Readers, there were three local by-elections yesterday featuring Green Party candidates, and the results were as follows:
Cambridge CC, Queen Edith's: Liberal Democrat 933 (36.5%, -4.7%), Labour 790 (30.9%, +1.1%), Conservative 614 (24.0%, +7.7%), Green 222 (8.7%, -2.7%).
Wigan MBC, Douglas: Lab 874 (59.4%, -0.7%), UKIP 452 (30.7%, -0.9%), Con 80 (5.4%, -3.0%), Green 37 (2.5%), Community Action Party 29 (2.0%).
Wokingham UA, Bulmershe & Whitegates: Con 726 (35.4%, +8.4%), Lab 498 (24.3%, -10.0%), Lib Dem 448 (21.8%, +4.1%), UKIP 275 (13.4%, -1.6%), Green 105 (5.1%, -1.0%).
(NB: All percentage changes in vote share are since 2014)
The fact that the Liberal Democrats regained Queen Edith's ward is not surprising-Labour's win in 2012 was a serious shock, given how that ward elected Conservative councillors until 1992 and Lib Dem councillors from then onwards, usually. I am surprised that we Greens did not make an advance even though this ward is in the South Cambridgeshire constituency and not the Cambridge constituency.
In Wigan, the Community Action Party was once a strong force, but it went into decline a few years ago and once ended up de-registering at one point. They returned earlier this year but it is clear that they are no longer as influential as they once were. Speaking of local parties in decline, the Mansfield Independent Forum (who Mansfield's elected Mayor, Tony Eggington, is a member of), which once controlled Mansfield council, has not even fielded a candidate for an upcoming by-election caused by the death of one of their own councillors. The continuing SDP's base in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, may be about to fade away again as they could not find anyone to replace long-serving Ray Allerston (who sadly died two months ago and whose wife was once Mayor of Bridlington) for a by-election due to take place in two weeks' time.
The result from Wokingham, meanwhile, is indicative of the Liberal Democrats' long-term decline in Berkshire as a whole, which in my opinion started when David Rendel lost his Newbury seat to Richard Benyon in 2005. In several seats in Berkshire in 2010, there were significant swings from Liberal Democrat to Conservative (outside Slough, Reading, and parts of Bracknell, there is little Labour support to speak of in Berkshire) and Wokingham proved no exception.
The Rochester & Strood by-election is now only six days away-apart from UKIP winning (in all likelihood), what will happen on the day with so many candidates?