Number of Candidates
* There were three by-elections in Scotland
** There were six by-elections in Wales
*** There were five Independent clashes this month
**** Others for October were Scottish Libertarian (20), Llais Gwynedd (112 & 49), People First (58), Epsom Resident's Association (591)
Overall, 33,957 votes were cast over 22 local authority (tier one and tier two) contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. Ten council seats changed hands in total. For comparison with October's results, see here.
As the results tumbled in over the course of this month, it was looking very grim for Labour. Indeed, up until the final round of by-elections yesterday the party was trailing behind the LibDems. Can this be taken as an early indicator on Jeremy Corbyn's performance in front of the electorate? It's tempting to say yes, but the answer has to be 'don't know'. First off, the gap between Labour and the Conservatives remains relatively narrow. And second, both vote shares have been hugely depressed by the freakish characteristics of this month's contest.
The improving LibDem numbers have a role, but there were also four contests that saw neither a Tory or Labour presence, which is most unusual to say the least. As long-time followers of the by-election round-up know, the Tories put more effort in than other parties to stand everywhere. Combine that with a few seats where local independents polled exceedingly strongly, and a bucket load of by-elections in Wales makes for a weird month. Still, coming third isn't going to warm many Labour hearts.
Once again, UKIP are caught slipping. Hard to think they once consistently polled as well in local by-elections as they did in national polling. Of course, their depressed vote is as affected by the weird contests as everyone else, but that trend is definitely pointing downwards. Will they recover?