Local elections

A second Ukip defector held their seat on Thursday

It wasn’t widely reported, but a by-election parallel to that in Rochester & Strood took place on Thursday.

Chris Irvine won a seat on Medway council after defecting from the Conservatives to Ukip. Irvine is campaign agent to Rochester MP Mark Reckless, and decided to follow his colleague’s example by standing for re-election rather than simply cross sides. He had previously won the seat for the Tories in 2011. The result is therefore technically a hold rather than a gain for Ukip, and there was also a 5.4% swing from the Tories to Labour:

Medway by-electionThe turnout in this local contest (54.9%) was actually higher than that in the Rochester parliamentary by-election (50.6%).

There were two other council by-elections this week.

The Conservatives increased their vote at Bramhall South and Woodford in Stockport, where they held a seat. The Lib Dems were second, the Greens third and Labour fourth. Ukip did not field a candidate.

In an eight-sided contest for Uplands on Swansea council, Labour narrowly lost the seat to an independent, formerly of the Liberal Democrats.

Labour’s defeat might have something to do with the behaviour of its councillor whose resignation triggered the by-election, who had failed to attend a single council meeting during the whole of 2014.

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