By-election results

Local party faithful

Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher are Directors of Plymouth University's Elections Centre

Local council by-election seats continue to change hands regularly as voters in some parts continue to put their faith in local parties. Three recent vacancies resulted from a disqualification of the sitting councillor (there are only 11 such cases since 2015) with one producing a surprise result. 

In Cheshire East, Bollington First edged into fourth place in last May's two-member election, took full advantage of a Conservative resignation and now controls both seats in Bollington.  Meanwhile, Residents for Uttlesford, which had already achieved some success against the Conservatives in the borough, achieved that status at a stroke after capturing the two seats vacated by Liberal Democrats. 

Topping the list, though, is Liberal Democrat Adam Carter, whose campaign in Rotherham's Brinsworth and Catcliffe ward catapulted him from fifth place last May to first, with a 50 percentage point increase in vote share. This is the first seat his party has won in Rotherham in the past 15 years. Carter's campaign may become a model for future Liberal Democrats.

Staying in Rotherham, Labour received consolation with a victory in Dinnington. It was UKIP's second-place breakthrough in the parliamentary by-election four years ago that provided the catalyst for a surge in support. The party took the seat in 2014 while the three-member ward split two for Labour and one for UKIP in 2016. 

More evidence that UKIP finds it difficult to defend seats at by-elections arrives from Forest of Dean's Lydbrook and Ruardean ward. UKIP took the third and final seat in 2015 with Labour just four votes adrift. However, voters this time preferred the Green candidate, presenting the party with only its fourth by-election gain since May 2015.

It was a different story for UKIP in one of its strongest areas, Tendring, which hosts the party's only MP, although his constituency does not include the Great and Little Oakley ward. The vacancy, caused by an Independent resignation, saw an increase in vote share for all parties. The Conservative candidate, Andy Erskine, had defected from UKIP and continues to sit on Essex County Council, but he could not prevent UKIP's Mike Bush from taking the seat.

A further three gains feature Liberal Democrats deposing Conservatives. There was another impressive vote increase for the party's town councillor Andrew Doherty in Cotswold's Fairford North ward. He received two in every three votes and took full advantage of UKIP's absence while significantly undermining the Conservative vote. 

The Liberal Democrats' effective campaigning saw them recover ground in Norfolk North's Waterside ward. The party comfortably controlled the ward's two seats until it lost one in 2011 and another four years later. Victory was assured by a more than 30 percentage point increase in vote share. And in Wokingham, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey converted second into first place in Emmbrook ward and now joins her partner Rachelle on the council.

Unusually, the by-election in Fylde saw the sitting councillor re-elected. Mark Bamforth won a by-election in March 2014, topped the May poll in 2015 but was subsequently disqualified for non-attendance because of his well-publicised agoraphobia. Undaunted, he asked St Johns' electors for another term and the voters duly obliged, increasing his personal vote at the same time!

Local by-elections

Please click here for an excel document containing additional data on all recent local by-election results.

Cheshire East, Bollington
BOLL FIRST GAIN FROM CON
33.4% over Con
Turnout 28.4%

Corby, Kingswood & Hazel Leys
LAB HELD
37.9% over Con
Turnout 18.7%

Cotswold, Fairford North
LIB DEM GAIN FROM CON
37.9% over Con
Turnout 46.6%

Dudley, St. Thomas
LAB HELD
34.1% over UKIP
Turnout 23.6%

East Staffordshire, Burton
LIB DEM HELD
28% over Lab
Turnout 21.6%

East Staffordshire, Town
CON HELD
22.4% over Lab
Turnout 17%

Forest Of Dean, Lydbrook & Ruardean
GREEN GAIN FROM UKIP
11% over Con
Turnout 25.6%

Fylde, St. Johns
FYLDE RATEPAYERS HELD
30.9% over Con
Turnout 31%

North Norfolk, Waterside
LIB DEM GAIN FROM CON
20.3% over Con
Turnout 33.2%

Oldham, Failsworth East
LAB HELD
33% over Con
Turnout 17.9%

Rotherham, Brinsworth & Catcliffe
LIB DEM GAIN FROM LAB
48.9% over Lab
Turnout 32%

Rotherham, Dinnington
LAB GAIN FROM UKIP
19.8% over UKIP
Turnout 19%

Tendring, Great & Little Oakley
UKIP GAIN FROM CON
7.7% over Con
Turnout 35.1%

Uttlesford, Elsenham & Henham
2 RES GAIN FROM LIB DEM
4.2% over Res
Turnout 48.1%

Wokingham, Emmbrook
LIB DEM GAIN FROM CON
26.4% over Con
Turnout 39.7%

28 February 2017