Archive for the 'London and local elections' Category


London Local Elections 2018 : By-Elections Review and Forecast

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Harry Hayfield looks at the capital’s by-election and has a forecast

Since the local elections in 2014 in London, there have been a total of 75 by-elections to the 32 councils in the capital and overall those by-elections have shown that the mainstream parties are clawing back support from the smaller parties.

And yet, despite this there has been very little actual change with only six seats changing hands, those seats being:

Stepney Green on Tower Hamlets (Lab GAIN from Ind), Hampton Wick on Richmond upon Thames (Lib Dem GAIN from Con), Heaton on Havering (Lab GAIN from UKIP), Roding on Redbridge (Lab GAIN from Con), Eltham North on Greenwich (Con GAIN from Lab) and Kenton East on Harrow (Con GAIN from Lab)

Therefore based on that you could say “Ah, there is a small swing from Lab to Con, Con to Lib Dem and Lab to Lib Dem, therefore Labour will have a poor set of results in Inner London with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats gaining, but a very good set of results in areas where the smaller parties did well”, however those changes mask a multitude of swings (some of which are very interesting indeed)

Barking and Dagenham: No by-elections held, Likely Lab HOLD
Barnet: 3% swing from Lab to Con, Likely Con HOLD
Bexley: 5% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Con HOLD
Brent: No swing, Likely Lab HOLD
Bromley: No by-elections held, Likely Con HOLD
Camden: 2% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Croydon: 5% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Ealing: No by-elections held, Likely Lab HOLD
Enfield: 3.5% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Greenwich: 3.5% swing from Lab to Con, Likely Lab HOLD
Hackney: 7.5% swing from Green to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Hammersmith and Fulham: No by-elections held, Likely Lab HOLD
Haringey: 0.5% swing from Lib Dem to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Harrow: 1.5% swing from Lab to Con, Too close to call between Lab LOSS to NOC and Lab HOLD
Havering: No by-elections held, Too close to call between Con GAIN from NOC to NOC (No Change)
Hillingdon: 2% swing from Lab to Con, Likely Con HOLD
Hounslow: 2% swing from Lab to Con, Likely Lab HOLD
Islington: 4% swing from Lab to Lib Dem, Likely Lab HOLD
Kensington and Chelsea: 1% swing from Lab to Con
The by-elections held in Kensington and Chelsea were both before the Grenfell Tower disaster, so whilst the by-elections are suggesting a likely Con HOLD, I believe it is far more likely to be a Con LOSS to NOC but this is dependent on whether the Liberal Democrats stand in the elections or not and whether Labour stand down in favour of any local independents standing on a fire prevention ticket
Kingston upon Thames: 2% swing from Con to Lib Dem, Too close to call between Con LOSS to NOC to Lib Dem GAIN from Con
Lambeth: 9% swing from Lab to Green, Likely Lab HOLD
Lewisham: 0.5% swing from Lab to Con, Likely Lab HOLD
Merton: 4% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Newham: No swing, Likely Lab HOLD
Redbridge: 7.5% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Richmond upon Thames: 18% swing from Con to Lib Dem, Likely Lib Dem GAIN from Con
Southwark: 0.5% swing from Lab to Lib Dem, Likely Lab HOLD
Sutton: 3.5% swing from Lib Dem to Con, Likely Lib Dem HOLD
Tower Hamlets: 4% swing from Ind to Lab, Likely Lab GAIN from NOC
Waltham Forest: 4.5% swing from Green to Lab, Likely Lab HOLD
Wandsworth: 4.5% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Con HOLD
Westminster: 2% swing from Con to Lab, Likely Con HOLD


Labour holding up better in London where there are fewer UKIP voters for CON to squeeze

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

LDs hoping for gains in the capital

There’s a new London poll from YouGov out in the Evening Standard which tells the story of GE2017 in a very different way from what we’d been getting used to.

The big national voter movement, as has been widely observed, has been from UKIP to CON. That means that the CON performance is very much linked to how many UKIP votes there were last time.

In London, of course, UKIP has always struggled and at GE2015 secured just 8% of the vote which was the same as the LDs. So although we see the Tories rise in this latest poll the picture is nothing like elsewhere.

The big movement has been to the LDs who are hoping to pick up some of the seats lost at GE2015. Their CON targets are Twickenham, Kingston and, of course, holding on to Richmond Park won in December’s by-election. They are also hoping that Simon Hughes can win back Bermondsey and Southward from LAB and they are putting a big effort to unseat Labour’s ultra-Leaver, Kate Hoey in Vauxhall.

