From The Independent
By Chris Mead
Labour made two gains in the latest council by-elections but a UKIP surge served a warning to major parties amid the latest revelations in the MPs’ expenses scandal.
Liberal Democrats surrendered a Holmewood and Heath seat they had taken at North East Derbyshire District in 2008 when they failed to field a candidate.
Labour’s Lee Stone easily won in a straight fight with Tories.
The second gain came at Blackburn with Darwen Borough when Mustafa Desai triumphed at Queen’s Park where the previous councillor had been elected as a Lib Dem but later became independent.
Labour won another seat in the ward in the 2008 main polls.
UKIP shot from fourth place to second as Tories held on at Newchapel, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough, Staffordshire.
Earlier in the week Liberal Democrats scored a landslide victory at Whyteleafe, Tandridge District, Surrey.
They defended a seat in a ward in which Tories have another councillor.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough – Queens Park: Lab 638, Lib Dem 366, C 174. (May 2008 – Lab 756, Lib Dem 722). Lab gain from Ind. Swing 10.3% Lib Dem to Lab.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough – Newchapel: C 208, Ukip 148, Lab 138, Lib Dem 127. (May 2008 – C 416, Lab 220, Lib Dem 180, Ukip 127). C hold. Swing 10.4% C to Ukip.
North East Derbyshire District – Holmewood and Heath: Lab 373, C 209. (May 2007 – Lab unopposed; April 1O 2008 by-election – Lib Dem 382, Lab 356, C 165). Lab gain from Lib Dem.
Tandridge District – Whyteleafe: Lib Dem 444, C 236, Ukip 99. (May 2008 – C 526, Lib Dem 407, Lab 45). Lib Dem hold. Swing 19.4% C to Lib Dem.