By-election boost for Tories

The Tories were boosted by a council by-election gain in Ed Miliband's first conference week as Labour leader and ahead of their own.

Their candidate, Alison Hamlin, snatched the tiny Woolavington ward at Somerset's Sedgemoor District, with Labour dropping from first place to third behind the Liberal Democrats.

The by-election was caused by the death of Labour's district group leader Roger Lavers, who clearly had a large personal following.

The other three comparable contests this week all showed swings to the party.

Plaid Cymru's Paul Eurwel Thomas made the only other gain, winning the Bowydd a Rhiw seat from the Voice of Gwynedd group on the North Wales council.

Two wards last fought on May 6 general election day showed a big variation in the swing to Labour.

The net movement at Battle Hill, North Tyneside Borough, was 8.3% from Lib Dems while at Longdendale, Tameside Borough, Greater Manchester, it was just 0.8% against Tories.

Analysis of a large sample of 23 comparable results last month suggests a 1.6% projected Tory nationwide lead over Labour.

But Labour is ahead on a calculation based on 16 wards fought both times by all three major parties.

The line-up is: Lab 38.6%, C 37.1%, Lib Dem 14.4%.


Cheshire East Council - Alderley: Counting today. (May 2008 - Three seats C 2992, 2928, 2924, Lib Dem 1379, No description 873, Lab 606).

Durham County - Brandon: Lab 1204, Lib Dem 538, C 140. (May 2008 - Two seats Lab 1257, 1168, Lib Dem 797, 594, C 217, BNP 203, 178). Lab hold. Swing 6.5% Lib Dem to Lab.

Gwynedd County - Bowydd a Rhiw: Plaid Cymru 338, Voice of Gwynedd 246. (May 2008 - Voice of Gwynedd 341, Plaid Cymru 247, Green 117). Plaid Cymru gain from Voice of Gwynedd.

North Tyneside Borough - Battle Hill: Lab 1334, Lib Dem 826, C 97, Ind 43. (May 2010 - Lab 2335, Lib Dem 2065, C 586). Lab hold. Swing 8.3% Lib Dem to Lab.

Sedgemoor District - Woolavington: C 264, Lib Dem 184, Lab 141. (May 2007 - Lab 398, C 380). C gain from Lab. Swing 11.6% Lab to C.

Tameside Borough - Longdendale: Lab 1275, C 1083, Green 99, BNP 80, Ukip 67. (May 2010 - Lab 2084. C 1812, Ukip 445, Green 426). Lab hold. Swing 0.8% C to Lab.

Last Friday:

Scarborough Borough - Eastfield: Lib Dem 182, Lab 159, Ind 110, C 100, BNP 27, Green 13. (May 2007 - Three seats Lib Dem 771, 673, 517, Lab 229, 214, C 158, 132). Lib Dem hold. Swing 19.2% Lib Dem to Lab.

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