Archive for the 'By elections' Category

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Local By-Election Review : The 2017 – 2019 Parliament

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

When I started this, I, like most people, believed I would be tallying the local by-elections for October 2019. Now, I find myself publishing the data for every by-election in the 2017 – 2019 Parliament! And, aside from everything happening inside Westminster, what an eventful few years it has been in local by-elections. We’ve had Labour gaining seats from the United Kingdom Independence Party, Local Independents gaining seats from Labour and Conservatives, Greens gaining seats from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat gains from UKIP, Independent gains from Labour, SNP gains from Liberal Democrat and even some oxymorons in the form of Green gains from Independents, and an Independent gain from a local Independent!

All in all there have been over 500 local by-elections up and down the country since the last general election and how have those local by-elections come out:

Conservatives 278,329 votes (32% -5% on last time) winning 191 seats (-37 seats on last time)
Labour 256,801 votes (29% -1% on last time) winning 166 seats (-5 seats on last time)
Liberal Democrats 164,670 votes (19% +5% on last time) winning 100 seats (+47 seats on last time)
Independent and Local Independents 53,835 votes (6% -1% on last time) winning 44 seats (+6 seats on last time)
Green Party 42,729 votes (5% -2% on last time) winning 5 seats (+3 seats on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 15,655 votes (2% -7% on last time) winning 0 seats (-13 seats on last time)
Scottish National Party 31,400 votes (4% +1% on last time) winning 8 seats (+3 seats on last time)
Plaid Cymru 3,998 votes (0% unchanged on last time) winning 5 seats (+2 seats on last time)
Other Parties 30,242 votes (3% unchanged on last time) winning 15 seats (unchanged on last time)
Conservative lead of 21,528 votes (3%) on a swing of 2% from Con to Lab

Now, before all the Corbynites start chanting “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!” and start posting “LOCAL BY-ELECTIONS PROVE THAT LABOUR CAN WIN”, I feel I must inject a note of caution here. These local by-elections cover the WHOLE of the Parliament from June 2017 to October 2019 and that since the middle of 2018, there has been a distinct drop in Labour support. Case in point, just look at the last few months or so. Since August, the Conservative vote has gone up a tad (+0.82%), the Labour vote has collapsed (-9%) and the Liberal Democrat vote has shot up (+9%), so based on all that, if I was to make an estimate of the general election, I would say the following:

Conservatives 286 seats, Labour 222 seats, Liberal Democrats 66 seats, Scottish National Party 52 seats, Plaid Cymru 3 seats, Independents 2 seats, Green Party 1 seat, Northern Ireland Parties 18.

Which is of course a hung Parliament where both main parties are short of an overall majority (Con short by 40, Lab short by 104) meaning that the statements made by the SNP that they would only support a Labour lead government if they granted Scotland a second independence referendum and that the Liberal Democrats have ruled out any coalition agreement with either party, means that it is not without the realms of possibility that by the time I next do a review of the local by-elections in a Parliament, it would have been the same as reviewing the first quarter local by-elections of 2020.

Harry Hayfield



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If there is no General Election then Bassetlaw could be the next big electoral test

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

A Tory by-election gain would be in line with current polling numbers

Next week the LAB MP for Bassetlaw, John Mann is quiting as an MP to take up a government role fighting anti-semitism. He’ll be elevated to the House of Lords.

This means that there will be a vacancy which in the normal course of things should lead to a by-election most likely in December.

If the government doesn’t get its General Election motion through on Monday then when it is likely that the by-election would be called by Labour during the week and we could have an interesting fight in the sort of seat that the Tories need to be taking if they want to form the next government with a majority.

So far this Parliament Labour has been successful in fighting off by-election challenges as we saw in June in Peterborough. This is not a seat where that the Lib Dems would fancy their chances.

Given that Mann’s move has been known about for some time then no doubt the party machines are ready for the coming campaign.

My prediction – a LAB hold.

