Tomorrow sees the first of the December by-elections in the outer London seat of Old Bexley and Sidcup which was held by the Tories at GE2019 with a majority of 40% plus. It is what happened last time that is driving the betting that currently rates the Tory chance at 91%. This, I believe, ignores the current troubles for the party and it leader.
This is only the second Tory by-election defence since GE2019. The first was in Chesham and Amersham in June when the Tories had leads of 6-7% in the national polls. There the CON vote went down by 20% and the LD on up by 30%. In Old Bexley and Sidcup Davey’s party have a candidate but are putting all their current effort into Shropshire North in two weeks time so they might not even hold their deposit.
The Bexley battle is between the defending Tories, Labour and the ReformUK party whose leader, Richard Tice is the candidate. It is the success or failure of his campaign that holds the key to tomorrow’s outcome for it has the potential to eat into the Tory vote.
What we know is that three parties have been running big campaigns – the Tories, Labour and Reform UK whose leader is the candidate.