Archive for the 'By elections' Category


Local By-Election Review : May 24th / 25th 2018

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Aylsham on Broadland (Con defence)
Result: Lib Dem 1,018 (46% +15% on last time), Con 865 (39% +7% on last time), Lab 328 (15% -7% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -15%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 153 (7%) on a swing of 4% from Con to Lib Dem)

Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead on Horsham (Con defence)
Result: Con 661 (68% -3% on last time), Lab 158 (16%, no candidate last time), Lib Dem 148 (15% -14% on last time)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 503 (52%) on a notional swing of 9.5% from Con to Lab (5.5% from Lib Dem to Con)

Edgeley and Cheadle Heath on Stockport (Lab defence)
Result: Lab 1,709 (74% +16% on last time), Lib Dem 203 (9% +2% on last time), Con 187 (8% unchanged on last time), Green 144 (6% -3% on last time), UKIP 71 (3% -15% on last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 1,506 (65%) on a swing of 7% from Lib Dem to Lab (15.5% from UKIP to Lab)

Farnham, Castle on Waverley (Residents defence)
Result: Residents 354 (38% +3% on last time), Lib Dem 338 (36% +12% on last time), Con 175 (19% -7% on last time), Lab 42 (4% -11% on last time), Ind 26 (3%, no candidate last time)
Residents HOLD with a majority of 16 (2%) on a swing of 4.5% from Residents to Lib Dem (5% from Con to Residents)

Kirkby de la Thorpe and South Kyme on North Kesteven (Con defence)
Result: Lincolnshire Independents 278 (46% +10% on last time), Con 271 (45% -21% on last time), Lab 30 (5% no candidate last time), Lib Dem 27 (4% no candidate last time)
Lincolnshire Independent GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 7 (1%) on a swing of 15.5% from Con to Lincolnshire Independent

Westbury-on-Tyrm and Henleaze on Bristol (Lib Dem defence)
Result: Con 2,900 (42% +3% on last time), Lib Dem 2,704 (39% +7% on last time), Lab 891 (13% -3% on last time), Green 355 (5% -8% on last time)
Conservative GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 196 (3%) on a swing of 2% from Con to Lib Dem

Glascote on Tamworth (Lab defence)
Result: Lab 490 (43% -14% on last time), Con 478 (42% -1% on last time), UKIP 124 (11% no candidate last time), Green 55 (5% no candidate last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 12 (1%) on a swing from Lab to Con of 6.5%


By-election punters should check the form before risking their cash

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

There have only been five Westminster by-elections which have been contested by the main parties since the Brexit referendum and the average party changes are shown in the chart above.

As can be seen there have been much bigger movements in constituencies which voted Remain than those which voted Leave. In the former, both in CON held seats seats, the LDs did particularly well picking up one gain with the Tory vote sharply down.

What we haven’t had is a by-election in a LAB seat which voted Remain as is the case in Lewisham East so we are into new territory.

What is important is that Westminster by-elections can develop dynamics which are very different from the overall political picture and comparisons with local results or what happened at the previous general election are not necessarily relevant.

I don’t buy Pulpstar’s analysis of Lewisham because the scale of the LD operation is likely to be at Witney and Richmond levels and will be far greater than that of the Tories.

Mike Smithson


Pulpstar says the Tories look value at 13-8 in the Lewisham match bet

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The by-election in Lewisham East is attracting a lot of attention on twitter for Labour’s woes in candidate selection, and also some unfortunate tweets by the CLP chair dug up by Owen Jones.

How much attention will the average voter there pay to this ? Very little is the runaway favourite – even if it has made front page news for the Daily Osborne. Nevertheless a thoroughly uncompetitive by-election (Labour will walk it easily) needs an angle, and so Labour woes it is.

Ladbrokes have gone 13-10 the Tories and 4-7 the yellow peril in a match bet (Note not for second although realistically it is almost inconceivable someone other than these parties will finish second). I’d venture these odds are the wrong way round or at least the Lib Dems should be bigger than Even money here.

Why ?

1a) The three most recent elections (2015, 2017, 2018 locals) have all produced Conservative victories over the Lib Dems. True the 2010 result did produce a 1900 margin for the Lib Dems over the Tories, but the blues finished only 13.1% of the yellows nationally in that one. Currently that ‘gap’ is more like 30% or so.   

