Lifeline for battered Lib Dems in Tunbridge Wells by-election
Friday 18 March 2011
Battered Liberal Democrats were boosted by a shock council by-election triumph in Tunbridge Wells Borough, covering the genteel Kent spa town and home of the legendary "Disgusted".
Candidate Claire Brown snatched a Pembury seat from Tories on a huge net switch since the last polls on the same day as the 2010 general election.
It offers the party hope that some gains from its coalition Conservative partners might partly compensate for what looks like an avalanche of losses to Labour in May's council contests.
A large Ukip vote may have helped Lib Dems.
Prospects of a close finish in this year's Scottish Parliament polls received a setback as the SNP lost a seat to Labour's Roy Glen at Paisley South, Renfrewshire.
In this contest Lib Dems, who have one of ward's councillors, dropped from third to fifth place.
:: Among theories for the origin of the term "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" are that it was the nom de plume of a writer to The Times or that it followed an appeal for letters from staff by the editor of a former local newspaper amid concern at the lack of input by readers.
Tunbridge Wells Borough - Pembury: Lib Dem 578, C 460, Ukip 297. (May 2010 - C 1884, Lib Dem 1287). Lib Dem gain from C. Swing 13.8% C to Lib Dem.
Renfrewshire Council - Paisley South: Lab 2081, SNP 1366, C 388, Ind 164, Lib Dem 134, Scottish Socialist Party 82. (May 2007 - Four seats Lab 1508, SNP 1128, 976, Lib Dem 928, Lab 822, Ind 763, C 513, Ind 404, Green 130, Solidarity 104, Ind 63, Scottish Socialist Party 46 - Elected: SNP 2, Lab 1, LD 1). Lab gain from SNP. Swing 6.9% SNP to Lab.
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