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Boris Johnson PM : His first electoral tests – the local by-elections

August 25th, 2019

Analysis from Harry Hayfield

Many people have said the reason why Boris Johnson was elected Conservative leader, and Prime Minister, was to stop one thing and one thing alone from happening, and that one was Conservative voters flooding to the Brexit Party and following his consistent statements of “We are leaving on October 31st 2019” local by-elections since his election do seem to indicate that is precisely what has happened.

Now, I will admit there have only been eight local by-elections in that month since Boris’s election and yes, the majority of them have been in Liberal Democrat defences, but for the first time in a very long time the Conservatives are unchanged in those local by-elections compared to last time (which Conservatives will hail as a triumph) especially in the context that between her announcing her resignation and actually resigning, Theresa May oversaw a 7% drop in vote share and a net loss of two seats.

So if the Conservative slump has been stopped, then where are the votes going? Well, the simple answer is from Labour to Liberal Democrat. In those local by-elections, Labour’s vote share is down 10% and the Liberal Democrat vote share is up 11%, and when you add in UKIP (-6%), Green (+3%), Ind (-1%) and Others (+4%), it is clear that those parties committed to a REMAIN position are polling 46% (compared to 32% last time (+14%) and those parties committed to a LEAVE position are polling 37% (compared to 39% last time) so therefore the most obvious answer in the world is “Labour, take a REMAIN stance and declare such a stance so that everyone understands where you are coming from!” but have they?

Podsmead on Gloucester
Lib Dem 203 (30%), Con 200 (30% -18%), Lab 122 (18% -34%), Brexit 111 (16%), Green 29 (4%), UKIP 11 (2%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Labour on a notional swing of 32% from Lab to Lib Dem

Newnham on Cambridge
Lib Dem 774 (59% +16%), Lab, 235 (18% – 18%), Green 149 (11% +1%), Con 143 (11% unchanged)
Liberal Democrat HOLD on a swing of 17% from Lab to Lib Dem

And people wonder why Labour are tying with the Liberal Democrats in the national polls?

Harry Hayfield