Yorkshire, once again, may prove to be the most important place in the United Kingdom, if not the world.
In May there’s a plethora of elections that will have profound implications for the United Kingdom, Scotland’s election is likely to be primus inter pares but the result with the most seismic changes could be the aftershocks of the election for Mayor of West Yorkshire. The 1/10 favourite is Labour’s Tracy Babin who has said if she wins she will resign as the member of parliament for Batley & Spen.
With the recent YouGov poll showing the Tory lead over Labour being larger than the lead at 2019 general election then it should bring Batley & Spen in play for the Tories in a by-election. In recent times the government winning a by-election from the opposition is as rare as a decent Radiohead album, in the last sixty years there have only two such gains*.
The leaders of the opposition who lost those seats never went onto win a general election and ultimately led their party to shellackings and resigned to spend the rest of their lives in ignominy like Hannibal after the Battle of Zama at the end of Second Punic War.
If Starmer loses this seat at the by-election it will show the current polling isn’t a chimera, given the huge general election defeats that losing seats to the government in by-election presages we could see the end of Starmer’s tenure, Ladbrokes are offering 5/1 Starmer goes this year.
So if you live in West Yorkshire then vote Labour or know anyone who lives in West Yorkshire then encourage them to vote Labour in the mayoral election, PB could do with an exciting by-election to focus & bet upon and all the attendant fun a Tory gain could cause. As someone who worked in Leeds for six years I shall be doing my best.
PS – If Tracy Brabin becomes mayor then in the subsequent by-election the Labour candidate should be Ed Balls, the former MP for neighbouring Morley & Outwood. One thing Sir Keir Starmer lacks his a strong shadow cabinet, the former shadow chancellor would add experience and heft to the shadow cabinet, he’d be a definite improvement on the current shadow chancellor. I think Ed Balls has learnt from unsuccessful tenure as shadow chancellor and would do well in the current economic environment.
*Technically it is three in the last sixty years but I don’t count the farcical and unique circumstances of the Bristol South East by-election of 1961.