A chance for a LAB to win back a red wall seat?
This afternoon’s conviction of the man elected at GE2019 as the Tory MP for Wakefield opens the possibility of there being a parliamentary by-election in the seat .
The MP, Imran Ahmad-Khan who now sits as an independent, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenager and whether he remains an MP is dependent on the level of sentence he receives. If he gets a prison term of a year or more he will automatically lose the seat and a by-election will be triggered once all appeal processes have been completed.
If, however, he receives a shorter jail term then there can be a recall petition. For a by-election to be triggered a total of 10% or more of those on the electoral register in the seat would have to sign it within a six-week period.
Looking at the result in the seat last time then LAB surely would dearly love the opportunity of winning this one back and undoubtedly it would be a very tough election for the Tories to defend. At GE2019 Johnson’s party had an overall vote lead over LAB of just under 12%. The latest polls have the Tories 5% behind so on a simple calculation there has been a national 7.5% CON to LAB swing since December 2019.
Over the past decade, LAB has done particularly badly in parliamentary by-elections. It has lost one seat to the Tories, Hartlepool and struggled last summer to hang on to Batley & Spen. In fact the last time LAB gained a seat in a Westminster by-election was Corby in 2012 when EdM was leader.
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