Lib Dems in Broadland, a seat already identified as a target seat at the next general election for the Lib Dems, are celebrating after winning the Aylsham County Council by-election by an astonishing margin.
Norfolk CC, AylshamLD David Harrison 1696 (60.6; +23.2), Con 854 (30.5; -6.4), Lab 177 (6.3; -19.4), UKIP 71 ( 2.5; +2.5).Majority 842. Turnout 39.0%. LD hold. Last fought 2005.
The seat, which was something of a surprise gain in 2005 when the Lib Dems won it by less than 20 votes from the Tory deputy leader of the county council, now has a thumping majority of 842 votes, and is a fitting tribute to Graham Rix, the Lib Dem who won and nurtured the seat since 2005, who sadly died recently.
This result will be a fillip for the Lib Dems in Broadland too. Aylsham was the scene of the Tories only gain from the Lib Dems in Broadland in the District Council elections in May this year when the Lib Dems lost one seat in the town by less than 10 votes.
it should certainly make Tory MP Keith Simpson sleep a little less easily for a few days and should be a big boost to Lib Dem PPC April Pond and her growing team of activists.
Having been involved in a key County Council by-election in Holt (North Norfolk) 18 months before the 2001 election, in similar circumstances (the Tories had one a seat of the Lib Dems in Holt narrowly just months before in the local elections), a result like this can really drive you on for the next 18 months and shows that despite national polls (although I gather ICM have the Lib Dems on 23%), it is local campaigning that decides so many seat, not national polls.