|Votes Cast||% Votes Cast||Seats Won||Change|
GAINS and LOSSES
Conservative GAINS: Dunchurch and Knightlow on Rugby from Lib Dem
Labour GAINS: Bewsey and Whitecross on Warrington from Lib Dem
Liberal Democrat GAINS: Fareham West on Fareham from Con
Respect GAINS: Spitalfields and Banglatown on Tower Hamlets from Lab
Other GAINS: Poole Independents GAIN Poole Town on Poole from Con
â€œSleighbells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A wonderful sight, weâ€™re happy tonight, Canvassing in a winter wonderland!â€
I suppose if you are a candidate in a local authority by-election in December, snow should be considered a slight occupational hazard, however I do not think any of the candidates who have been campaigning over the past few weeks will have expected to have done so in temperatures as low as -11Â°C in the Dunchurch and Knightlow ward of Rugby council and even today (December 17th), you can expect that the successful candidate in the Alvechurch ward on Worcestershire County will be looking out the window and thinking â€œWhat a good thing I didnâ€™t plan to hold a celebration tour of my ward!â€.
So how did all the parties do in this monthâ€™s by-elections? Well, the simple answer is â€œmore of the sameâ€. For the sixth month in a row, Labour polled the most votes (33.80%), beating the Conservatives into second (30.93%) with the Liberal Democrats being pushed into third on 18.77% which means that since the general election in May, Labour have (on average) polled over 30% in every month, the Conservatives have polled between 28% and 32% and the Liberal Democrats have been stuck in the mid to high teens.
Since the election, there have been a total of 145 local by-elections in which over 200,000 votes have been cast and although I recognise that local by-elections do not a general election make, they do give an indication of what the electorate make of the first six months of a coalition government. And the response can be summarised in one sentence: â€œWe donâ€™t like coalitions!â€.
In all the local by-elections since May, Labour have polled 34% of the vote (which would suggest 352 seats in Parliament) and an overall majority. The Conservatives have polled 30% (enough to win 221 seats) and the Lib Dems on 19% (enough to win 47 seats) which compared to past polls suggesting that the Lib Dems would be wiped out of a future Parliament must come as a huge relief!
Harry Hayfield is a regular PB guest slot contributor
NOTE from Mike Smithson: Harry’s post was first published by accident on Saturday night while I was preparing it for the site. I cliicked “publish” instead of “save”. I took it down after a few minutes.