I will soon be posting our story of the Swale Council, Kemsley by-election campaign - which concluded yesterday - but here is the result.
Mike Whiting (Conservative) - 384 - 33.7% (-16.6%)
Richard Raycraft (Labour) - 312 - 27.3% (-0.5%)
Derek Carnell (UKIP) - 279 - 24.5% (+10.5%)
Berick Tomes (Liberal Democrat) - 166 - 14.5% (+6.6%)
Some points which immediately jump out.
1. All four parties worked very hard on this by-election. However the turnout was extremely disappointing - over three out of four could not be bothered to vote. The winner was chosen by less than 9%!
2. Labour were, by far, the busiest party - they were out leafleting and canvassing in the cold and snow, and had large teams of activists from all over the south east. I was impressed by the bodies they got out on the streets. However, they must be very disappointed by the fact that their share of the vote barely moved.
3. A fall in the Conservative share was expected - but this was almost a collapse. The swing to UKIP was 13.5% - which must give the Tories some cause for concern, especially considering they were reluctantly forced into some activity.
4. UKIP are probably the happiest - a surprising but good result which stands well for the continuing development of their local party.
5. As for us, I was disappointed to remain 4th, with an excellent local candidate and a hard working team. One consolation is that, like UKIP, we increased our share of the vote and ate into the share of the Tory vote, which is a good sign for Tory-Lib Dem marginals throughout the country.
My own involvement was somewhat limited by ill health and other commitments but I did find time for much activity. Also canvassing remained a pleasure with some mixed responses on the doorstep. More soon.