Monday, 8 July 2013

By-Election Results: 4 July 2013

Last week's results were a boost for the Lib Dems' future prospects - gaining two marginal seats from the Conservatives in Oxfordshire and Nofo.  Meanwhile, Labour easily held their two seats, with UKIP notably falling back in Newcastle-under-Lyme while they advance across much of the rest of the country.  The full results are currently available on the Engllish Elections homepage here.

The Lib Dems now hold both of the seats in this ward, the result having been split in 2011 with the lead Conservative candidate just six votes ahead of the second Liberal Democrat.  The swing here was a relatively modest 3.8%, but in such a tight race that was enough to allow the Lib Dems to make the gain.  The result will give local Lib Dems some optimism perhaps that they may regain the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency in 2015, that being one of the closest Lib Dem-Conservative marginals in the country with a Conservative majority of only 176 in 2010.

This was also a split ward in 2011, electing two Conservatives and one Lib Dem - with the Lib Dems' gain now reversing that balance of power.  The swing here was a more substantial 9% from Conservative to Lib Dems.  Broadland is a somewhat more safe Conservative seat, though a 9% swing would be more than what is required for the Lib Dems to gain here in 2015, so again there is some cause for optimism.  Overall, the Lib Dems seem to be continuing to perform poorly in the North, especially in urban areas where they've spent some time as the major alternative to Labour, but are actually improving in rural and Southern areas where they've long positioned themselves more as the alternative to the Conservatives.

An ultra-safe Labour ward that was never going to produce any surprises - although the scant 1% swing from the Conservatives suggest that the Labour vote in the area is pretty much maxed out.

On recent national swings, this was effectively UKIP's seat to lose - and lose they did after a surprising Labour hold.  UKIP's vote actually went backwards in 2011, and following disappointing results in Staffordshire in May it seems that the party is now going into decline in one of its original breakthrough areas.  Labour will be happy to be improving their majority and gradually recovering dominance of this once Labour heartland.

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