Labour could be in trouble in the east of London in constituencies where UKIP had higher GE2015 shares offering the prospect for the CON advance. Eltham and Dagenham & Rainham look like possibles. The big question for the blues is whether their gains can offset possible losses to the LDs.

Mike Smithson


The country’s leading psephologists bring more bad news for Corbyn

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Whilst the primus inter pares of psephologists gives his analysis

For a sitting government to make gains and the main opposition to lose seats in local elections is rare, and speaks volumes about the appalling nature of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Perhaps losses this year and next year might persuade his more passionate supporters to realise their man is the electoral equivalent of Ebola. For those who want a strong Labour party of a strong opposition, it might be best if Labour get absolutely shellacked in these local elections and the elections in 2018.

The Lib Dem fightback we’ve been seeing most Thursday nights since last June will continue this May as well, if Rallings and Thrasher are correct, if I were a Tory MP in the South West I might start to get a little nervous and pressure Mrs May to come up with plans and policies to help retain those seats, given the smallness of her majority she might have no choice if she wishes to govern properly.

As for UKIP, we appear to have seen peak UKIP, unless Mrs May’s Brexit deal is a Brexit lite deal which could re-energise UKIP, but with Arron Banks setting up The People’s Front for UKIP The Patriotic Alliance, it might not matter.



My 100/1 tip to win the 2020 London Mayoral election

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

My betting tip if Sadiq Khan is hors de combat from the next Mayoral race.

Assuming the unelected PM doesn’t change her mind, the next general election will be on the same day as the London Mayoral election, Sadiq Khan has a choice to make, will he stand as London Mayor in 2020 or will he stand as an MP in 2020?

I know some say Sadiq Khan would be better of waiting until 2025 to become an MP again, but he might conclude, not without merit, that by 2025 there might not be a Labour party worth saving, 2020 would be the best and only time for him to win the Labour leadership. Of course there is the possibility with the current make up the Labour membership and the trend of the NEC becoming more in Corbyn’s image, that Khan might be replaced as Labour’s candidate to be Mayor.

So if not Sadiq Khan who could be the Labour nominee? Step forward the former Labour and Respect MP, George Galloway, his brand of politics seems to be more in tune with the current Labour party, a rapprochement with a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party looks plausible. Galloway is definitely on team Corbyn, during the recent Labour leadership contest, he tweeted ‘If you try to bring down Corbyn you’ll have to get around me first. Me and millions like me. Real Labour.’

It isn’t just to the hard left George Galloway appeals to, who can forget when George Galloway was the guest of honour at Grassroots Out rally during the campaign to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, Galloway does have an appeal across the political spectrum, so you can see why a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party may wish to see Galloway as their candidate for London Mayor.

At the time of writing George Galloway was 100/1 with Ladbrokes to win the Mayor of London race in 2020, I’ll be placing a small stake, hopefully by May 2020 people will be saluting my courage, my strength, and my indefatigability for proposing such a bold tip as George Galloway winning the London Mayoralty in 2020.


P.S. – In an alternate universe George Galloway’s the current leader of the Labour party, had he not been expelled from the Labour party in 2003, he might have been the the left wing candidate that Labour MPs lent nominations to, to widen the leadership debate in 2015, instead of Jeremy Corbyn.


YouGov London poll boost sees even UKIP & CON voters warming to Sadiq Khan

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016


What is it about the London Mayoralty that gives incumbents good ratings?

When Boris Johnson was Mayor of London he always manage to secure better poll ratings than just about any of his Tory colleagues. For almost his entire 8 years at City Hall his leadership ratings remained positive and so it has been so far with Sadiq Khan who was elected in May.

Before Boris the Mayoralty was held by Ken who, certainly for the first few years, achieved good polling numbers.

The latest YouGov London polls finds 58% saying Khan is doing his job well compared with 14% saying “badly”. Extraordinarily more than half (51%) of CON GE2015 voters say Sadiq is doing well and 21% badly. Both of these sets of numbers are markedly up on what Khan was polling in July.

Even London Kippers seem more happy with their Mayor with 24% saying he’s doing well compared with 14% in July.

Khan’s ratings amongst Londoners compare with the net minus 20% that Corbyn gets on the “well/badly” assessment. Those who voted LAB at GE2015 split 42/40 – hardly a ringing endorsement.

