Putting the December contests into context
The above chart from Wikipedia makes the point simply and clearly – Westminster by-elections can produce outcomes with massive swings that can be hard to predict. It is one of the reasons why I love them and my only current regret is that the media seems to be giving them less attention than they used to.
Next month, of course, sees two by-elections with Tory defences. The first is next Thursday at Old Bexley and Sidcup with North Shropshire a fortnight later. The big thing, of course, is that these two Tory defences follow a terrible few weeks for the the party following Johnson’s disastrous attempt to help Owen Paterson. How much will that have undermined blue turnout?
For the big thing in both seats will be how the GE2019 Tory vote is holding up and my guess is that Bexley will give us a good indicator of what will happen in Shropshire N. .
In the summer I tipped the LDs in Chesham & Amersham when they were at 20/1 on the exchanges. Even as the votes were being counted you could have got 7/1 on the LDs. Davey’s party is going full throttle in Shropshire – a county where they used to have a seat and it is a brave punter who goes against them.
The best bet there is the 1/5 you can get on the LDs getting more votes than LAB.