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Local Government By-election Report – August 2017

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August continued on from July as a quiet month electorally, with councils waiting until September, and after the summer holidays to hold most of the pending by-elections.

Of those that did take place during the month, there were two split wards up for election on 3rd August that we highlighted last month. In North West Norfolk, the central King’s Lynn ward of St Margarets with St Nicholas was a split ward between Labour and Conservatives with Labour as the defending Party. The Conservatives took the seat, albeit with both main Parties seeing a drop in their vote and the Lib Dems jumping 24.8% to make it a possible three way marginal.

In Thanet, UKIP were trying to win back a seat in a split ward in Margate where the resigning Councillor had since gone Independent. Had they done so, it would’ve given UKIP back their majority control, but in the end they collapsed to third place with only 52 votes and a 6.6% vote share with the seat going to Labour.

Also on 3rd August, Labour successfully defended a seat in a split ward in Charnwood- in Leicestershire- but it was close, with them holding on by only 4 votes.

In Swale, UKIP lost another seat to Labour in a ward that was a three way Labour/ UKIP/ Conservative marginal and in Worthing, Labour took a seat (their first one in Worthing) from the Conservatives in the Marine ward that had previously been fairly safe for the Conservatives.

Two by-elections in Aylesbury Vale saw both the Conservatives and Lib Dems retain their seats in wards that are split and three way marginals that were previously four way marginals with UKIP.

In Park ward of Peterborough, Labour held a seat in a ward they split with the Conservatives. Peterborough currently has 29 Conservative Councillors and 30 Councillors from the other parties combined with one vacancy in a Conservative held ward, where UKIP and an Independent were the main challengers in 2016. This by-election on 7th September in Eye, Thorney and Newborough ward should keep the seat with the Conservatives, so the Park ward election really did make a difference on majority control of the Council.

At the end of August the last by-election for the month saw a surprise gain for Labour in Weston-Super-Mare in North Somerset in a ward where they had previously been in fourth place behind Conservatives, North Somerset First Independent and UKIP. UKIP collapsed to only 6.7% and Labour took the seat off the Independents to share the ward with the Conservatives.

In the confirmed by-elections for September, Cannock Chase have two by-elections in a Labour/ Conservative split ward and a Conservative/ Green split ward. The Conservatives are defending both seats. Colchester sees the Lib Dems defending a split ward seat in Shrub End and the Conservatives do the same in a split ward in Lewes. In Tiverton in Mid Devon UKIP have another seat to defend, and the same again in Breckland in Norfolk. As well as in Adur, on the Sussex coast, where the Conservatives only have a three seat majority and UKIP are currently the main opposition.

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