Inevitably Khan is being talked of as a possible future LAB leader.

Mike Smithson



We mustn’t let the focus on Scotland and London over-shadow the poor CON performance in the English locals

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

And the LDs are making progrsss

The narrative on election night tends to be set by what happens overnight Thurs/Fri and little attention has been paid to the outcomes in the English local council elections where the Tories, as can be seen, came well below expectations.

At the top is the picture I took last month of the Colin Rallings showing the projections he made with Michael Thrasher based on their by-election model.

For the Tories to have losses at a time when they are facing a LAB party led by Corbyn undercuts what many in the blue team have been saying about the new LAB leader.

As well as the local councils the Tories suffered losses on the London assembly as well losing the mayoralty.

The Lib Dems are delighted with the progress. Their 370 seats is six times that achieved by UKIP and not far from half the Tory total.

Labour losses were not on the scale projected.

Mike Smithson


If Corbyn does becomes Prime Minister he should thank those behind the Zac campaign

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

As a Muslim I was appalled at Goldsmith’s campaign, as a Tory I’m appalled that Goldsmith’s campaign makes Corbyn as PM more likely.

When your own sister criticises your campaign and praises your opponent as a good role model, when the media runs a quiz asking Who said it: Britain First or Zac Goldsmith? deep down you must know you’ve run an ignoble, divisive, and poor campaign that may have long lasting consequences. As an intelligent man, Zac Goldsmith should have seen the risks of these tactics and told his campaigning team he didn’t want to campaign like this. Last August, Goldsmith led Khan by 8% in the opinion polls, and should have stuck with the campaign strategy that saw such leads.

As we see on The Observer front page in the tweet above, it is very easy for the Tory Party to regain the mantle of the nasty party and has the potential to re-toxify the Tory Party brand, that David Cameron has worked so hard to detoxify. With David Cameron very publicly endorsing Goldsmith’s attack lines at PMQs a few weeks ago, there’s no way for the Tory Party to disassociate themselves from the campaign, and blame it on a candidate going rogue. Those Lib Dems across the country who switched to the Tories in 2015 maybe put off from voting Tory in 2020 because of this campaign. The impact of this campaign may resonate outside of London.

Unless Sadiq Khan appoints Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as his Deputy Mayor or introduces Sharia law, he can justifiably say all the Tory attack lines about him were bunkum, which ultimately could help Jeremy Corbyn in 2020.

It isn’t hard to imagine during the 2020 general election campaign, the Tories using some of the attack lines they’ve used on Khan on Corbyn. Corbyn’s rebuttal will be a very simple, they said the same about Sadiq Khan and those attacks were nonsense, and that’s even before he can cite several Tories who have publicly condemned the Tory campaign, one of whom said the campaign “probably increased our risks of suffering terrorism.”

The campaign may be a pointer to the forthcoming EU referendum, with both sides already engaging in ludicrous project fear campaigns, where it feels the choice is down to for voting for economic Armageddon if we vote to Leave or having 77 million Turks moving to the UK shortly after we vote to Remain.

Memo to both camps, tone down the hyperbole, criticise your opponents with plausible criticisms and not make it appear that victory for the other side was foretold in The Book of Revelation. A bit more hope and a little less fear please.



The 2016 elections: curate’s eggs all round

Friday, May 6th, 2016

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But Corbyn may well be safe until 2020

The British electorate rarely fail to surprise. It shouldn’t be possible to produce elections where all are losers and most are simultaneously winners and yet that’s precisely what happened. Taking the British results party by party (I’m excluding Northern Ireland, which is a different game and for which counting is still ongoing).


Sadiq won. That was the minimum requirement and was comfortably met. Labour now has the politician with the biggest direct mandate in British politics (in fact, the biggest in British history, eclipsing Boris’ 2008 total). Labour also performed unexpectedly strongly across England, limiting their losses to low double figures. The baseline was appallingly low given that the main opposition party nearly always gains seats but it was surpassed all the same. In Wales, Labour withstood a sizable drop in vote share to finish only one seat short of their 2011 total, albeit that the one seat leaves them in a minority. In Sheffield and Ogmore, Labour also retained the two parliamentary by-elections without difficulty.

