If you want to win a by-election select a woman

If you want to win a by-election select a woman

For 5 years every by-election winner has been female

Westminster by-elections don’t come round very often but when they do the main parties put in a big effort to defend or gain seats.

A key factor in a race is the candidate and party machines go to great lengths to ensure that the person they select is right for the seat and for activists to get behind.

At the weekend the LDs made their choice for Tory-held Tiverton and Honiton and it was no surprise that the person selected was a woman. The LDs have been particularly successful with women by-election candidates in recent years.

Same goes for the Tories who have made two gains from LAB in the past decade – Copeland and Hartlepool, were with women candidates.

With LAB you have to go back to Corby in 2012 for a by-election gain. But in the hard-fought fight at Batley & Spen last July their candidate, Kim Leadbetter, was a woman as was Paulette Hamilton in the March 2022 hold of Birmingham Erdington.

The SNP hold at Airdrie and Shotts in May last year and the Sinn Fein one in West Tyrone in 2018 were with women.

The last male to win a Westminster by-election was Gareth Snell for LAB at Stoke Central in 2017.

Will the coming two by-elections follow the same trend?

Mike Smithson

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