Two Labour gains in by-elections

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Labour gained in the latest council by-elections taking seats from Tory and independent councillors.

Conservatives did even the score with a win against their Liberal Democrat coalition Government partners.

Analysis of the small sample of four comparable results suggests a 4.3% projected nationwide lead for Labour compared with 1.5% last month - revised to include the Inverclyde Commons by-election.

This could be an early sign of fallout from the hacking storm.

The full three-party line-up is: Lab 37.4%, C 33.1%, Lib Dem 19.5%.

Labour's Cheryl Pidgeon triumphed at Derbyshire County Council's Sawley division, leap-frogging Tories.

This by-election is a postscript to a half-century era of local government service. The contest was caused by the death at 79 of Bill Camm, who served on Long Eaton Urban Council from 1961, Derbyshire since 1970 and the Erewash authority from its creation in 1974.

Mr Camm, former mayor of the borough, was a Labour councillor but became independent after a disagreement over the depth of a swimming pool.

Labour's Janet Holmes gained from Tories at Horbury and South Ossett, Wakefield City, West Yorkshire, building on her party's majority in May when it won another of the ward's seats.

Conservative Peter Webb gained from Lib Dems at Lytchett Matravers, Purbeck District, Dorset.

This brings Tories' total strength on the authority to 12 out of 24 councillors. However the chairman is a Liberal Democrat.

Ukip claimed there were signs that it was fast becoming the real third party after it knocked the Liberal Democrats into fourth place in the Staffordshire and Wakefield contests. In its first-time fight at Churnet Valley it picked up 15% of the vote, compared with Lib Dems' 9%.

Party leader Nigel Farage said: "Momentum is building and these results clearly show that more people are thinking and voting Ukip. With our first lady mayor in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, and our success earlier this year in the Barnsley Central by-election - where we beat both the Tories and Lib Dems - the tide is clearly turning."


Derbyshire County - Sawley: Lab 1,351, C 1,197, Lib Dem 692. (June 2009 - Ind 2,336, C 1,037, Lab 463, Lib Dem 460, Lib Dem 24). Lab gain from Ind. Swing 9% C to Lab.

Purbeck District - Lytchett Matravers: C 669, Lib Dem 599. (May 2010 - Lib Dem 1,178, C 1,060). C gain from Lib Dem. Swing 5.4% Lib Dem to C.

Southwark London Borough - Peckham: Lab 1,754, Lib Dem 554, C 86, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts 63, Green 46. (May 2010 - Three seats Lab 3,435, 3,242, 3,069, Lib Dem 979, 727, 595, C 470, 436, 385, Green 338, Ind 285, Green 264, 218). Lab hold. Swing 0.8% Lab to Lib Dem.

Staffordshire County - Churnet Valley: C 1,063, Lab 491, Ukip 316, Lib Dem 173. (June 2009 - C 1,962, Lib Dem 964, Lab 713). C hold. Swing 3.1% C to Lab.

Wakefield City - Horbury and South Ossett: Lab 1,776, C 1,061, Ukip 232, Lib Dem 200, Ind 93, Ind 88. (May 2011 - Lab 2,433, C 2,048, Lib Dem 473). Lab gain from C. Swing 6.4% C to Lab.