Archive for the 'By elections' Category


Gloomy local by-election news for LAB in the week a General Election was called

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Blacon on Chester West and Chester (Lab defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Labour 1,556 (59% +1%), Conservative 574 (22% +4%), Independent 434 (16%, no candidate at last election), Liberal Democrat 70 (3%, no candidate at last election)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 982 (37%) on a swing of 1.5% from Lab to Con (notional swing of 1% from Lab to Lib Dem, 0.5% from Lib Dem to Con)

Kenton East on Harrow (Lab defence, death of sitting member)
Result: Conservative 1,585 (52% +19%), Labour 1,328 (44% +1%), Liberal Democrat 65 (2%, no candidate at last election), United Kingdom Independence Party 54 (2% -9%)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 257 (8%) on a swing of 9% from Lab to Con (notional swing of 8.5% from Lib Dem to Con, 0.5% from Lab to Lib Dem)

Monthly Summary: April 2017
Conservatives 5,303 votes (39% +6% on last time) winning 5 seats (+3 seats on last time)
Labour 4,137 votes (31% -2% on last time) winning 1 seat (-2 seats on last time)
Liberal Democrats 2,189 votes (16% +5% on last time) winning 2 seats (+1 seat on last time)
Green Party 778 votes (6% +1% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Independents 752 votes (6% -1% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 339 votes (3% -9% on last time winning 0 seats (-2 on last time)
Conservative lead of 1,166 votes (8%) on a swing of 4% from Lab to Con
Liberal Democrat swings: Lib Dem to Con of 0.5%, Lab to Lib Dem of 3.5%


Two local by-elections tonight – both LAB defences

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Blacon on Chester West and Chester (Lab defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 38, Conservatives 36, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 3,579, 3,349, 3,119 (58%)
Conservatives 1,109, 979, 941 (18%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,054, 1,037, 805 (17%)
Green Party 482, 303, 227 (8%)
EU Referendum Result (2016): REMAIN 95,455 (49%) LEAVE 98,082 (51%) on a turnout of 75%
Candidates duly nominated: Steve Ingram (Ind), Jack Jackson (Con), Lizzie Jewkes (Lib Dem), Ben Powell (Lab)
Weather at the close of polls: Cloudy but dry, 12°C
Estimate: Labour HOLD (Lab 57%, Con 24%, Lib Dem 14%, Ind 5%)

Kenton East on Harrow (Lab defence, death of sitting member)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 34, Conservatives 26, Independents 2, Liberal Democrat 1 (Labour majority of 5)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,695, 1,561, 1,550 (43%)
Conservatives 1,310, 1,200, 1,178 (33%)
Independents 534, 459, 377 (13%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 453 (11%)
EU Referendum Result (2016): REMAIN 64,042 (55%) LEAVE 53,183 (45%) on a turnout of 72%
Candidates duly nominated: Annabel Croft (Lib Dem), Herbert Crossman (UKIP), Nitesh Hirani (Con), N Patel (Lab)
Weather at the close of polls: Cloudy but dry, 12°C
Estimate: Too close to call (Lab 37%, Con 32%, Lib Dem 21%, UKIP 10%)


The canvas data that proved to be spot on in Richmond suggests Labour could be in trouble in Manchester Gorton

Monday, April 17th, 2017

At Richmond Park the LD numbers understated their position

For all the speculation on Labour’s polling collapse there’s only one thing that really matters – how the party performs in actual elections and the first real test of that is May 4th which includes, of course, the Manchester Gorton by-election where they are defending a majority of 24k.

On the face of it Gorton looks impregnable but is it? The Lib Dems have published their latest canvas data for the seat which had them on 31% to LAB’s 51%.

Before you dismiss party canvas data remember what happened when the LDs published similar data ahead of last December’s Richmond Park by-election. This was treated with a high degree of scepticism at the time yet as the chart shows it was extraordinarily predictive of what was going to happen. Those who backed Zac at very tight odds lost.

In Richmond the LD’s main challenge was to attract LAB tactical voters – a task made easier by the way Zac had conducted his London mayoral campaign seven months earlier. The yellows wanted LAB voters to be in no doubt that they could defeat Zac by switching to the LDs and we had the bizarre experience of seeing LAB pick up fewer votes than members in the constituency.

In Manchester Gorton there is a very different challenge – simply trying to get over the fact that they can be credible in a seat where at GE2015 they lost their deposit coming in fifth place with just 4.2% of the vote. The more the battle is portrayed as between red and yellow the greater LD hopes can be.

    The 51-31 LAB-LD split is dramatically closer than at GE2015 and suggests a high degree of momentum. An LD victory while not being probable is now starting to look possible

Previous by-election experience is that we can expect a high degree of narrowing between the contenders seen to be in the final two during the close of the campaign. Could, for instance, many of the 9.7% GE2015 CON voters decide that their vote is best used creating another awful embarrassment for Labour?

