There was just one by-election taking place this week and it was for the Old Catton division, Norfolk County Council. The vacancy arose following the resignation of Conservative Councillor Stuart Dunn for reasons unknown. Dunn won comfortably in 2009 as the other parties split the rest of the vote quite evenly, and the Tories' comfortable victory in the identical Broadland DC ward just 2 months ago confirmed that they were unlikely to lose this by-election.
It therefore came as not surprise that Judy Leggett held the seat for the Conservatives but the victory margin of 250 votes was smaller than expected, as was the party that margin was over. The Liberal Democrats came third behind UKIP here in 2009 and although the anti-EU party were unlikely to repeat that performance in this by-election Labour looked set to establish themselves as the main opposition to the Conservatives in Old Catton. They easily came second ahead of the Lib Dems in the Old Catton & Sprowston West ward in May but Labour were pushed back to third on Thursday, despite increasing their vote share by 10% from the 2009 election.
Thursday's result represented a 12.4% increase in the Liberal Democrats vote share from the last County Council election but, more impressively, it was a 12.5% rise from this year's District Council election. In contrast Labour's vote share fell by almost 5% despite the fact they had Shadow Cabinet members campaigning for them. The Tories also suffered from the strong Lib Dem performance but they still held the seat comfortably. They also enjoy a large majority on the County Council with the next full Council elections due to take place in 2013.
Old Catton (Norfolk)
Judy Leggett (E)
*Changes from 2009