7 and 14 July
Amidst the Conservative Party leadership election, the Conservatives' terrible run in British local by-elections continued, losing three of the four wards up for election during this fortnight that were vacated by the Conservatives. This included Oakham South, where the Conservatives did not even defend the seat despite Rutland overall being a long-standing Conservative heartland. Only the result in Binley and Willenhall, Coventry, was even remotely positive for the Conservatives although, in this case, the localist Coventry Citizens party split both the Labour vote and the Conservative vote.
Although Labour generally did well, notably by gaining Thetford Boudica from the Conservatives (and Thetford is normally a promising town for the Conservatives; this proved especially so in the post-EU membership referendum aftermath), their loss of Hampstead Town to the Liberal Democrats, especially combined with a fall to third place, was a stark reminder of voter dissatisfaction with both main parties, as well as progressive voters not having much faith in Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. As for their surge in Epsom and Ewell, this is attributable to affluent public sector executives moving to this area; even though Epsom and Ewell has house prices comparable with many London boroughs. This also explains why Labour's recent general election results in the Epsom and Ewell constituency (which also includes the town of Ashtead in the Mole Valley district) were not as bad as most Surrey constituencies, considering Epsom and Ewell's demographics and wealth which is generally in line with Surrey as a whole.
The Greens' spectacular gain of Charlwood, Mole Valley, gives them their first district councillor ever in Mole Valley, Surrey, one of the wealthiest districts in the United Kingdom outside London, and compensates for their near miss in De Beauvoir ward, Hackney. The Liberal Democrats did not make as significant progress during this fortnight as before, primarily because many of the contests this past fortnight were primarily Labour vs. Conservative. Their comfortable hold in Brympton is also largely academic, as South Somerset District Council, along with said Brympton ward, will cease to exist next May; other district and borough councils where new unitary elections were held this May (i.e. Cumbria, now split between Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness, North Yorkshire, and Somerset) have already ceased holding by-elections for vacancies occurring on those councils.
20, 21 and 28 July
Now in the main holiday session, councils rarely schedule by-elections during late July or during August. The only significant events of note in this set of by-elections were two near-misses by the Liberal Democrats: one in Harbour, Morecambe, where the localist vote that normally goes to the Morecambe Bay Independents in Morecambe transferred to the Liberal Democrats readily, and in Penkridge North East and Acton Trussel, which in 2019 had seen two Conservative councillors elected unopposed, and which in fact has only seen one contested election since its creation in 2003. Recent by-elections have shown that the Conservatives remain complacent in heartlands such as South Staffordshire and Rutland.
Our breakthrough in Mole Valley was a highlight of this month, and we came disappointingly close to winning De Beauvoir ward, Hackney, for the very first time. The heatwaves that struck Britain on 20 and 21 July are a definite reminder of why we are needed, although they did not boost support for us to the extent they should have.