We can expect more such canvas data releases the LDs.

The current betting value is with the LDs who are are 4/1 or 5/1.

Mike Smithson


Latest locals: CON gains from LAB in Middlesbrough but makes heavy weather against the Greens in Dorset

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Coulby Newham on Middlesbrough (Lab defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Conservatives 501 (38% +12%), Labour 468 (35% -3%), Independent 318 (24% +1%), Green Party 32 (2%, no candidate at last election)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 33 (3%) on a swing of 7.5% from Lab to Con

Piddle Valley on West Dorset (Con defence, resignation of sitting member)
Result: Conservative 303 (61% -8%), Green Party 195 (39% +19%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 108 (22%) on a swing of 13.5% from Con to Green

Compiled by Harry Hayfield


The LDs go for the jugular against Corbyn in Manchester Gorton

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

An attack also designed for Remainers

Above is a brutal Lib Dem leaflet that is going out in Manchester Gorton where the by-election takes places on May 4th.

The party which used to hold all but two of the council seats in the seat believes it is in with good chance of getting a good result and is throwing a lot at the campaign.

Corbyn’s ambivalence over Brexit was always a vulnerability and neither helps the party with leavers or remainers. My own view is that the red team has read too much into the data that had Leave the winners in two thirds of its MPs seats. Those wanting to stay in the EU are much more fired up than those who back Leave.

If the LD leaflet appears brutal then think how the Tories will exploit the LAB leader’s history and that of his shadow chancellor, John McDonnell. Their back stories have so many hostages to fortune.

Mike Smithson


The Tory GE2015 expenses probe could have been the reason that the party’s been polling the LD seats it gained

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

The blue team taking precautionary measures in case of possible by-elections?

Last week there were a number of stories sparked off first by George Eaton in the New Statesman about a series of private Crosby Textor polls that the Tories are said to have commissioned in many of the 27 seats that were gained from the LDs at GE2015.

The reported polling results suggested that the Tories would struggle to hold onto all but a small handful of them. The hugely successful message that the Crosby campaign used at GE2015 about not letting in a Miliband government that was in hock to Alex Salmond was not now relevant and the Tories would find it hard to develop a new message with anything like the same potency.

The assumption was that Tories had carried out the polling ahead of a possible early election and this was merely scoping the ground.

    Now PB is being told that the reason for polling these seats was nothing to do with that but out of worries about where the expenses probe, first highlighted by Channel 4 News, was going.

If these went to court it is possible that some GE2015 seat outcomes could be discarded and there would have to be fresh elections in the constituencies. Mrs May’s majority is so small that it wouldn’t take many such losses for that to be wiped out.

Decisions on the next stage of the probe are expected soon from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Mike Smithson


In the local by-elections since last May the parties supported mostly by REMAINERs have performed best

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Mike Smithson


It is organisation more than BREXIT that is driving the Lib Dem resurgence

Friday, April 7th, 2017

The latest local by elections with an LD gain from UKIP on a whopping 26% swing top off what has been a good week for the LDs. Firstly there have been the Rallings/Thrasher and Lord Robert Hayward May elections’ projection suggesting that the yellows are in for a substantial number of gains on May 4th.

In addition to that we have had news of the private Crosby Textor constituency polling for the Tories suggesting that the party is set to win back a the bulk of the seats lost in the South West and Greater London that were lost to the Tories at GE2015.

That information is, of course, private, but PB sources have it that all but three or four of the seats could be back in LD hands at the next election and we know that it is Tory MPs who made gains last time who are most opposed to an early general election.

But to assume that this is all down to BREXIT is being simplistic. There are other factors at play as James Kirkup in the Spectator describes:

“…But while Brexit may motivate many Lib Dems, my hunch is that what matters at least as much is something generally overlooked by us chattering Westminster types: organisation.

Part of the reason some Tories are quietly concerned about the Lib Dems is that the Lib Dems are quite good at not just recruiting people to their cause but deploying them on the ground. Pavement-pounding and leaflet-dropping have always been a central part of the Lib Dem experience, along with Glee Club and misleading bar-charts. That makes them tough local opponents.It’s no exaggeration to say that the Lib Dems’ ground-level resurgence is a bigger check on Tory thoughts of an early election than all those Corbynistas liking each other’s posts on Facebook..”

A big test of that organisation will come in the Manchester Gorton by-election which is also being held on May 4th. This is a seat where pre-Coalition they were a good second on 30%+ of the vote. With Labour supporters apparently demoralised by their leader and the threat posed by George Galloway then a good LD result could on the cards. The 6/1 currently available on Betfair looks like a value bet.

Mike Smithson