1b) Looking at the most recent locals the Tories managed 13,840 votes compared to the Lib Dems 9,222. I’m not sure what, if anything has particularly changed since then – indeed the local election results were encouraging for the Lib Dems not a million miles from the seat in Muswell Hill. My point is these results on their own make the Tories favourite in a match bet.

2) Vauxhall – A bit of a strange choice to emphasise a point about Lewisham East one might think but in the 2017 GE May on a very Brexity pitch managed to finish 1029 votes behind the Lib Dems in another seat where Labour are absolubtely dominant. According to Hanretty, Lewisham East voted approximately 35% leave, as opposed to Vauxhall’s 17%. The remain pool (Which is a pool fished heavily by the Lib Dems) is considerably smaller here than there. And that was just under a year after Hoey appeared on a boat with Farage*

3)  The consistency of the Tory vote from 97 onward here. From 92 to 97 the Tory vote collapsed from 18,481 to 9,694 votes. However since then the scores attained:

9694; 7157; 7512; 9850; 9574; 10859 (Note this is the most recent)

would have beaten the Lib Dems in every contest bar 2010 (See point 1a). Incidentally the shear uniformity of these results is why they don’t have a cat’s chance in hell of winning and arguably you can make the Lib Dems second favourites for the seat.

But what about Richmond, Twickenham and Surbiton ? I’d argue these are very different places and contests. The incumbents here are Labour, not the Tories and this seat does not play nearly as much to the Lib Dem’s strengths – it is not an ultra remain seat, more diverse and not as middle class or rich as SW London to be blunt.

Of course there will be a good deal of local news that ‘Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories here’ and that is probably true (The potential Lib Dem -> Labour switcher pool) is greater than the Tories immutable pool. The local Lib Dem campaigning machine may well be superior (I have no particular knowledge though) and certainly Vince Cable has a greater need to show he is competitive in this sort of seat than Theresa May does at the moment.

The Lib Dems may well do it, but for this particular match bet, bet against exceptionalism and take the 13-10 (At last check) on the Tories.


* My analysis indicates that AN Other Labour MP would have got over 40,000 votes in Vauxhall, so her massively pro Brexit views did affect her, but they were never going to lose her the seat. The ‘missing’ votes from Hoey’s should have been 40k pile to her actual one went to George Young.



A sign of LAB confidence in Lewisham East: Local party chief gets sacked days before the postals go out

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Given that the outgoing MP, Heidi Alexander, secured 69% of the vote at GE2017 it has been very hard to predict anything other than a Labour hold. That was why, in the eyes of many, the party’s selection battle was the real fight.

That was completed on Saturday when the local party chose Lewisham’s, deputy mayor ahead of the Momentum backed candidate as well as the one supported by Unite – an outcome that’s been seen as a bit of a slap in the face for the Labour leader.

A key part in that outcome was played by Ian McKenzie, chairman of the Lewisham East constituency party, who, it turned out, had made a couple of sexist Tweets about Emily Thornberry two years ago.

McKenzie’s supporters say the Tweets had been dug out in a move to discredit him. He’s now been suspended.

Whatever the truth this is not the sort of publicity a party wants to attract at a crucial stage in a by-election. The LDs are throwing everything at getting a good result here and anything they can use to discredit Labour will be seen as helpful.

Ladbrokes make LAB a 1/50 favourite with the LDs t 20/1 and 100/1 on the Tories – betting odds, know doubt, that will be used by the yellows to make the case that only they can best Labour in he seat.

The Lib Dem effort has been focused on the LAB stance on Brexit suggesting that Team Corbyn is ignoring Remainers.

