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Conservatives and Lib Dems trade seats in latest council by-elections

The parties saw gains and losses in local polls.

Conservatives took two council seats from Liberal Democrats and one from independent in the latest local by-elections.

But Lib Dems countered by gaining a seat from Tories and one from Ukip.

Meanwhile Scottish Tories lost a seat to independent.

The Conservative victories over the Lib Dems came in a double contest in Dorset following the resignation of a Lib Dem as a county councillor as well as a district councillor.

Voting in the by-election in the Bridport division of Dorset County Council was: C 1,660, LD 1,451, Lab 691, Green 388. The turnout was 28.1%.

Voting in the contest in the Bridport North ward of West Dorset District Council was: C 600, LD 500, Lab 383, Green 184. Turnout 27.2%.

The Tory gain from independent was at North Kesteven (Eagle, Swinderby & Witham St Hughs ward) in a poll prompted by the resignation of an unaligned independent councillor.

Voting was: C 563, Lincs Ind 347, LD 64. Turnout 21%.

The Conservative defeat at the hands of Lib Dems came at Arun (Marine) in a by-election following the death of a Tory councillor.

Tories were pushed into third place by Labour.

Voting was: C 309, Lab 252, C 242, Ind 141. Turnout 20.1%.

The Tory loss to independent came at Scottish Borders (Selkirkshire) in a contest prompted by the resignation as a councillor of Conservative Michelle Ballantyne, Member of the Scottish Parliament for South of Scotland.

The poll used the single transferable vote (STV) voting system. First-preference voting figures were not immediately available from the council. Turnout was 45.1%.

Lib Dems gained a seat at West Somerset (Minehead South) in a poll following the resignation of a Ukip councillor who previously had been elected as independent. Ukip did not contest the seat.

Voting was: LD 318, C 291, Lab 125. Turnout 37.3%.

Elsewhere, Conservatives comfortably held three seats: at Boston (Old Leake & Wrangle ward), Lichfield (Stowe) and Hertfordshire (Goffs Oak & Bury Green).

Lib Dems easily held a seat at Chichester (Fishbourne).

In Wales, Labour comfortably held a seat at Torfaen (Trevethin).

Meanwhile, controversy raged over the cancellation of a by-election at Wigan following a court ruling the day before polling day.

Bryn ward independent councillor Steve Jones had given advance notice earlier this year of his intention to resign but later decided he wanted to withdraw it.

The council took the view his notice was effective and the by-election had to go ahead under the law but an injunction was granted after this was challenged in court.

The council said in a statement on Twitter that the cancellation of the poll was “disappointing” but it would not appeal against the ruling to save costs.

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