The result in the South Shields by-election, sparked by David Miliband’s exit from parliament, was never in doubt, but while the Liberal Democrats were left humiliated and without their deposit in seventh place there were worrying signs for Ed Miliband too.
With council elections taking place yesterday too, although most votes not being counted until this morning, the slump in the Lib Dem vote could be telling.
Labour’s candidate Emma Lewell-Buck beat UKIP’s Richard Elvin by 6,505 votes to win with 12,493, but worrying for Labour’s leader the party’s share of the vote was down by 1.51%.
The Tories were relegated into third place by behind the Euro sceptic UKIP. For David Cameron though there was some solace in that while the party’s share was down by 10% it still took 11.55% of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats managed just 352 votes or 1.42% of the vote. Its share was down almost 13%. They finished behind the BNP and several independent candidates and only just beat the Howling Laud Hope of the Loony’s.
Voters went to the polls in 34 council contests across England, plus the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, but only six councils – Lincolnshire, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire – were counted overnight.
According to the BBC and a sample of key wards last night UKIP had averaged 26% of the vote across these elections.