Some cheer for the Conservatives last night: they made two gains in this week’s local council by-elections.
The first was a seat on East Cambridgeshire district council, which the party won from an independent.
The candidate Hamish Ross benefited from a small 0.9% swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives to secure a reasonably comfortable victory in the ward of Soham South.
Ukip nipped past the Lib Dems into second place. Labour came last, behind not one but two independents.
The full result was:
The Tories’ other gain came in the Southam ward of Stratford-upon-Avon council.
Again, it was at the benefit of an independent, but one who had previously stood as a Conservative before leaving the party.
Winning candidate Tony Bromwich will probably be relieved to see Ukip manage only a relatively distant third and final place. But the overall result represents a 4.8% swing from Tory to Labour. The party will be pleased they came so close to snatching a win.
Here’s the full result:
The balance of power on the two councils is unchanged. In East Cambridgeshire, the Tories have increased their majority over all other parties from seven to eight; in Stratford-upon-Avon, their majority has gone up from 18 to 19.
Next week we’ve got some unfinished business in London: the election of three councillors in the Colindale ward of Barnet council. The contest was postponed from last month following the death of a candidate.
The following week we’ve got the postponed elections in the Blackwall and Cubitt Town ward of Tower Hamlets council.
Neither contest should affect the balance of power on the respective councils. It’ll be intriguing, however, to see whether some of the trends evident in last month’s polls in London (a surge for Labour, a collapse for the Lib Dems, the near-absence of Ukip) are still at work.