Local authority by-elections Q4 2015


party vote share % seats won candidates nett gain
Conservative 26.7 32 77 2
Labour 22.7 17 69 0
Liberal Democrat 15.7 16 65 -1
SNP 12.1 8 11 -1
UKIP 5.8 2 46 -1
Independent 5.0 4 28 -1
Green 4.2 2 46 1
Plaid Cymru 1.8 3 8 1
No description 1.4 3 5 3
Others 4.6 2 20 -3

89 contests in all, and as ever, not likely to be representative of the whole country. However, it is a significant sample, a good snapshot that provides something to mull over.

I am always disappointed when Labour does not field a candidate in every contest. Boast as much as we like about being the biggest party in the UK, bigger than all the others combines some claim (and I doubt) but we rarely best the Tories in contests fought. In fact the struggling Liberal Democrats almost match us in this yardstick. There are, the candidate numbers suggest, still only three truly national parties. Both UKIP and the Greens still have some way to go before they can justifiably make this claim.

David Cameron’s party are still enjoying a post-General Election honeymoon. At some point though, and sooner rather than later, Labour has got to start eating into the Tory councillor base. It is too early to start worrying about no nett gains for us yet, but if this continues through next year then we will have to rethink our strategy.

One Response to Local authority by-elections Q4 2015

  1. There are, the candidate numbers suggest, still only three truly national parties.

    But do candidate numbers suggest such a thing? I am not sure that being able to find a Conservative in Sunderland or a Socialist in Surrey willing to be a candidate actually indicates very much other than possible delusions in respect of the candidates concerned.

    With our current electoral system there is a lot to be said for not wasting time and money on contests that you cannot win or where you will not push the winner to make their case. If you genuinely aspire to “national” government, the system says that rather than stand in the hopeless cases you should divert your energy into nearby marginals – failing to do so might indicate that you are not serious about forming a government.

    Do “National” parties have to have some sort of presence in all parts of the nation whether that is:
    – MPs – where most parties (SNP excepted) would struggle or,
    – councillors where all parties would struggle if you said councillors on all county / unitary / district councils
    – members where some “national” parties are pretty thin in some constituencies?
    Or is it something to do with your party’s aspirations – UK wide or England / Wales / Scotland / Northern Ireland wide?

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