Readers, the results from the by-elections of yesterday that featured Green Party candidates were as follows:
Kingston-upon-Thames LBC, Grove: Liberal Democrat 1577 (59.9%, +26.4%), Conservative 688 (26.1%, -4.8%), Labour 223 (8.5%, -14.0%), Green 88 (3.3%, -9.7%), UKIP 58 (2.2%). All changes are since 2014.
Norfolk CC, Gorlston St. Andrews (in Great Yarmouth): Con 876 (42.7%, +15.3%), Lab 773 (37.7%, +1.8%), UKIP 285 (13.9%, -22.8%), Lib Dem 66 (3.2%), Green 51 (2.5%).
Norfolk CC, Mile Cross (in Norwich): Lab 749 (51.8%, +7.2%), Con 279 (19.3%, +8.7% ), Green 209 (14.4%, -6.8% ), UKIP 148 (10.2%, -9.6%), Lib Dem 62 (4.3%, +0.1%).
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats, surely invigorated by newly elected leader Tim Farron, managed to win the Battle Town by-election in Rother and amazingly, Llay in Wrexham. We sadly once again felt a heavy squeeze, particularly in Kingston-upon-Thames where it seems the Lib Dems are determined to restore their status there (and elsewhere in South West London) and UKIP fell back once again, particularly in Gorlston St Andrews where they finished a poor third in a division they had won in 2013. This is likely due to the unfavourable circumstances (for them) surrounding the reason for the by-election (their previous councillor was disqualified for putting false information on nomination papers).
Despite the fact that strong campaigner Tim Farron was elected yesterday as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, I do not believe they will be able to make as notable a recovery as under either Jo Grimond, Jeremy Thorpe or David Steel, if they make a recovery at all. This is because the UK is moving away from two-party politics in the long-term, as even if UKIP fade away me and my fellow Greens are here to stay, particularly in the South West where we have a good chance of replacing the Lib Dems as the main opposition to the otherwise dominant Conservatives, and people are less likely to vote for any party simply as a protest. The Lib Dems not only lost so many seats in May without gaining any in return but also fell back heavily in many seats they were trying to recapture or target (Watford is a notable example) and have lost large portions of their local base outside their strongest areas. With strong Green support more firmly established in key areas now, some places that once elected Lib Dem MPs, or came close to doing so (particularly areas with a high student electorate) will now not do so for the foreseeable future.