Key points from the local government by-elections held in April 2017:
April saw the last by-elections prior to the County Council elections on 4th May, the majority of pending by-elections were pushed back to 4th May to coincide with the other polls already taking place.
On 6th April in Calderdale the Conservatives held their seat in the split Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward, which keeps up the pressure on Labour as a minority administration with the Conservatives only two seats behind. In Aylesbury Vale, UKIP lost a seat to the Lib Dems in what was a split ward between the two, but the Council remains solidly Conservative.
In Tendring in Essex the Conservatives took a seat from the Coastal Independents to keep them ahead of UKIP, albeit only by 24 seats to 22 on the District Council. The councillor causing the by-election had been elected as UKIP so this is the Conservatives stripping a seat away from UKIP in what was a possible early precis for the Essex County Council elections.
On 13th April the Conservatives took a seat from Labour in Middlesbrough and whilst the Council remains solidly Labour, to lose a seat in a previously safe ward was possibly a significant indicator of Labour struggling.
In March we noted the marginal ward by-election in the Kenton East ward of LB Harrow. The Conservatives took the seat after a 19.4% increase in their vote share with UKIP failing to even stand a candidate having taken 12% in 2014 on the same day as the EU elections. Labour remain in charge of the Council with a reduced three seat majority but the Conservatives are now only six seats behind (33-27) and will be targeting re-taking the Council in the London elections in 2018.
On the pending list for 4th May, there were 107 by-elections scheduled, which will be reported upon in the May by-election report.