No seats changed hands in byelections on 19 March, although the Labour Party’s hold of its seat at Pendlebury ward of Salford city council was significant given the closeness of the 2008 election there. There was no big move of votes in the byelection. The Conservatives held three seats easily: Chiltern Woods ward of South Oxfordshire district council, Leek East ward of Staffordshire Moorlands district council, and Larkswood ward of Waltham Forest borough council.
There was a full council election to the City of London common council on Monday. The City is a unique authority which is older even than Parliament, and it operates a form of business voting based on the number of employees. Unusually at this election there was a party contesting as the Labour Party nominated candidates; however none were elected. However, in Bishopsgate ward, only seven candidates were nominated for eight seats and so the vacancy will have to be filled later.
There are several councillor defections to report. Grace Bensted, elected as a Conservative from Coleford Central ward to Forest of Dean district council, is the most recent of several to have left the party to sit as an Independent. The breakaway councillors are reportedly in the process of forming a rival local political group. On Hounslow borough council, Andy Morgan-Watts of Hanworth ward has left the Liberal Democrats because he believes he can achieve more outside of mainstream party politics.
On Broxtowe borough council, Mel Crow of Cossall and Kimberley ward, who was elected as a Liberal Democrat but left the party last October, has now joined the Conservative group. Meanwhile Harold Moth of Fullwell ward on Redbridge borough council, who had left the Conservatives to sit as an Independent in 2008, has now returned to the Conservative fold.