Archive for the 'By elections' Category


The lastest Lewisham East odds and expectations

Thursday, June 14th, 2018



The LDs to outperform the Tories in Thursday’s by-election is the best bet out there at the moment

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Ignore the GE2017 result & look at what’s happening on the ground

Yesterday on Betfair someone wagered a few pounds on the Tories at 1000/1 to win Thursday’s Lewisham East by-election. This means that if he bet £10 he’ll lose £10 for all the signs are that the blue team is just running a token campaign in the seat where LAB got 67.9% of the vote in June last year. To make things harder the CON candidate is a leaver in a seat that was 65% remain.

The LDs who came second here at GE2010 are throwing everything at getting a good result and expect a big squeeze on Tory voters to tactically vote yellow. I’d expect their message to be something like “If enough CON supporters lend their votes the LDs they could yet defeat LAB and end years of Labour domination in Lewisham. That outcome would shock Corbyn’s Leadership to the core.”

To LAB voters you can envisage a message on the lines of “A good result for their Lewisham-born candidate could force Corbyn to reconsider his support for Brexit – and help turn the tide in favour getting another vote on Brexit

The signs are that Labour is getting a tad concerned. This is from leading party MP, David Lammy, under the heading “Lewisham is not a done deal” on LabourList.

“… there is a real problem with voter fatigue. The people of Lewisham East have had election after election – a general election in 2015, the mayoral and the referendum votes in 2016, another general in 2017, the council and Lewisham mayoral this year, and now this by-election. Voters really like Janet, and why wouldn’t they? She is an amazing candidate – a local who set up a foodbank, a keen campaigner who has already done a lot for the area. But people still need encouragement to go to the polling station. The fatigue goes for Labour members too..”

The info I’m getting from the campaign has been enough for me to gamble every day the maximum amount that Ladbrokes will allow me on the market featured above. I plan to go on betting almost however tight the odds get.

By-elections are one-off events. People aren’t electing a government and as we have seen voting pattern can be very different from normal elections.


Mike Smithson


If LAB gets within 10% of its GE17 Lewisham vote it’ll be a vindication for Corbyn’s Brexit approach

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

A bigger drop would be problematical

At the General Election the strongly anti-Brexit LAB MP, Heidi Alexander, came out with a share of 67.9% and a margin of 44.8% over the second place Conservatives in Lewisham East. The question, on which Ladbrokes have a market, is how the party will do on votes in the by-election two weeks on Thursday.

    The big fear of the Labour hierarchy was that the Lib Dems, who’ve done particularly well in Remain seat by-elections since the Brexit vote, could make this into a referendum on Corbyn’s approach to leaving the EU.

That danger could be partly alleviated by the choice of an anti-Brexit LAB candidate but that has not stopped the LDs making this the key point of their messaging. In the closing 16 days of the campaign the theme of Lewisham “sending a message to Corbyn” will become increasingly intense. The party is running a campaign on the scale of Witney and Richmond Park which means they are throwing everything at it.

It is hard from outside to assess the potency of this approach and what Labour GE voters will actually do on the day. Given that the government of the country is not, as in a general election, at stake could enough of them go with this as a means of influencing party policy?

Certainly I’d expect strongly anti-Brexit LAB MPs, of which there are many, to seize on a poor Lewisham performance to help ratchet up the pressure on the leadership. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are secretly hoping for the party to hold the seat but on a much reduced majority.

With the YouGov tracker regularly showing that 70% of LAB voters think the referendum vote of Brexit was wrong there is a divide between Team Corbyn and party supporters something which Labour’s opponents are seeking to exploit.

A feature of this election is that it is seen as a foregone conclusion and is now getting relatively little media attention. This means that party messaging becomes the prime source of information for voters.

These are the current Ladbrokes LAB vote share odds.

I quite like the 5/1 40-50% band and would be backing it if I wasn’t in Spain where I’m barred from accessing my Ladbrokes account.

Mike Smithson


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