Sean Fear’s local election commentary
The move to the Tories continues
The period from and including May 4th to June 1st produced a large crop of by-elections (37 in total). Of these, 25 were contested by all three parties. Over the month, the Conservatives won 24 seats – a net gain of 8, the Liberal Democrats won 6, Labour won 3 (a net loss of 3) and Independents, minor parties, and nationalists won 4, a net loss of 5. This was the best monthly performance from the Conservatives for some time.
The Conservatives have moved up significantly from the national equivalent vote share of around 36% which they had been winning in such contests over most of the past year.
What this means is that the Conservativesâ€™ national equivalent share of the vote in Mayâ€™s contests was somewhere between 39% and 43%. This increase confirms the trend shown in the main contests on May 4th, and in subsequent opinion polls.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, by contrast, are achieving a national equivalent vote share of around 25%. If this trend were to continue over the next twelve months, and into the next round of local elections in 2007, the Conservatives could expect to make widespread gains from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats; the Liberal Democrats, in turn, could expect to gain from Labour.
Thursday’s by-elections confirmed this trend:-
Arun DC, Angmering: Con 1052, Lib Dem 254, Lab 123 Con hold.
Arun DC, Yapton: Con 699, Lib Dem 205, Lab 87 Con gain from Lib Dem.
Herefordshire UA, Kerne Bridge: Con 482 ,Lib Dem 308, Ind 1 249, Ind 2 119 Con gain from Independent
North Somerset UA, Portishead West: Con 488, Lib Dem 452, Lab 205 Ind 108 Con gain from Independent.
North Somerset UA, Yatton Lib Dem 812, Ind 1 749, Con 678, Ind 2 267 , Lab 104. Lib Dem gain from Independent.
Wellingborough DC, Croyland Con 655 , Lab 488, UKIP 162 ,Green 71 Con Hold
West Sussex CC, Angmering & Findon Con 1500, Lib Dem 334 , Lab 149, Con Hold.
Sean Fear is a Tory activist in London