Readers, the local by-election results featuring Green Party candidates this week were as follows:
Ashford DC, Aylesford Green: Conservative 110 (23.5%, -21.5%), UKIP 109 (23.2%), Labour 106 (22.6%, -32.4%), Ashford Independent 92 (19.6%), Liberal Democrat 42 (9.0%), Green 10 (2.1%). Conservative gain from Labour.
Norfolk CC, South Smallburgh: Liberal Democrat 1383 (56.4%, +25.8%), Conservative 697 (28.4%, -1.0%), UKIP 219 (8.9%, -17.8%), Labour 103 (4.2%, -5.3%), Green 52 (2.1%, -1.6%).
Norfolk CC, Watton: Conservative 822 (45.6%, +18.2%), Independent 793* (44.0%, +20.4%*), Labour 103 (5.8%, -5.4%), Green 81 (4.5%, +0.3%). Conservative gain from UKIP.
Surrey CC, Epsom West: Conservative 612 (23.6%, +10.8%), Epsom & Ewell Residents Association 591 (22.8%, +0.0%), Liberal Democrats 588 (22.7%, -5.4%), Labour 578 (22.3%, +2.1%), UKIP 168 (6.5%, -9.7%), Green 58 (2.2%). Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat.
*The Independent candidate in Watton, Keith Gilbert, was endorsed by both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.
Like a previous post of mine on by-elections last year, these results have once again shown the absurdity of first past the post in a multi-party system, especially at local level. In Ashford, just four votes separated the top three candidates, and just 18 separated the top four candidates, partly due to the terrible turnout of 19% in that by-election. The Conservatives' close wins in the three elections where they made gains are largely attributable to tactical voting, since two of them were on less than 25% of the votes cast. The Liberal Democrats' close third-place finish in the Epsom West division is actually lucky for them since not only did we stand this time around, but also the Lib Dems lost all of their council seats in Epsom & Ewell earlier this year.
Unlike last week, none of these by-elections had remotely fertile territory for the Green Party, but it remains the case that in any ward or division, anywhere in the UK, Green Party support will exist somewhere.