With only seven local by-elections this month across England and Wales, opportunities for summer gains were scarce. However, we came close to winning Dodderhill in Wychavon, Worcestershire, missing out by only a handful of votes.
A recent Independent win in Pressall, a village in Lancashire’s Wyre district, on the back of a strong campaign against quarrying in the area, highlights the importance of campaigning on local environmental issues, and how it pays electoral dividends when we campaign.
During this traditional lull in the political season (the Conservative Party leadership election and the Green Party deputy leadership election notwithstanding), the Conservatives continued their run of poor performances. Surprisingly, the Liberal Democrat-Green pact in Spelthorne, which resulted in a Green gain of Laleham & Shepperton Green in a by-election last year, failed to yield a Liberal Democrat gain. Perhaps, this is because the Green Party is perceived to be more likeable than the Liberal Democrats.
Their loss of Pressall was in reaction to quarrying around that village; the Independent who won stood on a platform of opposing that quarry. Their loss of Beverley Rural and near loss of Dodderhill is also a sign that almost no Conservative ward anywhere in the UK is safe at present.
Labour did not perform well either, losing a seat in Bridgend to a localist Independent and being knocked back in Trumpington. The Greens were unlucky to fall just 23 votes short of winning another seat in Wychavon, where, like in most of Worcestershire, they have been performing well recently.
Arguably, had the Liberal Democrats not stood, the Greens would have narrowly won that particular by-election. The absence of a Green candidate in the Beverley Rural by-election, by contrast, proved to decisively swing that by-election in the Liberal Democrats' favour.
For more detail, view tables below.