Tories suffer a beating in council by-elections

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Conservatives suffered a beating in the largest round of council by-elections since the general election in June, losing seven of the nine seats they were defending and picking up just one.

Net change in councillors after local by-elections
Net change in councillors after local by-elections (PA Graphics)

Theresa May's party saw council seats tumble in Suffolk, Staffordshire, Cambridgeshire, Herefordshire, East Sussex and North Lanarkshire, losing three to Labour, two to Greens, one to Liberal Democrats and one to an Independent.

A total of 14 votes were held on Thursday in local authority areas across England and Scotland.

In Babergh District Council in Suffolk, Labour's Luke Cresswell seized the Sudbury South ward from Tories by a single vote, with a tally of 336 against 335 for his Conservative rival and 116 for Lib Dems.

In Cannock Chase, Tories lost the Hednesford Green Heath district council ward to Labour and Hednesford South to the Greens, but hung on to the Staffordshire county council seat of Hednesford and Rawnsley by a narrow margin of just 30 votes.

Results in Hednesford Green Heath were Lab 359, Con 301, Green 86, Chase Independent 42 and Ukip 29, while in Hednesford South the contest ended Green 513, Con 311, Lab 190 and Ukip 48.

Greens enjoyed another gain from Tories at the Ouse Valley and Ringmer ward of Lewes District Council in East Sussex. The full result was Green 835, Con 660, Lib Dem 457, Lab 167 and Ukip 38.

Liberal Democrats took the Ely South seat on East Cambridgeshire District Council after the resignation of a Conservative councillor to take up a post with the newly-created mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Results were Lib Dem 527, Con 411 and Lab 384.

Congratulations to Callum Robertson & team on a fantastic result! #WinningHerehttps://t.co/OPMQ8rhqwJ

-- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) September 8, 2017

And in the Golden Valley South ward of Herefordshire Council, Independent Peter Jinman took the seat from Tories with 462 votes against 254 for Conservatives, 152 for another Independent, 109 for Greens and 104 for Labour.

The only bright spot for Mrs May's party came in Colchester, Essex, where they won the borough council ward of Shrub End left vacant by the resignation of a Lib Dem councillor. Results were Con 681, Lab 572, Lib Dem 373, Ind 54, Ukip 52 and Green 34.

Elsewhere, Labour held on to wards in Glasgow, Croydon, Lancaster and Suffolk councils, while Tories held a seat in Peterborough, leaving them with exactly half of the city council's 60 members.