Mike Smithson




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If there’s no immediate General Election then the next big electoral test could be a Buckingham by-election

Monday, October 21st, 2019

John Bercow, as we all know, is due to step down as Speaker on October 31st coinciding with the article 50 deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU.

It has become customary, one of those unwritten parts of the constitution, for the outgoing Speaker to be elevated to a peerage and I guess  that will happen with Bercow.

What would make a by-election  hard to call is that the constituency has not seen a proper General Election fight with all the main parties contending it since 2005. The tradition has been that the main parties do not contest the Speaker’s seat which means that Bercow has had an easy time at three general elections he has fought while in the job.

At GE2010 in Buckingham Nigel Farage resigned his leadership of UKIP  to fight against Bercow but ended up finishing in a poor third place on only 17% of the vote. A pro-EU former CON MEP came second. On election day, it will be recalled,  Farage was in a small plane pulling a banner over the area which ended up crashing.

Because there has not been a proper general election contest there since 2005 it is hard to find a a past election result which is a good baseline. Then Bercow was returned with 57.4% of the vote with LAB on 19.9% and the Lib Dems on 19.7%.

Clearly if a general election looks highly likely to be called in early November than that would mean no by-election. But if there is no immediate General Election then my guess is that the writ will be issued almost immediately in early November with the by-election taking place in the week or so before Christmas.

At the referendum Buckingham voted REMAIN with 51.1% so it perhaps would be not good territory for the Brexit party’s Nigel Farage again. Labour did hold the seat with with the controversial publisher Robert Maxwell, as it’s MP from 1964 to 1970.

Assuming that there is no immediate General Election and this could be a very interesting battle.

Mike Smithson




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An overnight local election result that highlights how difficult it will be to call GE2019

Friday, September 27th, 2019

We’ve seen big movements in the polls in recent months with Farage’s and the LDs move forward very strongly the latter often near tripling their GE2017 GB vote share of 7.6%. The local by-election above shows how the LD resurgence is going to make general election predictions that much harder.

Swinson’s party will go into the election with the simplest of all positions on the big issue of the day and in seat after seat could take huge swathes of LAB and more particularly CON votes. The question that is hard to answer under FPTP is how this will impact on seats.

We often forget that between a fifth and a quarter of Tory votes were remainers while two thirds of LAB ones were. A Brexit-dominated general election is surely going to see the unambiguous pro-Remain party attract some of their votes.

The same goes on the other side with Farage’s party and the Leave vote. The latter’s challenge, however, is competing against the Tories given Johnson’s Brexit approach.

A BXP-CON deal is hampered by one very big factor – Dominic Cummings who, it will be recalled, is totally hostile to Farage. While he’s still working for the PM it is hard to see a CON-BXP deal being reached.

Another enormously complicating factor is what happens in the seats of the 21 CON MPs who were booted out of the party earlier in the month for not following the Johnson line on a crucial Commons vote. Some surely will stand again as independents and maybe in their seats the LDs, LAB and the Greens might either stand aside or not campaign hard giving them a clearer run. This has the potential to eat into CON seat totals.

Finally there are the Tory MPs in seats that were strongly for Remain. I plan to look at them in detail in a later post.

Mike Smithson


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A closer look at one of tonight’s local council by elections

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

James Blundell looks at tonight’s by election in Coventry.

Away from the hubbub in Westminster, there is the upcoming Wainbody ward by-election which is the southernmost ward in Coventry where I grew up and has historically been a very safe ward for the Conservatives. It is relatively affluent and firmly middle class, my estimate for the leave vote there would probably be 55-60 even though we have no definitive figures. Due to the passing of Gary Crookes, a well-liked councillor who has served for many years a by-election is scheduled for the 5th September.

Here are the results from last time, on 3rd May 2018:

Crookes Conservative 1867 51.4%

Jobbar Labour 1271 34.5%

Morshead LD 204 5.6%

Mcavoy-Boss Green 182 5.0%

Ireland UKIP 109 3.0%

There is no Green candidate running this time round, and I know the Lib Dems are making a real effort as my parents received their literature for the first time ever ! The Conservative candidate, Mattie Heaven assisted by fellow standing councillors John Blundell (Dad !) and Tim Sawdon has taken nothing for granted in the election. WM Mayor Andy Street has also assisted in the conservative campaign.

