More so than usual, this week’s council by-elections were overshadowed by events elsewhere. In their own humble way they had a few interesting stories to tell, however.
Labour was the victor in all three contests. Two were holds; one was a gain.
Maureen Stanton won a seat from an independent in the Crook ward (no sniggering, please) of Durham county council. There was a 3.1% swing from the Lib Dems to Labour, and the Tories ended up in last place:
Labour now holds almost 100 of Durham county council’s 126 seats.
While the party fought off all challenges in Thursday’s other two by-elections, in both cases there was a swing to somebody else.
In the Quarry and Risinghurst ward of Labour-run Oxford city council, there was a swing of 4.5% from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, who improved their second place performance ahead of the Tories, the Greens and the English Democrats. Ukip did not field a candidate.
In the Abergele Pensarn ward of Conwy borough council, there was an even bigger swing against Labour of 9.2%, this time to the Conservatives. The mathematics is slightly misleading, however. The Tories still came next to last; it was the fall in Labour’s total from 407 to 160 that produced such a chunky swing. Ukip came third, behind an independent and ahead of “no description” (who won 74 votes!)
Conwy is one of the few councils in the country governed by a genuine “rainbow” coalition: Labour, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and assorted independents. The only party not in power is the Conservatives.