Readers, the results of yesterday's local by-elections featuring Green Party candidates were as follows:
Brentwood DC, Shenfield: Conservative 852 (58.5%, +0.8%), Liberal Democrats 483 (31.7%, +4.3%), UKIP 85 (5.6%, -2.8%), Labour 49 (3.2%, -3.3%), Green 16 (1.0%). Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat.
Peterborough UA, West: Con 1174 (46.4%, +1.1%), Lab 742 (29.4%, -2.3%), UKIP 415 (16.4%, +1.6%), Lib Dem 103 (4.1%), Green 94 (3.7%, -4.5%).
Most of yesterday's by-elections took place in villages or small-town areas which were all outside the South West, and the Green Party is more active in urban areas particularly with large numbers of young people, and towns that have a 'naturally green' feeling. Our medicore result in the West ward of Peterborough-a ward that will be abolished when Peterborough gets new ward boundaries next year and 3 extra councillors-was probably due to the fact that the Liberal Democrats stood this time when they had not earlier in May. As for Shenfield, notable for being the terminus of a commuter line to London Liverpool Street (I frequently use a connection to London Liverpool Street, but from Ware), the Liberal Democrat councillor who resigned had only won her ward (otherwise safely Conservative) due to a local split in the Conservatives a few years ago; this was psephologically just a case of reverting to type.
On another (positive this time) note, Shaker Aamer, who was wrongly detained without trial in Guantanamo Bay for 13 years, is finally coming home to the UK. I would like to thank everyone who campaigned for his release over the years so he could return home and be reunited with his family, particularly his young son who Shaker has never seen before.