The Tory and Lib Dem literature acknowledges how well liked Gary Crookes was, and also focuses on opposition to development in Kings Hill. There is more of a national focus in the Lib Dem literature, on potential job losses through a no-deal Brexit (The candidate works at JLR), whereas the Tory literature sticks firmly to local issues. I have not seen either the Brexit or Labour literature as none has been delivered to my parents’ door.

I expect the ward to be a Conservative hold with Labour likely going backward as they have done in aggregate with all by-elections this year thus far. Can the Lib Dems or Brexit spring a surprise? Perhaps but I think it unlikely. The runners are Brexit, Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem.

James Blundell

 



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Local By-Election Summary : August 2019

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Votes Cast, % Share, Change in votes and Seats : August 2019
Liberal Democrats 6,218 votes (33.94% +5.23% on last time) winning 5 seats (+1 seat on last time)
Conservatives 5,362 votes (29.27% -2.66% on last time) winning 2 seats (-1 on last time)
Labour 2,951 votes (16.11% -10.04% on last time) winning 0 seats (-1 on last time)
Scottish National Party 1,582 votes (8.63% +2.88% on last time) winning 1 seat (unchanged on last time)
Local Independents 824 votes (4.50%) winning 1 seat (+1 on last time)
Green Party 779 votes (4.25% -0.05% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Independent candidates 333 votes (1.82%) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Brexit Party 163 votes (0.89%) winning 0 seats
United Kingdom Independence Party 68 votes (0.53% -1.88% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Other Parties 12 votes (0.07% -0.78% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Liberal Democrat lead of 856 votes (4.67%) on a swing of 3.95% from Con to Lib Dem

Summary of results
Liberal Democrats HOLD Hazel Grove on Stockport on a swing of 0.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats HOLD Godmanchester and Hemingford Abbots on Huntingdonshire on a swing of 2.5% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Liberal Democrats GAIN Claines on Worcester from Conservative on a swing of 2% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat
Conservatives HOLD Irthlingborough, Waterloo on East Northamptonshire on a swing of 7% from Conservative to Labour
Liberal Democrats HOLD Newnham on Cambridge on a swing of 17% from Labour to Liberal Democrat
Conservatives HOLD Meole on Shropshire on a swing of 13.5% swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats HOLD Rokeby and Overslade on Rugby on a swing of 4.5% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative
Local Independents (Radcliffe First) GAIN Radcliffe West on Bury on a notional swing of 33.5% from Labour to Radcliffe First
Scottish National Party HOLD East Kilbride Central North on the third count on a first preference vote swing of 10.5% from Labour to Scottish National Party

Compiled by Harry Hayfield



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

Sunday, 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



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If O’Mara does quit as an MP on September 3rd the ensuing by-election will be a backcloth in the build up to October 31st

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

The timing might not help BJohnson

The Sheffield Hallam MP, Jared O’Mara, has made it clear that as soon as the Commons returns from its summer break he will step down thus triggering what could be an interesting by-election in Nick Clegg’s old seat.

Labour are already throwing everything at defending their great victory there at GE2017 while a full LD by-election operation is already in place. Assuming that the by-election is called almost immediately, then polling day could coincide with the crucial European Council meeting that starts on Thursday October 17th.

Given that the best you can get on the LDs re-taking the seat is 1/14 then a likely victory by the strongest pro-EU party would send a powerful message to Brussels at what could be a critical moment. This might not be helpful to Mr. Johnson assuming he is still PM then.

Given that Hallam voted strongly 66-34 in favour of Remain in June 2016 the LDs will, unlike Brecon, be making Brexit the central theme of their campaign. The LAB effort looks set to be about the Lib Dem role in the coalition.

Now all this, particularly on dates is speculative. But if O’Mara does as he says he will then it is hard to see the by election not taking place in mid or late October.

Mike Smithson