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ALDC’s by-election report – 24 March 2016

March 27, 2016 5:03 PM
In ALDC

Ballot BoxAnother fairly quiet week on the by-election front saw just three principal by-elections - two in Allerdale in Cumbria and one in Kettering in Northamptonshire.

Allerdale on the west Cumbrian coast sadly saw no Liberal Democrat candidates in either of the two vacancies, all the more disappointing given we achieved 21% of the vote in the Dalton ward when it was fought last year. Dalton saw an Independent candidate take the ward from the Conservatives, who dropped to third and continue their poor run of council by-election results this year (they are now on -6 seats so far this year and with a 63% defence rate, although they have contested every seat). What was interesting in this result was that neither the winning party nor the runners-up (Labour) fought this ward last time. If you're thinking this makes Allerdale sound like a council area in need of a severe injection of some democracy, then you are probably right, given the other vacancy in the Moss Bay ward in the town of Workington saw a competition between Labour and UKIP when last time all three Labour councillors were returned unopposed. Labour comfortably held on to the seat and leaves them on +1 in by-elections so far this year and with a 100% record of defending their seats (we are on +2 with an 86% defence rate).

Well done to Mel Gosliga, Chris Nelson and the team in Kettering in Northamptonshire who stood a candidate in the St. Peter's ward within Kettering town itself. Despite garnering just 28 votes it puts the party on the map in the town, gave those 28 Lib Dem voters a chance to express their genuine political beliefs, and gives us a baseline to work from that we wouldn't know without putting up a candidate. There is absolutely no reason why we couldn't start to pick up councillors in Kettering, given the strength we have in towns not so dissimilar nearby such as the county town of Northampton and just down the railway line in Market Harborough. It just takes a keen team and some hardwork to make it happen, (although we appreciate the word 'just' does underestimate the hardwork somewhat). This by-election may be the start of that in Kettering.

Finally, congratulations to Doris Turrell, David Dobbie and the team in the Lincolnshire town of Gainsborough. We held on to a seat in a two-horse race with UKIP following the resignation of Lesley Rollings who is concentrating on her district and county seats after overseeing the transformation of Gainsborough Town Council from a failing council to one praised by the auditors. This is an area where we have traditionally been quite strong and so it's good to see them keep up that tradition.

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

GAINSBOROUGH TC, GAINSBOROUGH EAST- 24TH MARCH 2016

LD Doris Turrell 305 [57.4%]
UKIP 226 [42.6%]
Majority: 79
Liberal Democrat hold
Turnout: 10.2%

KETTERING BC, ST PETERS- 24TH MARCH 2016

Conservative 468 [51.0%; +10.8%]
Labour 180 [19.6%; -5.5%]
UKIP 149 [16.2%; -2.2%]
Green 93 [10.1%; -6.2%]
LD Mel Gosliga 28 [3.1%; +3.1%]
Majority: 288
Conservative hold
Turnout: 26.0%
Percentage change since 2015

ALLERDALE BC, DALTON- 24TH MARCH 2016

Independent 133 [31.7%; +31.7%]
Labour 118 [28.2%; +28.2%]
Conservative 93 [22.2%; -26.1%]
UKIP 53 [12.6%; -1.8%]
Green 22 [5.3%; -10.6%]
[LD [0.0%; -21.4%]]
Majority: 15
Independent gain from Conservative
Turnout: 29.8%
Percentage change since 2015

ALLERDALE BC, MOSS BAY- 24TH MARCH 2016

Labour 411 [65.9%; -35.1%]
UKIP 189 [29.9%; +29.9%]
Con 33 [5.2%; +5.2%]
Majority: 222
Labour hold
Turnout: 19.3%
Percentage change since 2015 (when the seat was uncontested)

Comments

David Dobbie - Gainsborough

We have not lost a Gainsborough Town Council by-election since I stood as a Liberal Democrat in East Ward in March 2005.
We have since won the Council twice in 2008 and 2011, the second time after the defection of 3 Councillors to the Con/dependent group and held the Council with an increased majority last May.

Barry Coward - Gainsborough

In 2011 when the Lib Dems nationally were failing, we took control of Gainsborough Town Council from "condependents" winning 12 of the 18 seats. We discovered the council was virtually bankrupt. We sacked the Town Clerk and worked hard to turn the council around. By 2015 elections we won 13 of the 18 seats and the council is not only now financially sound but is doing much that good parish councils should be doing to support their populace, much to the annoyance of the Tory controlled district council. I shall be retiring in May not only as the council leader but from politics all together having started back in 1962 by joining the Young Liberals. I am delighted that the council is in such good form and wish my colleagues all the best for an exciting future in this traditionally sleepy corner of Lincolnshire.