5 December 2013

By-election night 17

An extremely poor set of by-election results for the Lib Dems last week, with the party being significantly outpolled by UKIP everywhere it stood with the exception of Lambeth's Vassal ward.  There the party managed second place - but faced a massive 16.5% swing to Labour - enough to lose it every seat on the council next May.

Eight by-elections this week and for the first time in a few weeks we're back to UKIP standing in more contests than the Lib Dems.  UKIP have a full slate - two more than the Lib Dems - which is all the more impressive given five of the eight contests are in Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

And it's the two constests in Cardiff that are likely to be of the most interest - with Labour defending a seat in Riverside where Plaid previously held the seats and another in Splott which was untill 2011 a split Lib Dem/Labour ward and Labour are now defending a majority of less than 400.

It's a sense of deja vu for voters in Manchester's Ancoats and Clayton ward who are returning to the polls just a few weeks after the previous by-election .  The question for the Lib Dems will be can they improve on seventh place and 44 votes in this month's ten way contest?

For the Tories, they face a tricky defence in the marginal South Woodham, Elmwood and Woodvile ward where their majority is just 94 over the local independents.  The by-election was caused by the disqualification of their sitting councillor which is likely to make the defence even trickier.

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