Archive for the 'By elections' Category

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Bercow going in the summer opens the way for a Buckingham by-election

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

The yellows must fancy their chances in this Remain seat

The news that John Bercow is bowing to the inevitable and planning to stand down in the summer opens up the prospect of what could be a humdinger of a by-election. For it is hard seeing him continuing as an MP when he ceases to be Speaker.

There is a tradition of outgoing Speakers not staying around in the House and such a move by Bercow would follow recent precedents. His immediate predecessor, Michael Martin, quit as an MP and no doubt Berow would follow suit.

    This opens up the likelihood of the contest in a constituency that went for Remain at the Brexit referendum by 51.4% to 48.6%.

I’d imagine that this is one where the LDs will fancy their chances. All the analysis of GE2017 finds that the yellows did best in constituencies that voted for Remain.

What is intriguing is that there is no main party past voting history in Buckingham for the past three general elections so there’s noting since 2005 that we can use for comparison purposes. The custom is for LAB, CON and the LDs not to contest the Speaker’s seat at general elections.

At GE2010 Nigel Farage stood against Bercow there and was pushed into third place by a former pro-EU CON MEP, John Stevens who ran a campaign that relied heavily on LD activists.

Let the betting begin.

Mike Smithson




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Local By-Election Summary : August 2018

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Conservatives 6,874 votes (33% -6% on last time) winning 7 seats (-1 on last time)
Labour 6,203 votes (30% +1% on last time) winning 3 seats (-1 on last time)
Liberal Democrats 5,202 votes (25% +12% on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 on last time)
Independent candidates 1,887 votes (9% +2% on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 on last time)
Green Party 427 votes (2% -3% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
UKIP 298 votes (1% -5% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Plaid Cymru 73 votes (0% +0% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Conservative lead of 671 votes (3%) on a swing of 3.56% from Con to Lab

August 2017 – August 2018
Conservatives 149,231 votes (35% +2% on last time) winning 114 seats (-27 on last time)
Labour 134,799 votes (32% +6% on last time) winning 93 seats (+5 on last time)
Liberal Democrats 71,847 votes (17% +7% on last time) winning 46 seats (+26 on last time)
Green Party 18,718 votes (4% -2% on last time) winning 4 seats (+4 on last time)
Independent candidates 17,395 votes (4% -1% on last time) winning 12 seats (+1 on last time)
Scottish National Party 13,565 votes (3% +1% on last time) winning 3 seats (unchanged on last time)
UKIP 9,113 votes (2% -10% on last time) winning 0 seats (-12 on last time)
Local Independent candidates 6,992 votes (2% unchanged on last time) winning 4 seats (+2 on last time)
Plaid Cymru 1,345 votes (0% unchanged on last time) winning 2 seats (unchanged on last time)
Other Parties 3,966 votes (1% unchanged on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 on last time)
Conservative lead of 14,432 votes (4%) on a swing of 1.97% from Con to Lab

Compiled by Harry Hayfield



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UKIP might be edging back in the polls but was the biggest vote loser in the July 2018 Local By-Elections

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

July 2018 Local By-Election Summary

Conservatives 13,142 votes (37% +3% on last time) winning 11 seats (-1 seat on last time)
Labour 11,198 votes (31% +2% on last time) winning 9 seats (-1 seat on last time)
Liberal Democrats 5,670 votes (16% +5% on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 seat on last time)
Independent Candidates 2,278 votes (6% +3% on last time) winning 2 seats (+2 seats on last time)
Green Party 862 votes (2% -5% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Plaid Cymru 747 votes (2% +1% on last time) winning 1 seat (unchanged on last time)
Local Independent Candidates 737 votes (2% -1% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 515 votes (1% -9% on last time) winning 0 seats (-1 seat on last time)
Other Parties 498 votes (1% +0% on last time) winning 0 seats ((unchanged on last time)
Conservative lead of 1,944 votes (6%) on a swing of 0.5% from Lab to Con

Harry Hayfield



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June 2018 Local By-Election Summary

