Lib Dems victorious in first by-elections up against Brexit Party

PUBLISHED: 08:26 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:33 26 July 2019

Jo Swinson is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Jo Swinson is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has failed to win council seats in its first attempt at fielding candidates in local by-elections - leaving the anti-Brexit party the Liberal Democrats victorious.

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The Lib Dem wins came in two wards of Gloucester Borough Council in the latest local polls.

They defeated Tories in a by-election in Barnwood ward following the death of a Conservative councillor.

The result saw the Lib Dems gain 676 votes, Conservatives 496 votes, Brexit Party 152 votes, Labour 64 votes, Greens 59 votes, and UKIP with just six votes.

The Lib Dems narrowly took a seat from Labour in a contest in Podsmead ward caused by the resignation of a Labour councillor.

Jo Swinson's party were just three votes ahead of Conservatives while Labour was pushed into third place.

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There the Lib Dems won 203 votes with the Tories on 200 votes, Labour on 122 votes, the Brexit Party on 111 votes, Greens on 29, and UKIP on 11.

Elsewhere, Labour narrowly won a seat at Hartlepool Borough Council in a by-election in Hart ward following the resignation of an independent councillor previously elected for Labour.

MORE: New leader, new hope: How Jo Swinson has energised the Lib Dems and terrorised Labour

Voting was 366 votes for Labour, 358 votes for the Independent Union, 196 votes for the Greens, 166 votes for For Britain and 114 votes for UKIP.

The Brexit Party, which topped the vote in the European Parliament election in the UK on May 23, did not field candidates in local elections in England on May 2, following its establishment in January.

The party failed to take a Commons seat in the Peterborough by-election won by Labour on June 6 but came second with 28.9% of the vote.

More than a dozen UKIP councillors are reported to have defected to the Brexit Party recently but the Gloucester contests saw the party's first attempt to win council representation through the ballot box.

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