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The early money goes on the LDs in Lewisham East

May 8th, 2018

The parliament’s first mainland by election in a seat that was 64.5% Repmain

We have waited a long time but now we have news of the first parliamentary by-election on the mainland since the last June’s General Election. The seat is Lewisham East which has been made vacant by the sitting MP, Heidi Alexander, resigning in order to take up a position with the mayor of London. She was a former shadow health secretary.

At the last election Alexander held the seat with a majority of a 21k while the Lib Dems lost their deposit. This is this is very solid territory for the party and it is hard to see anything other than a LAB hold.

But we do live in interesting times and with the equivocation of the Labour leadership on Brexit you just could envisage a speculative campaign by, say, the Lib Dems urging voters to send a message to the government and Mr. Corbyn about Brexit. On May 23rd 2016 64.5% of voters in Lewisham East cast their ballots for Remain.

Candidate selection will be crucial and a messy move by LAB to install, say, a Momentum backer has the potential to explode into a huge row within the Labour party.

The LDs are likely to be trying to develop an anti-Brexit related strategy which could give it some traction – but who knows?

Ladbrokes opened their betting with LAB a 1/50 chance and both the LDs and CON on 25/1. That’s subsequently moved to LAB 25/1, LD 12/1 and CON 33/1 suggesting that the early money has been on the yellows.

My guess is that Labour will try to call it as soon as possible in order to reduce the risks.

By-elections can be funny things because the government of the country is not at stake and we have seen some shocks in the past. Because this is in London it will get a lot of media attention.

Mike Smithson