The two by-elections held yesterday in the North (Sandhill – Sunderland) and in the South (Gade Valley(Three Rivers) – Hertfordshire) resulted in the Liberal Democrats taking both seats and also gaining control of the Gade Valley Council.
Labour were surprised that their share of the vote dropped dramatically in both wards and particularly in the Sandhill ward where they saw a massive 29.9% slump in support.
UKIP have not yet formally commented on their performance but must be equally disappointed with a drop of 7.2% in their share of the vote in Sandhill, a ward in which they had hoped to overtake Labour and win. UKIPs performance in the Glade valley ward was less than impressive, only managing to obtain a very modest 6.7%, where they had put up a candidate for the first time.
UKIP were unable to press home their Brexit advantage in either ward. This is likely to be the trend for UKIP in subsequent local by-elections as their activist support in local areas has always been weak or non-existent.
Support for the Liberal Democrats was largely due to a large shift in support from both the Conservatives and Labour Parties. It is difficult to believe the Liberal anti-Brexit stance contributed to their success since the Sandhill and Gade Valley wards voted to LEAVE in line with the national average.
Lib Dem gain from Labour
Liberal Democrat: 45.0 per cent (+41.5)
Labour: 25.0 per cent (-29.9)
UKIP: 18.7 per cent (-7.2)
Conservative: 10.0 per cent (-5.7)
Green: 1.3 per cent (+1.3)
Gade Valley (Three Rivers) –
Lib Dem gain from Conservative
Liberal Democrat: 60.9 per cent (+24.0)
Conservative: 19.1 per cent (-22.9)
Labour: 11.6 per cent (-9.6)
UKIP: 6.7 per cent (+6.7)
GRN: 1.8 per cent (+1.8)