* Scottish National Party contested all five Scottish local council by-elections.
** Plaid Cymru contested the two Welsh local council by-elections.
*** There were occasions where Independent candidates contested the same seats, hence percentage of contests given here are only indicative of the reach of this group of candidates.
**** 'Other' parties and organisations likewise clashed so the same above applies.
Overall, I make it that 260,800 votes were cast over 164 individual local (tier one and tier two) authority contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. For comparison see last quarter's results here.
Again, we're not comparing like-for-like here. Usually, there are no patterns to local council by-elections. One quarter they could all be clustered in safe Labour areas, in another leafy Tory shires. On this occasion there was a preponderance of the latter, most of which were contested on County Council day. But a couple of matters of wider significance remain.
Firstly, this reflects the UKIP surge. It stands to reason if you give a minor party media exposure disproportionate to its size, talk it up as the 'fourth party' and a home for disaffected Tory voters and anti-politics people, only a monumentally incompetent organisation could fail to to capitalise on it. Unfortunately, UKIP aren't as terminally stupid as the BNP and reap the opportunity it did. They have managed to sail past the LibDems in absolute number of votes, despite fielding 21 fewer candidates.
Speaking of the LibDems, they have not now won a by-election since 2nd May.
On the minor party front the collapsing BNP is reflected in the tiny number of contests they participated in. And for the first time in a long time the far left in the shape of TUSC have managed to out-organise them in the electoral arena.
Also interesting is the vote share decline of the independents. Not really a factor in Westminster elections they're often overlooked. But in local authority contests they are typically the repository of the none-of-the-above vote. Now UKIP have more or less cornered that market, at least where the media are concerned, I think it's fair to say the independents will now be permanently squeezed. That is until the populist sheen wears off.
From now on I'll be tracking by-election results monthly to see if trends can be discerned underneath it all, despite the usual caveats. It will also mean more stat porn.