ottery St Mary Rural
IND HELD
26.3% over Con
Turnout 34.7%
Luton, Limbury
LAB HELD
20.7% over Con
Turnout 24.6%
Suffolk Coastal, Wenhaston & Westleton
CON HELD
10.7% over Lib Dem
Turnout 35.9%
Winchester, Upper Meon Valley
CON HELD
6.7% over Lib Dem
Turnout 46.2%
Wyre Forest, Bewdley & Rock
CON HELD
17.3% over Lab
Turnout 20.7%
Lichfield, Stowe
CON HELD
5.2% over Lab
Turnout 23.4%
Nottingham, Clifton North
CON GAIN FROM LAB
13.9% over Lab
Turnout 27%
Salford, Eccles
LAB HELD
30.4% over Con Turnout 20.9%
Salford, Eccles
LAB HELD
30.4% over Con Turnout 20.9%
Chesterfield, Moor
LIB DEM GAIN FROM LAB
7.7% over Lab
Turnout 34.4%
Cambridgeshire, Soham North &
Isleham
CON HELD
18.8% over Lib Dem Turnout 21.2%
Hambleton, Thirsk
CON HELD
41.2% over Lab
Turnout 20%
Adur, Southlands
LAB GAIN FROM UKIP
5.4% over Con
Turnout 31%
Halton, Ditton
LAB HELD
58.1% over Con
Turnout 15.7%
Hartlepool, Hart
IND GAIN FROM LAB
3.8% over Lab
Turnout 21.2%
Warrington, Penketh & Cuerdley
IND GAIN FROM LAB
4.3% over Lab
Turnout 25.9%
West Lancashire, Tanhouse
LAB HELD
52.2% over Ind
Turnout 18.9

For all the latest by-election results in full, including a spreadsheet of voting statistics, please download excel spreadsheet of results.

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