Theresa May will be turning green quicker than her party’s council seats this morning as she hears the news of another by-election defeat.
The Tories last night lost their 16th council by-election defence since June’s general election in particularly embarrassing circumstances.
The latest capitulation came in the Bishops Frome and Cradley ward of the North Herefordshire constituency – where Brexiteer MP Bill Wiggin has a majority of over 21,000.
In May 2015, the Tories won the seat in a straight fight with the Greens by 1331 votes to 610.
But almost 40% of the people who had voted blue then abandoned the party yesterday in a by-election called because the former Tory councillor “intends to sail around the world with her husband”.
The Lib Dems were the main beneficiary, but the 13.9% vote increase for the Greens was enough to see them take the seat:
Here’s how the constituency looks before and after courtesy of @ElectionMapsUK:
Ellie Chowns won the seat for the Greens despite seeing the party’s vote squeezed when she contested Herefordshire North at the general election.
She came fourth with 2,771 votes, which was a 1.5% drop in vote share from the 2015 general election.
However, since June, the Greens have taken three council seats from the Tories.
They also twice overturned Tory majorities in September – in the Cannock Chase constituency, where the Tories have a 8,000 majority, and Lewes, a marginal held by Tory Maria Caulfield:
Those results came on the same night that the Tories lost another four council seats – three to Labour and one to an independent.
Since the general election, the Tories have also lost five council seats to both Labour and the Lib Dems and four more to independents.
By contrast the Tories have only taken 5 council seats in the same time – two from Labour, one Lib Dem, one UKIP and one independent.
The Tories have got more than one deficit they need to get under control…