In the Mash Barn ward of Adur, Labour surged 34% of the vote share and from fourth place in 2014 to take the seat from UKIP (who couldn’t even manage to stand a candidate to defend the seat). The Lib Dems also collapsed leaving the ward a Labour/ Conservative marginal but with a UKIP Councillor still in place until 2020. The Council remains Conservative run with a three seat majority.
In the Borehamwood Kenilworth ward of Hertsmere Labour took a seat from the Conservatives, who probably won’t be too worried as they still have 35 of the 39 Councillors. The winning Labour candidate though did manage to immediately become Leader of the three strong Labour Group.
In Redcar we mentioned in September that Labour were looking to steal a seat from the Lib Dems and inch closer to a majority on the Council (currently two seats short). They failed and the Lib Dems increased their share of the vote by 9% to safely retain the seat.
On 12th October in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire the Conservatives were defending a seat in a ward they split 2-1 with Labour. In the end neither Party won and the Conservatives were pushed into third when the Ashfield Independent candidate took 51% of the vote to win. Labour remain in comfortable control of the Council.
On the same day in Watford the Conservatives were also defending a seat in a ward they split 1-2 with the Lib Dems and which also has a strong Labour presence. The Lib Dems came through to clean up the ward with Labour staying in third.
In the Aberdeenshire ward of Inverurie the Conservatives were defending a seat that could have been won by virtually anyone as prior to the by-election this four member ward was split one each between Conservatives, Lib Dem, SNP and an Independent. Ultimately, the Conservatives cemented their growing support in Scotland and won easily, taking 48.5% of the vote and being over 500 votes ahead of the SNP. The Lib Dems (plus Labour) were 1,400 votes behind.
Hartlepool had an interesting by-election on 19th October in Seaton ward which was split three ways between UKIP, an Independent and the hyper local party Putting Hartlepool First. The Independent stood down and it was Putting Hartlepool First that took their third seat on the Council.
In the pending by-election list is the Wandsworth by-election in Thamesfield ward that is scheduled for 9th November. The Conservatives should win easily having held the ward in 2014 by 1,600 votes, but Labour are targeting the ward given the current political climate in London and the Parliamentary results in June. If Labour do win, this could put the Conservatives in trouble of losing a flagship borough they have held since 1978.
In Crawley Labour are defending a seat in a split ward held 2-1 in their favour with the Conservatives. Labour currently lead the Council with 20 seats to the Conservatives 17, so a switch of the seat will make the Council a knife edge majority.
In Thanet the Conservatives will defend a seat in a ward split three ways between Conservative, UKIP and an Independent. UKIP have lost their majority through defections and dropped from 33 Councillors to 25. They are still the largest group and run the administration so will presumably target this by-election to try and get back closer to full control.
In Maidstone, the three seat North ward will be defended by the Conservatives in a ward that is split two Lib Dems and one Conservative. The Council is run by a Lib Dem/ Independent minority administration but with the Conservatives the largest group with 23 Councillors (versus the Lib Dems 22). With 28 seats needed for a majority, if the Lib Dems won the by-election it would not only make them the largest group but their coalition only one seat from a majority.
Not amongst the by-elections taking place in October but still a significant change is Tendring in Essex. The Council has become Conservative majority controlled again with two more defections from UKIP. At the last elections the Council saw 23 Conservative and 22 UKIP candidates elected (along with four Labour, one Lib Dem and 10 assorted small Parties and Independents). This has now radically changed following by-elections and defections with the Conservatives up to 32 and UKIP down to just 8, giving the Conservatives back the overall control they lost in 2015.