Council By-Election Results
Last night's council by-election results.
Bilton Ward, Harrogate BC. LD hold. LD 902 (50.4%, +1), Con 673 (37.6%, -6.9), BNP 164 (9.2%, +3), Lab 51 (2.8%, +2.8). Swing of 4% from Con to LD since 2007.
Downham Ward, LB Lewisham. Double vacancy. 2 LD holds. LD 1075, 1067 (39.3%, -12.5), Lab 655, 634 (24%, -0.8), Con 654, 632 (23.9%, +6.9), BNP 287 (10.5%, +10.5), Green 63, 62 (2.3%, -4.1). Swing of 5.9% from LD to Lab since 2006.
Thringstone Ward, NW Leics. Lab hold. Lab 593 (35.9%, -6.7), Con 520 (31.4%, -2.2), BNP 465 (28.1%, +28.1), LD 76 (4.6%, -19.2). Swing of 2.3% from Lab to Con since 2007.
Swanley St Mary's Ward, Sevenoaks DC. BNP gain from Lab. BNP 408 (41.8%, +41.8), Lab 322 (33.0%, -22.3), Con 247 (25.3%, +0.4). Swing of 32.1% from Lab to BNP since 2007.
So a mixed bag: not bad results for Labour given the national polls in Lewisham and NW Leics; a truly scary result in what had been a safe Labour ward in Sevenoaks (yes, I'm surprised such a thing existed too), giving the BNP their first councillor in the south east, and another good BNP performance in the NW Leics seat too (1930s politics to match the 1930s economic situation?); and the Tories showing no signs of translating their national poll lead into votes, indeed going backwards in wards in their number 81 (NW Leics) and number 153 (Harrogate) parliamentary targets.
For those of you interested in the technical question of whether you can predict the broad general election picture from council by-elections, the answer was given in detail yesterday on ukpollingreport.co.uk - basically you can't because "Liberal Democrats always do better in local government by-elections than elsewhere, Labour always do worse, but the amount Labour do worse and the Lib Dems do better isn’t constant".
However, I do think whilst they don't tell you the national story they do give you pointers about the state of party organisation in different areas and straws in the wind about the specific individual parliamentary seats they are in.