Luke Akehurst: The blunt truth – Labour’s vote has fallen in most parts of Britain

Luke Akehurst


At the end of September and in March this year and December 2015 I reviewed Labour’ s performance in local council by-elections.

What’s happened on this front since the leadership election result and annual conference?

Here, in the same format as I presented them previously, is the change in Labour vote share in all the council by-elections where there has been a Labour candidate in the last two contests (so a comparison can be drawn) since annual conference. The results are grouped by region so you can see the pattern around the country.

As in my previous reviews there are stark regional variations.

Labour’s average vote share is improving strongly in London and to a lesser extent the North West, and marginally in the North and the single Yorkshire by-election i.e. in Labour’s historically strongest English regions, but is falling in the other seven nations and regions. The gap between the best performing and worst performing regions seems to have widened.

However, of a total of 68 by-elections during this period Labour’s vote share was down in 43 of the contests, which is broadly comparable to the pattern earlier this year.

Eastern (average Labour vote share down 9.1 per cent)

Bumpstead (Braintree)                                -10.2 per cent

Clarence (St Albans)                                   -5.2 per cent

Haldens (Welwyn Hatfield)                                    -6.9 per cent

Heacham (King’s Lynn)                             -21.9 per cent

Hitchin Oughton (North Hertfordshire)    -17.4 per cent

Misterton (Harborough)                              -1.6 per cent

Moreton Hall (St Edmundsbury)               -15.4 per cent

Witham North (Braintree)                           +6.1 per cent


East Midlands (average Labour vote share down 11.8 per cent)

Grange Park (South Northamptonshire)             -3.5 per cent

Rothwell (Kettering)                                                -6.7 per cent

Warsopp Carrs (Mansfield)                                    -25.3 per cent


London (average Labour vote share up 8.9 per cent)

Brockley (Lewisham)                                   +8.1 per cent

Eltham North (Greenwich)                         +9.3 per cent

Evelyn (Lewisham)                                      0 per cent

Hoxton West (Hackney)                              +11.6 per cent

Queenstown (Wandsworth)                       +14.3 per cent

St Ann’s (Haringey)                                     +12.3 per cent

Whitechapel (Tower Hamlets)                   +6.5 per cent


North (average Labour vote share up 0.8 per cent)

Blakelaw (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)                        -25.7 per cent

Castle (Carlisle)                                           +9.0 per cent

Central (Middlesbrough)                            +37.7 per cent

Headland & Harbour (Hartlepool)             -17.7 per cent


North West (average Labour vote share up 4.7 per cent)

Burnley Central East (Lancashire)           +10.7 per cent

Higher Croft (Blackburn)                            +12.1 per cent

Reedley (Pendle)                                         -7.6 per cent

Rumworth (Bolton)                                      +4.6 per cent

University & Scotforth Rural (Lancaster)             -0.5 per cent

Westgate (Lancaster)                                  +9.1 per cent


Scotland (average Labour vote share down 9.2 per cent)

Annadale North (Dumfries & Galloway)  -8.2 per cent

Arbroath East (Angus)                                -6.0 per cent

Carnoustie (Angus)                                     -1.8 per cent

Culloden and Ardersier (Highland)          -9.4 per cent

Garscadden (Glasgow)                               -22.8 per cent

Inverurie (Aberdeenshire)                          -9.1 per cent

Leven, Kennoway & Largo (Fife)              -6.9 per cent


South East (average Labour vote share down 1.1 per cent)

Basing (Basingstoke & Deane)                 -2 per cent

Central Sandhurst (Bracknell Forest)      +10.5 per cent

Collington (Rother)                                      +0.1 per cent

Darwell (Rother)                                           -0.6 per cent

Fair Oak & Horton Heath (Eastleigh)       -4.1 per cent

Kingswood with Burgh Heath (Reigate)  -3.3 per cent

Limpsfield (Tandridge)                                -5.8 per cent

Rainham Central (Medway)                       -2.9 per cent

Southwater (Horsham)                               -2.1 per cent

Sovereign (Eastbourne)                             0 per cent

Strood South (Medway)                              +3.4 per cent

Swanley (Kent)                                            -8.9 per cent

Swanley Christchurch & Village (Sevenoaks) +2.3 per cent

Tadley South (Basingstoke & Deane)     +1.5 per cent

Trench (Tunbridge Wells)                          +1.1 per cent

Valley (Tandridge)                                       -7.3 per cent


South West (average Labour vote share down 6.4 per cent)

Abbey (Bath & North East Somerset)       -4.9 per cent

Bovey (Teignbridge)                                    -7.4 per cent

Chudleigh (Teignbridge)                            -8.8 per cent

Ferndown (Dorset)                                      -6.1 per cent

Longlevens (Gloucester)                            -8.2 per cent

Turn Hill (South Somerset)                                    +0.7 per cent

Wey Valley (Weymouth & Portland)         -9.8 per cent


Wales (average Labour vote share down 8.6 per cent)

Abergele Pensarm (Conwy)                      -0.7 per cent

Blaengwrach      (Neath Port Talbot)     -25.1 per cent                                           

Gibbonsdown (Vale of Glamorgan)          -2.2 per cent

Gilfach (Caerphilly)                                     -28 per cent

Grangetown (Cardiff)                                  -3.1 per cent

Rhyl West (Denbighshire)                         -2.4 per cent

Risca East (Caerphilly)                               +1.6 per cent


West Midlands (average Labour vote share down 7.5 per cent)

Horsehay & Lightmoor (Telford & Wrekin) +20.5 per cent

Madeley (Newcastle-under-Lyme)            -35.5 per cent


Yorkshire & Humberside (average Labour vote share up 0.6 per cent)

St Mary’s (East Riding of Yorkshire)        +0.6 per cent

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