UK Politics

By-elections: Another bad night for the Lib Dems

Lib Dem activists in Corby
Image caption Lib Dem activists in Corby had a night to forget

The results of Thursday's elections make grim reading for the Liberal Democrats.

There was a time when by-elections were a speciality of the Liberal Democrats.

They enjoyed a string of famous by-election victories, snatching seats in Newbury, Eastleigh and Dunfermline West.

Of course all that was before they went into government.

In Corby they came fourth behind the UK Independence Party and lost their deposit.

Their candidate, Jill Hope, admitted it was a setback but put it down to the "hard and unpopular decisions" the coalition government had been forced to make to tackle the economic mess it inherited.

Even before the result was announced the Lib Dem President Tim Farron said his party was bound to get squeezed in a mid-term contest in a marginal seat.

They did come second in the Manchester Central by-election, but their candidate Marc Ramsbottom saw a 17% swing against his party and mustered just 1,571 votes.

In Cardiff, the Lib Dems came third after another slump in their vote.

In the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners, in England and Wales, the party did little better.

The Lib Dems came fourth behind UKIP in Wiltshire and Northumberland and fourth behind an independent in Merseyside.

In South Yorkshire, Nick Clegg's backyard, the party came fifth behind both UKIP and the English Democrats.

As we have reported, the turnout was very low, but Lib Dems are supposed to be good at local campaigning, getting their supporters out.

Party morale has suffered another serious blow.