Both byelections held this week resulted in very narrow holds for the party which previously held them. Wickersley ward in Rotherham borough council, which contains the S66 postcode found to be the ‘most average in Britain’, was held by Labour by 50 votes with a divided opposition. Pimhill ward of soon-to-be-abolished Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, where the Liberal Democrats forced a byelection to fill a vacancy the Conservatives were happy to leave, went to the Conservative candidate by 10 votes.
Although there are no defections to report, there is a fracture in the ruling coalition in Blackburn with Darwen council. The ‘For Darwen’ Party, angered by losing a vote on the precise wording of a referendum on Darwen town council, have withdrawn from the ruling Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition leaving control balanced on a knife-edge. If they are persuaded over to support a Labour administration (a big ‘if’), it could govern with the Mayor’s casting vote. An extraordinary meeting of the council has been called for next Thursday to resolve the situation.