All of this week’s council by-elections took place outside England. There were five in total, four in Scotland and one in Wales.
The SNP won three seats: two gains and one hold.
The most notable was undoubtedly on Fife council, where the nationalists won a seat from Labour on an impressive 9.1% swing:
It’s the kind of result that will only buoy the SNP’s spirits still further as they head into the election campaign scenting a dizzying landslide win across Scotland.
They made a second gain on Moray council, where they took a seat from an independent:
The nationalists’ third win was on West Lothian council, where they held a seat easily:
Even here there was a swing from Labour to the SNP of 5.5%.
Labour also fared badly in Thursday’s other by-election in Scotland, losing a seat on the Western Isles council to an independent – although defeat was a foregone conclusion, as they didn’t even bother to field a candidate.
Finally, there was a by-election for the Vale of Glamorgan council in Wales. In a very close result, the Conservatives sneaked ahead of the Llantwit First group to win the seat:
This comes after a swing to Conservatives last week at Denbighshire.
The Press Association has done an analysis of eight comparable results over the past month, which gives Labour a lead over the Tories of 4.4%. Meanwhile a calculation based on five wards fought by the three main Westminster parties gives a line-up of Labour 39.9%, Conservative 33.8%, Liberal Democrats 11.3%.