Only two seats changed hands at byelections on 9 October, and one of them was handed over without a fight. The Liberal Democrats gained St George West ward on Bristol city council from Labour. The Conservatives gained Middle Rasen ward on West Lindsey district council from the Liberal Democrats, after the party failed to nominate a candidate in a confusion over the deadline.
There have been two recent defections to note. On Copeland borough council, Robin Pitt (member for Newtown ward in Millom) has joined the Labour Party 18 months after he was elected as a Conservative. For those with long memories, Cllr Pitt was for six months in 1982 the leader of a minority Conservative administration on Lambeth borough council, interrupting the rule of “Red Ted” Knight briefly after Labour lost its majority in the 1982 council elections. He now says that the Conservative Party is in need of “political viagra”.