Readers, the results from local by-elections this week (one on 15/12/15, the others on 17/12/15) featuring Green Party candidates were as follows:
Spelthorne BC, Sheppertown Town: Conservative 858 (62.0%, +10.9%), UKIP 180 (13.0%, -7.5%), Liberal Democrats 154 (11.1%, -2.1%), Labour 123 (8.9%, -6.9%), Green 68 (4.9%).
East Hertfordshire DC, Hertford Heath: No Description (actually Conservative) 269 (52.0%, +6.7%), Lib Dem 101 (19.5%), UKIP 70 (13.5%, -1.8%), Lab 56 (10.8%, -1.7%), Green 21 (4.1%, -1.8%).
Brent LBC, Kensal Green: Lab 931 (53.4%, -1.0%), Lib Dem 417 (23.9%, +8.6%), Con 255 (14.6%, +2.8%), Green 102 (5.9%, -12.7%), UKIP 38 (2.2%).
Worcestershire CC, Stourport-on-Severn: Con 763 (28.7%, +9.2%), Independent Health Concern 725 (27.3%, +0.8%), Lab 581 (21.9%, -0.7%), UKIP 547 (20.6%, -6.9%), Green 42 (1.6%, -2.3%).
This week was particularly notable due to two candidates from main parties standing as 'no description' due to failing to fill out their nomination papers correctly, one of whom was standing in Hertford Heath's by-election, in the district where I currently reside. It ultimately made no difference there, even when the former Conservative councillor, Adrian McNeece, started supporting the Labour candidate. However, such an error did make a real difference over in Ryedale, which was won by the continuing Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats, who they refused to merge with back in 1988).
It has not been a good week for the Green Party this week, particularly in Brent where the Liberal Democrats, like in Haringey, have been trying to regain some standing after their heavy losses in 2014 local elections (and the 2015 general election for that matter), which explains why Labour's vote share actually decreased slightly even though these places should theoretically be more favourable to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of Labour.
In other news, MPs voted 296 to 261 to allow fracking in national parks and sites of special scientific interest, days after Britain signed the climate change agreement in Paris. Only four Conservative MPs rebelled (Zac Goldsmith, Jason McCartney, Sarah Wollaston and Andrew Turner), with Mark Menzies, Kevin Hollinrake, Nick Herbert, and Jeremy Quin voting in favour even though their own constituencies are fracking targets! Jim Fitzpatrick from Labour also voted in favour-but why?
Incidentally, 39 Labour MPs did not show up-so in theory this bill could have been defeated if those MPs had also ignored the archaic 'pairing system' that still exists within Parliament. It is times like this that are an important reminder of why Green support needs to grow strongly in rural areas (where in numerous cases locally we are the only effective opposition to the Conservatives e.g. in Mid Suffolk) as well as urban areas with lots of young people.