Liberal Democrats have celebrated a by-election gain from the Conservatives but crashed to defeat by Labour in a second contest.
Lib Dem candidate Nick Gregory won Fareham BC’s West ward on a big swing since May’s main polling, which were on the same day as the general election. But this much-needed boost to party morale was blunted by Labour’s triumph at Bewsey and Whitecross in Warrington BC, where Jeff Richards gained the seat with more than 70% of the vote.
This result, unlike that at Fareham, had been expected after Labour comfortably won another ward seat in May. Labour needs just one gain to take overall control of Warrington.
This is the latest of a run of poor Liberal Democrat results in urban areas of the north-west, where a new year parliamentary election looms at Oldham East and Saddleworth.
There were few crumbs of comfort for the Tories at Bewsey and Whitecross, where they took barely 7% in the marginal Warrington South constituency, which they gained in the general election.
Fareham BC - Fareham West: Lib Dem 933, C 687, Lab 124, Ukip 93, Green 35. (May 2010 - C 2526, Lib Dem 858, Lab 423, Ukip 283).
Lib Dem gain from C. Swing 26.9% C to Lib Dem.
Warrington BC - Bewsey and Whitecross: Lab 1032, Lib Dem 221, C 118, Green 47, Ind 33. (May 2010 - Lab 2132, Lib Dem 1276, C 612).
Lab gain from Lib Dem. Swing 17.3% Lib Dem to Lab.