Number of Candidates
* There was one by-election in Scotland.
** There were three by-elections in Wales.
*** There were four independent clashes in June.
**** Others in July comprised of Patriotic Socialist (2), Blue (13), Tower Hamlets First (762, 744, 726), Mebyon Kernow (217), Liberal 121), Mebyon Kernow (58), It's Our County (835), English Democrats (20), and British Democrat (95).
Overall, 60,214 votes were cast over 40 local authority (tier one and tier two) contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. For comparison see June's results here.
Is that a catastrophic result for Labour? On the face of it, yes. With local authority contests, however, not all is as it seems. Whereas last month Labour polled 45% of the vote, it did so off the back of very favourable contests. This month it hasn't been the case, as you can see by the Tory result. Yet the Conservatives still lost seven councillors and Labour gained five. You can now see that all the talk of Labour winning the election next year but not the popular vote might have some legs. We shall see.
The LibDems return to their normal level of support after a very poor June. Though local council by-elections screw around with the two main party percentages a great deal, this is a certain consistency to this level of performance. Despite what the polls say the vote share here is a likely pointer to next year. And, at the risk of sticking my neck out, the same is true of UKIP. Nearly everyone seems to think UKIP's support is going to significantly backslide. Maybe. Then again, among the hardest of the hardcore voters their support levels have been consistent. Sure, these are second order elections and "don't matter" to the majority of people but it's evidence that a large section of the electorate are in the UKIP voting habit. The more you prefer one party in second order elections, the more likely they'll earn it for the general. So I'm going to stick my neck out. Next year UKIP will poll in excess of 10% on the basis of their local by-election performances.
It's worth keeping an eye on the Greens too. They've picked up another councillor this month and appear to be taking by-elections more seriously. Only five candidates behind the LibDems, might we see them overtake the yellow party in numbers of seats contested?
And the BNP have made an unwelcome reappearance with a pitiful vote. Still, their tally of 58 managed to outpoll the combined efforts of four TUSC candidacies. Give it up comrades, your perspectives are bunk and you're on a hiding to nothing.