Number of Candidates
* There were two by-elections in Scotland
** There were five by-elections in Wales
*** There were three Independent clashes
**** Others this month consisted of Putting Hartlepool First (155), Patients Not Profit in our NHS (36), East Devon Alliance (324), Oxted and Limpsfield Residents Group (713), Women's Equality Party (173), Lewisham People Before Profit (314), Beverley Party (364), and English Democrats (23)
Overall, 51,039 votes were cast over 34 local authority (tier one and tier two) contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. The Conservatives won 10 contests, Labour 10, LibDems six, UKIP one, SNP one, PC one, Ind four, and Oth one. Labour held three seats with a 500+ safe margin, and the LibDems took one with a resulting majority greater than 500. In all, some 12 seats changed hands. For comparison with September's results, see here.
For me, this set of by-elections have to be filed under frustrating. Despite winning a plurality (which, given the variegated nature of by-elections month-to-month, is virtually meaningless), Labour dropped five seats. And they were lost all over the place - to the Tories, LibDems, SNP, UKIP, and PC. It might be due to the local factors at work. Indeed, this is probably most likely. Labour had a net loss of one in September, and broke even in August, but if we were capitalising from Brexit we should be doing much better than this. The only small crumb of comfort going is the fact the Tories are down to, those they haven't hurt as much this month as Labour.
The LibDems, however, trundle on. Up three councillors, the trend is so pronounced now that we can starting talking with confidence about a return of a chunk of their former support. Some of it looks soft Tory, some soft Labour, and a big slice of UKIP's none-of-the-above vote. Unless they screw up spectacularly which, now few but the most geeky care about them, no one will care about surely this trend can look forward to carrying on. Meanwhile, despite predictions about Labour swallowing up the Greens' support, they're proving quite resilient and occasionally threaten to post better results than UKIP. It might happen soon.