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Part 2 of why the Tories should not fear Corbyn becoming PM in the foreseeable future

January 30th, 2018

CON MPs are not passing away at anything like the rate they used to

Given the tightness of Mrs. May’s parliamentary position one way that could get Corbyn close to number ten is if LAB could pick up seats off CON in by-elections.

There’s a good precedent. At GE1992 John Major surprised just about everyone by holding onto power with a majority of 20. Unfortunately for him that was not going to be enough and during the period of that Parliament 8 Conservative MPs died resulting in by elections all of which the party lost. Eight seats lost to opposition parties reduced Major’s majority by 16 to a theoretical four but that wasn’t enough to cope wit the EU splits within his own party and he eventually lost his majority.

The following parliament, 1997-2001 saw four by-elections caused by CON MPs dying. Since then, however CON MPs have been a remarkably healthy lot with just one by-election caused by a Tory MP’s death. In the same period well over 20 LAB MPs have died or had to step down because of illness.

Assuming this trend continues then Corbyn’s LAB cannot hope to make inroads at Westminster through gaining CON seats in by-elections. To win by-elections the first requirement is that there are vacancies and, no doubt, the party will do everything in its power to stop other MPs deciding to go for other reasons.

An area where Corbyn’s LAB might be concerned is evidence of eroding support is from the younger age groups. They are still very solidly for LAB but not quite in the same proportions as before. The oldies, meanwhile, remain solidly in Tory hands.

Labour under Corbyn is seen weak on the economy and almost always trails the Tories by several points when these question are asked.

A positive is that Corbyn continues to enjoy better personal ratings than May.

Mike Smithson