Lib Dems win council seats from Tories and Labour in boost for new leader Jo Swinson
The Lib Dems have taken seats off the Conservatives and Labour as the party continues to build on recent success in national elections.
In a boost for new leader Jo Swinson, the party defeated their rivals in two local council wards.
But the Brexit Party failed to make a breakthrough after standing council candidates for the first time.
Both by-elections were for seats on Gloucester borough council and appear to be further evidence of voters turning to the Lib Dems at the expense of the main parties.
In the Barnwood ward, where the sitting Tory councillor had died, the Lib Dems beat their rivals by nearly 200 votes, with the Brexit Party third and Labour fourth.
And in Labour-held Podsmead, where the sitting councillor had resigned, the Lib Dem candidate beat their Tory rival by just three votes. Labour was pushed into third place, just ahead of the Brexit Party.
In the only other council by-election on Thursday night, in Hartlepool, Labour regained Hart ward after beating an Independent Union candidate by eight votes.
The results come amid increasing speculation about a snap election, and as Jeremy Corbyn puts Labour on a war footing following Boris Johnson's election as Prime Minister.
Earlier this year, the Lib Dems gained hundreds of seats in May's local elections, and also beat Labour into third place in the European election.
Speaking at a rally in Parliament Square on Thursday demanding a general election, Mr Corbyn said: "This Prime Minister wasn’t chosen by the people, he was chosen by fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Tory Party members.
“You deserve your say. Whether that’s in a public vote on Brexit or in a General Election, so everyone has the chance to decide the future of our country.
“The choice will be between Johnson’s divisive government for the wealthy few – and a radical Labour government that will bring the country together and deliver for the many.”