Friday, June 29th, 2018

June 2018 Monthly Summary
Conservatives 7,657 votes (40.22% -0.91% on last time) winning 8 seats (-2 seats on last time)
Labour 4,716 votes (24.77% +5.10% on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 seat on last time)
Liberal Democrats 2,998 votes (15.75% +7.59% on last time) winning 4 seats (+3 seats on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,291 votes (6.78% -5.69% on last time) winning 0 seats (-2 seats on last time)
Local Independents 1,089 votes (5.72% +0.98% on last time) winning 1 seat (+1 seat on last time)
Independents 836 votes (4.39% -3.97% on last time) winning 1 seat (-1 seat on last time)
Green Party 410 votes (2.15% -3.17% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Others 42 votes (0.22% +0.07% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Conservative lead of 2,941 votes (15.45%) on a swing of 3% from Con to Lab

June 2017 – June 2018
Conservatives 141,644 votes (34.29% +0.76% on last time) winning 108 seats (-24 seats on last time) from 263 candidates (+10 on last time)
Labour 133,343 votes (32.28% +5.70% on last time) winning 92 seats (+9 seats on last time) from 249 candidates (+24 on last time)
Liberal Democrats 66,665 votes (16.14% +6.36% on last time) winning 42 seats (+22 seats on last time) from 213 candidates (+77 on last time)
Green Party 20,867 votes (5.05% -1.99% on last time) winning 4 seats (+4 seats on last time) from 142 candidates (-6 on last time)
Independents 16,278 votes (3.94% -1.75% on last time) winning 11 seats (-4 seats on last time) from at least 64 candidates (at least -10 on last time)
Scottish National Party 14,460 votes (3.50% +1.36% on last time) winning 3 seats (unchanged on last time) from 13 candidates (unchanged on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 8,457 votes (2.05% -10.35% on last time) winning 0 seats (-11 seats on last time) from 79 candidates (-72 on last time)
Local Independents 7,218 votes (1.75% -0.02% on last time) winning 5 seats (+3 seats on last time) from 23 candidates (-4 on last time)
Plaid Cymru 626 votes (0.15% +0.05% on last time) winning 1 seat (unchanged on last time) from 2 candidates (+1 on last time)
Other Parties 3,550 votes (0.86% -0.12% on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 seat on last time) from at least 17 candidates (at least -14 on last time)
Conservative lead of 8,301 votes (2.01%) on a swing of 2.47% from Con to Lab

Westminster General Election Forecast
Conservatives 304, Labour 255, SNP 41, Lib Dem 27, NI Parties 18, Plaid 3, Green 1, Speaker 1 (Con short of an overall majority by 22)
Con + DUP = 314 (short of an overall majority by 7 when allowing for Speaker and Sinn Fein)
Lab + Lib Dem + SNP + Plaid + Green = 327 (overall majority of 14 when allowing for Speaker and Sinn Fein)

Harry Hayfield



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Britain’s brittle stalemate

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Lewisham East reveals the essential weakness of all three national parties

Interpreting by-election results is very much in the eye of the beholder. Some, it’s true, are unambiguous in their outcome for one party or another. Lewisham East is not one such.

Labour can happily chalk up that they got the job done without fuss. They won the seat and no clear challenger arose. However, it was nothing like a ringing endorsement. The turnout was dire (only the 16th occasion since WW2 that the turnout in a by-election was less than half the previous general election, as Matt Singh notes in his excellent summary of the by-election). That alone is good evidence that there was no great enthusiasm for any of the competing parties (nor of any great desire to punish any of them either). With Labour’s vote share slumping by more than 15%, this was no great result to write home about. Much has been written about the gains by the Lib Dems but it should also be noted that the Greens and WEP took about 6% between them. Corbyn’s Labour should not be shipping votes to those sort of parties.

Not that the Tories can celebrate. There was the potential to do reasonably well in Lewisham, where the Party’s vote has been solid over the years. A low turnout combined with a 35% Leave share to go at while Labour and the Lib Dems fought on strongly Remain platforms should have formed the basis for holding more share than they did and for making a better fist of fighting for second place. As it happened, Labour’s troubles meant that there was a nominal Lab-to-Con swing of more than 4% but that’s small comfort (that said, Rod Crosby, once of this parish, would have said that fact pointed to a Con majority next election; I remain of the view that such methodology is overly deterministic). The best that can be said of the Tory performance is that there was no embarrassment, which is a low bar.

