Lib Dems take council seat from Labour in latest local by-elections
Liberal Democrats defeated Labour to take a Sunderland Council seat in the latest local by-elections with a massively increased share of the vote.
The Lib Dem victory came in a contest in Pallion ward following the death of Labour councillor and council leader Paul Watson.
Voting was: LD 1,251, Lab 807, C 126, Ukip 97, Green 39. The turnout was 31.7%.
Lib Dems drew just 91 votes against Labour's 1,046 in the previous election in the ward in May 2016. A year before that, in the poll coinciding with the 2015 general election, Lib Dems had 134 to Labour's 1,804 when the seat in the by-election was last up for grabs.
Lib Dems increased their vote share from 2015 by more than 50 percentage points, from 3.7% to 53.9%. The swing from Labour to Lib Dem was 32.4%.
Meanwhile, in the only other council by-election taking place, Labour comfortably held a seat in the Falmouth Smithick division of Cornwall Council in a contest following the death of Labour councillor and former MP Candy Atherton.
She memorably became Falmouth & Camborne MP in Labour's general election landslide of 1997 when she defeated Tory incumbent Seb Coe (now Lord Coe).