Punters are very certain that’ll change next week
In looking over the prospects for next week’s Wakefield by-election it comes as quite a surprise to discover that the last time that LAB made a by-election game was in 2012. This was at Corby in November of that year to fill a vacancy created by the CON MP, Louise Bagshaw resigning her seat for family reasons. Labour turned a 1,951 deficit at GE2010 into a majority of 7,791 – a CON-LAB swing of 12.7%.
Since then there has been nothing. Not a single by-election gain by the party. Given they have been in opposition for all that time and beyond then it really is surprising that they haven’t made the most of the opportunities that have occurred.
Not only has LAB struggled to make gains it has found itself losing against the Tories in Copeland (2017) and in Hartlepool (2021). Also last year LAB very nearly lost Batley & Spen.
The party that has made the most running in Westminster by-elections has been the LDs with four gains from the Tories in the same period.
So Wakefield, the Redwall seat that was lost to the Tories at GE2019, is a great opportunity for Labour to start winning by-elections once again.
There have been two Wakefield opinion polls which have LAB leads of 20% and 23%. This compares with the Tory margin at GE2019 of 7.5%