Mike Smithson


Local By-Election Review : May 17th 2018

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Skerton West on Lancaster (Lab defence)
Result: Lab 587 (58% +21% on last time), Con 279 (27% +1% on last time), Lib Dem 95 (9%, Green 59 (6% -3% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -20%, No Ind candidate this time -7%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 308 (31%) on a swing of 10% from Con to Lab

University and Scotsforth Rural on Lancaster (Lab and Green defence)
Result: Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 518, 423 (48% +13% on last time)
Green Party 235, 264 (24% -8% on last time)
Conservatives 184, 184 (17% -7% on last time)
Liberal Democrats 114, 120 (11% +3% on last time)
One Labour HOLD and One Labour GAIN from Green on a swing of 10.5% from Green to Labour

Leiston on Suffolk Coastal (Con defence)
Result: Con 612 (42% +13% on last time), Lab 336 (23% +1% on last time), Ind 293 (20% -10% on last time), Lib Dem 213 (15% +6% on last time) (No Green candidate this time -10%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 276 (19%) on a swing of 6% from Con to Lab (11.5% from Ind to Con)

Harry Hayfield


The Buckingham constituency where there must be a high chance of a by-election within 18 months

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

There’s not been a “normal” election here since GE2005

One of the intriguing facets of the current speculation over the Speaker, John Bercow, is that there could be a by-election within the next year and a half in the Buckingham parliamentary constituency.

There were reports at the weekend that Mr Bercow has indicated to friends that he plans to stand down in 2019 though there could be something earlier if the pressure on him continues. If he does step aside he’ll almost certainly quit as an MP and would probably be elevated to the Lords.

The normal convention which is honoured by the main parties is that Speakers are not challenged when they stand for re-election in their own constituencies. So at GE2010, Bercow’s first general election as Speaker, Labour and the Lib Dems did not put up candidates although Nigel Farage challenged him as did a prominent pro-EU former Conservative MEP, John Stevens. Bercow won easily but Stevens beat Farage for second place and the former leader of UKIP only picked up 17% of the vote.

That election will be remembered for the plane crash that Nigel Farage was in while flying in a light plane over the constituency on election day itself. My understanding is that quite a few Tory activists were helping on the Farage campaign while some Lib Dems were supporting Stevens.

The fact that it has been held by the Speaker for so long is that there are no previous elections for us to make comparisons with. At GE2005, with different boundaries, Bercow stood as a Tory and got 57% of the vote.

At GE1966 the seat was won for Labour by the controversial former media magnate Robert Maxwell. He lost it to the Tories at GE1970.

A 2018/2019 by-election would likely be a battle between the Tories and the Lib Dems who would fancy their chances of putting up a challenge in a seat that went Remain at the referendum. No doubt both parties have already got contingency plans for fighting such an election.

Mike Smithson


Betting on Labour’s vote share in the the Lewisham East by election

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Backing Labour to get over 60% seems like value.

Ladbrokes have a market up on Labour’s share of the vote in the Lewisham East by election where Heidi Alexander polled 67.9% last year.

It is clear that the Lib Dems are going make the focus of the by election Labour’s position(s) on Brexit but I’m not sure that’ll have much of an impact.

So far Corbyn has managed to appear all things to all people when it comes to the Brexit, and with Mrs May kicking the major decisions to the autumn Corbyn can keep going with his current strategy.

I suspect as in the locals in London there’ll be a swing from the Tories to Labour, we’re not in the same environment as there was in Copeland in February 2017. Seldom do we see swings from the principal opposition to the governing party.

So staking something like £50 on Labour to get between 60-70% and £20 on over 70% seems like the way to go.



Ladbrokes open market on the battle within LAB for Lewisham East

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

It is not often that opportunities come up between general elections to be selected as candidate for a party that won the seat with a 21k majority.

Lewisham East is a plum target and no doubt there are dozens of aspiring LAB hopefuls who fancy their chances. Unless there is a massive upheaval then the winner of the by-election will surely be the person chosen by the party to succeed Heidi Alexander who has resigned.

The betting on which party will win hasn’t moved since yesterday afternoon. LAB 1/25, LD 12/1, CON 33/1. I don’t have any insight into the candidate betting.

The LDs point out that at GE2010 the party was in second place there 14.9% behind LAB. Maybe. But there’s a lot of water that’s gone under the bridge since then. Their main hope is that the referendum saw Remain with 64.5% of the votes in the seat and just possibly there’s the potential to make this about Brexit and particularly Corbyn’s apparent equivocation.

    I’m expecting the LDs to suggest that this is the opportunity for Lewisham voters to send a message to the Labour leadership that they need to listen more to party voters and be more forthright in their opposition to Brexit.

Whether that would be potent I don’t know but by-elections can become about single issues.

Mike Smithson