But that victory and damage limitation is offset by one disaster and one serious concern. The disaster was Scotland, where Labour finished behind the Conservatives for the first time since the 1950s and finished third for the first time since before WWI. Labour remains in freefall there and has yet to discover a purpose since having been replaced by the SNP as both the natural party of the left and the natural party of government there, and as by the Conservatives as the primary unionist party and the most capable challengers to the SNP. The serious concern is whether voters are reliving 2010-15: willing to back Labour at elections where the government of the country is not at stake but intent on withholding that mandate when it really matters. The suspicion has to be that they did well despite Corbyn.

All the same, passing enough electoral tests will make it much harder for Corbyn’s opponents to move against him and will confirm his allies’ support and his own self-confidence. Expect rebuttals to bad- news stories as ‘hype not reflected in ballot box judgements’. Four years is a long time (five times longer than Corbyn’s current service as leader) but this week’s results have gone a long way to sustaining him in place through to 2020.


These ought to have been good results. For a party currently pulling itself apart over a subject that has consistently turned off large parts of the electorate, to limit losses to three dozen or so seats in England is a decent return, notwithstanding that the seats were last fought at the low point of the last parliament. The loss of the London mayoralty will be disappointing but Boris had punched above the Tories’ weight for a while and Zac’s defeat was mostly a reassertion of electoral gravity.

Even better – indeed, beyond most Tory activists’ wildest dreams – were the 31 MSPs returned to Holyrood: those ‘Tory Surge’ klaxons weren’t picking up false readings, after all.

However, underlying that good news is the suspicion that the ground on which it’s built is far from stable. Scotland is a special case and south of the border the Conservatives NEV significantly underperformed recent Westminster polling, perhaps indicating the Corbyn effect. The results suggest to me that there is no great enthusiasm at the moment for Cameron and that it’s only the lack of alternatives which is inflating the Westminster VI.


One more false dawn and perhaps one poisoned chalice. UKIP can be proud of two major achievements this week. Their seven AMs in Wales surely confirms their major party status. They’ve polled well for several years now without meaningful return other than at their natural home of the European elections. A parliamentary delegation within a handful of second place in Wales places them in a whole new position, particularly given that Labour no longer has a majority.

However, with that prominence may come problems. UKIP’s representatives haven’t always had the happiest of times in both Brussels and on local councils. Fortunately, the UK media tend not to cover either in any great detail. The novelty of a meaningful group in a British devolved parliament could be a different matter. With two carpet-bagging ex-Tory English MPs – Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless – the spotlight is likely to be harsh.

The flipside of the elections was UKIP’s poor showing in England. A national equivalent vote in the mid-teens is a very good score but sixty or so seats a hugely inefficient return. On a similar note, UKIP consolidated second place in both by-elections without causing Labour any scares. Overall, not just an opportunity missed but the wrong opportunities grasped.


Has the SNP phenomenon finally peaked? Before the poll, the SNP were heavily odds-on to record a second overall majority but in the event they fell two seats short. That may make no great difference to running Scotland’s services but it significantly reduces the chances of a second referendum even with the Greens picking up six MSPs.

More seriously for Team Sturgeon, after last year’s near-yellowwash, the map this time looks distinctly less monochrome. To be sure, 59 constituencies is more than any party’s ever achieved before but the extraordinary post-referendum boost might at last be wearing off, albeit from stratospheric levels.


The challenge in Welsh politics has for some time been who can take the fight to Labour? In that battle, Plaid emerged triumphant, with twelve AMs to the Tories’ eleven, led by party leader Leanne Wood recording a striking victory in Rhonnda. Yet the contrast with either the SNP or Welsh Labour is stark: Plaid remains an acquired taste.

Lib Dem

What of the once-mighty Lib Dems? Considering the current Westminster VI as against that of 2012, they did well to record net gains at all. In that, Farron can be happy – but only really in that. The return of just one AM in the land of Lloyd George is proof that the Yellow’s recovery remains patchy and the party still at a very weak ebb. Scotland’s election was more a case of gaining on the constituency swings only to lose on the top-up list roundabouts, though with the Greens’ gains, the Scottish Lib Dems fall to the fifth party in the parliament.

The biggest problem for the Lib Dems remains one of relevance: where is their place and what are they for? And given so many stronger voices in the debate, how do they get heard even once they have a clear message?


No party emerged as unambiguous winners. With so much disillusionment among the public, that’s perhaps not too surprising. The election instead pointed more to previously anticipated events becoming much less likely: primarily, a leadership challenge to Corbyn and a second Scottish referendum this decade. As such, the Conservatives are on course for a third term in government if Remain wins and if they can pick a sensible successor to Cameron. Those, however, are two extremely big ‘if’s.

David Herdson