No. of Candidates
+/- 2nd Quarter
* There were no by-elections in Scotland
** There were three by-elections in Wales, only one of which was contested by Plaid Cymru
*** Please note there were two occasions where contests had more than one Independent candidate
**** 'Other' this month consisted of the National Front (108 votes) and the Socialist Party of Great Britain (11 votes)
Overall, 22,273 votes were cast over 17 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.
For clarification, holds/wins are the number of contests each party has won. The figure in brackets are their gains.
As I've noted on previous occasions, we're not really comparing like-for-like when it comes to setting one collection of by-election results against another. Contests vary greatly in location. You can have a clutch in safe Tory areas, a batch in traditional Labour areas, and so on. That's why from this month I have included a column that measures the monthly change in in a party's average vote. Where the change is drastic, as is the case with the Tory, UKIP and Green votes, chances are it reflects the characteristic variation of the wards being contested. Where there is less month-to-month change, it could either be that by-elections are randomly occurring in wards favourable to certain parties or, as time goes on, is more likely to suggest something stable about the figures yielded - especially when they tend to bear out opinion polling.
So, it's perhaps to early to say this suggests anything. For instance, while opinion polls have found that UKIP support is winding down for the moment, the simultaneous collapse in it and the average Tory vote this month could owe more to the variation of the wards contested rather than the phenomenon identified by the polls. If for the next few months the variation is small either way, then something greater than natural variation is being indicated.
On the minor party front, no BNP presence this month is welcome - as was noted last month they are being out-organised by TUSC. It's also worth noting that for a while now TUSC are the only far left organisation that consistently stands in by-elections. The votes are derisory but as with any new(ish) small party (though, of course, TUSC isn't a party) you need to stand when and wherever you can to familiarise yourselves with the electorate.