The Conservatives were able to hand a very mild drubbing to their erstwhile MP Douglas Carswell in this week’s council by-elections.
A seat on Essex county council was up for grabs after the resignation of Ukip’s Roger Lord – the man who was originally pencilled in as Ukip parliamentary candidate for Clacton before Carswell’s defection.
Lord’s seat in Brightlingsea, around 15% of which overlaps with the constituency of Clacton, was won not by Ukip but by the Tories:
There was a swing of 4.4% from Ukip to the Conservatives, who have a comfortable majority on the council.
Ukip lost another seat in Crawley, this time to Labour. The contest had been triggered by the resignation of the sitting Ukip councillor. The party only managed to come third in the by-election, behind both Labour and the Tories:
This was the first by-election for Crawley council in four years. Labour’s ruling majority on the council now stands at five.
The other three by-elections on Thursday saw no seats change hands.
The Tories held a seat in Blackpool, though both Ukip and Labour were close behind. The Tories also held a seat in Chelmsford, while Ukip held a seat in Rushmoor: some consolation for their two losses elsewhere in the country.
The Press Association’s analysis of five comparable results suggests a 1.2% projected nationwide Labour lead over Tories.
Their calculation based on four wards fought both times by all three major parliamentary parties gives a line-up of Labour 39.1%, Conservatives 38.8%, Liberal Democrats 7.0%.