And the Lib Dems? Surely they had an outstanding result? Well, it depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, yes, they gained a swing of nearly 20% – the largest for 35 years against a Labour defence while Labour was in opposition – and they quintupled their vote share. However, on the other, these achievements were a consequence of not quite reversing the disasters of 2015 and 2017. Despite throwing the kitchen sink at the campaign, the Lib Dem vote share failed to match their general election share in the seat in 2010. A resurgence, yes, but expensively bought and not one that holds many lessons for broader elections.

The simple truth is that all the parties have serious weaknesses; something which shows up equally well in the opinion polls. There’s surely little doubt that were Labour led by a Blair, not only would the Conservatives not be polling in the forties but they wouldn’t even be in the thirties. Likewise, against a government easily comparable to John Major’s beleaguered administration, Labour doesn’t even have a lead and the Lib Dems are in single figures.

Digging below the voting intention questions gives even better evidence for the general lack of enthusiasm in the options on offer. In the most recent YouGov poll (11-12 June; Con lead +3), some 66% responded that they thought the government’s Brexit negotiations were going badly, including 40% of Tory voters; the net score of -45 for the well/badly balance was the worst yet recorded. Despite that, the Conservatives still had a lead of 10% over Labour as to which party would handle Brexit best.

On the face of it, the impression is of two immutable blocks of voters stuck in mutual hostility: the voting intention figures have barely shifted since the 2017 general election (there was a small swing to Labour immediately after it, which gave Labour a small lead, but that has now dissipated). However, to the extent that that’s true, it’s surely only so because of the number who are locked in because of fear of the other. Were that fear to lessen, not only would some be attracted directly but others, who felt the need to back the Tories out of fear of Corbyn, or Labour out of fear of the Tories and Brexit – for example – could explore other parties or abstaining. The stalemate is hard but brittle.

David Herdson

 



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Local By-Election Review : June 14th 2018

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Town on Doncaster (Lab defence)
Result: Labour 1,084 (47% +8% on last time), Yorkshire 570 (25% -1% on last time), Green 294 (13% -1% on last time), Conservative 260 (11% -11% on last time), Liberal Democrat 66 (3%, no candidate last time), Independent 43 (2%, no candidate last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 514 (22%) on a swing of 4.5% from Yorkshire to Labour

London Bridge and West Bermondsey on Southwark (New wards)
Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 1,340, 1,281, 1,270 (44%)
Labour 1,239, 1,215, 1,171 (41%)
Conservatives 221, 219, 205 (7%)
Green Party 215, 191 (7%)
Three Liberal Democrat WINS
Southwark Council: Labour 49, Liberal Democrats 14
Labour HOLD with a majority of 35

Compiled by Harry Hayfield



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Lewisham East: Five take aways

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Voters tend to avoid avoidable by-elections

The most striking statistic from the overnight result was the turnout which dropped from 69% at the general election just over a year ago to 33% yesterday. This is one of the biggest falls compared with the previous General Election on record and simply underlines what has been observed before. If a vacancy is avoidable, the incumbent MP has not died or become incapacitated, then voters tend to be less keen to participate and also punish the incumbent party. This effect was exacerbated here because the former LAB MP went less than a year after the general election.

The Tory vote is hard to squeeze
The LDs put a lot of effort into trying to persuade Tory voters to vote for them as the party most likely to beat Labour. Although the blue team saw a decline it was nothing like on the scale LAB in Richmond Park in December 2016 when the total Labour vote was fewer than the number of members in the constituency.

The LD canvas projection yet again proved to be remarkably predictive

When the party first issued one of these, before the Richmond by-election, I thought it would undermine their credibility if the result proved it to be wrong. Well Lewisham East has given further credence to this means of working out how the by-election will go. I put this down to the sheer size of the party’s voter contact effort and their skill at processing it.

Getting 50%+ is not too bad for Corbyn

All the talk beforehand was that Labour voters might wish to punish the leadership for having a broadly different view on Brexit to what most of them feel. Well Corbyn’s party vote went down a fair bit but nothing on the scale of that which was predicted and maybe we are overstating the impact on brexit on party allegiances.

The LDs have got their by-election mojo back
Being 65 percentage points behind Labour at the June 2017 election meant that the task facing the party was pretty massive and the chances of a shock victory were really very remote. But they did well pulling up 21 points on GE2017 most of it at the expense of LAB. The campaign A-team was running this election and this will give them a lot of encouragement.

Mike Smithson



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The lastest Lewisham East odds and expectations

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

TSE