Two Lib Dem defences and one SNP one in tonight’s local by-elections

Two Lib Dem defences and one SNP one in tonight’s local by-elections

Huntly, Strathbogie and the Howe of Alford on Aberdeenshire (SNP and Lib Dem defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Scottish National Party 28, Conservatives 14, Liberal Democrats 12, Independents 11, Labour 2, Green Party 1 (No Overall Control, SNP short by 7)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 830, 600 (35%)
Conservatives 1,091 (27%)
Liberal Democrats 752 (18%)
Independents 593 (14%)
Green Party 256 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Sarah Flavell (Lab), Daniel Millican (Lib Dem), Gwyneth Petrie (SNP), Derek Scott (Scottish Libertarian Party), Margo Stewart (Con)

Since the general election, there has been one way traffic in Scotland and that traffic has been in the direction of the SNP. The votes cast in all the Scottish by-elections has seen the SNP win 46%, Labour on 24%, the Conservatives on 13%, Greens on 7% and Lib Dems, Independents and Others all on 3% of the vote and this landslide has seen the SNP win 19 seats (the majority of which have been HOLDS on swings that beggar belief) including a 28% from Lab to SNP in the Calton ward of Glasgow. But just a month ago that all came to a shuddering halt as the impossible happened. The SNP defence of Aird and Loch Ness on Highland wasn’t. The Liberal Democrats gained the ward from the SNP on a swing of 6% from SNP to Lib Dem and now we have a by-election where the SNP might have cause for concern. Yes, in 2012 the SNP polled 35% of the vote and won a seat but that was influenced by an Independent polling 14% (an Independent who is not standing this time around) and unlike last time Labour are making an appearance. If Nicola Sturgeon wanted clues about the strength of the SNP in North East Scotland (an electoral region that was an SNP heartland in 2011) this will give her all the clues she needs.

Clifton with Maidenway on Torbay (Lib Dem defence)
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 25, Liberal Democrats 7, Independents 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 14)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 1,162, 1,154 (30%)
Conservatives 1,108, 740 (29%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 766 (20%)
Labour 480 (12%)
Green Party 370, 232 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Richard Barnby (Con), Edward Harris (Lab), Stephen Pocock (Green), Anthony Rayner (UKIP), Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem)

We are all familiar with the term “parliamentary re-tread” when an MP is defeated in one seat and then pops up in another. The most famous example being Michael Portillo who was elected as the MP for Enfield, Southgate in 1984, defeated in 1997 and then popped up in Kensington and Chelsea in 1999 (which in turn provided the parliamentary re-tread for Sir Malcolm Rifkind who lost Edinburgh, Pentlands in 1997 and let’s not forget the parliamentary re-tread of the person who defeated Mr. Portillo who when he was defeated in 2005 popped up in Liverpool). Liberal Democrats, however, have taken a slightly different take on the term as their re-tread has not been back into Parliament, but into the council chamber. When the Conservatives gained Newton Abbot in 2010, the defeated MP Richard Younger-Ross popped back not in the general election to reclaim his old seat, but in the council chamber of Devon county council when he gained the ward of Teignmouth Town from the Conservatives on a swing of 6% (when the swing across the county was 4% to the Conservatives). So it will not be too much of a surprise to see the name of Adrian Sanders (MP for Torbay from 1997 – 2015) seeking to follow Mr. Younger-Ross into the council chamber of Torbay council.

Compiled by Harry Hayfield

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