Archive for the 'By elections' Category


A key factor at GE2015: Will UKIP be deemed a “major party”?

Monday, September 8th, 2014


Corporeal looks at the BBC’s Clacton decision

One of the unresolved questions surrounding the next general election is how the media will treat UKIP, will they be pushed into the background as coverage hones in on the Lib Dems, (and especially) Labour, and the Conservatives or will they get brought into the mainstream debate and get a share of the precious oxygen of publicity. Most interesting, and probably most symbolic of all is whether they will get a look in (or how much of one) at the leader debates.

I’ve written before in a mix of fascinating and tedious detail about the rules governing the television coverage of political parties, and especially the criteria that cover them (and I’d semi-humbly suggest it’s worth a re-read, at least so you know where the goalposts are, or at least were). The central point is which parties get ‘major party’ status. Parties within this group (and it’s a flexible one that varies between elections and location, in recent years UKIP being a major party only in the Euros and the Nationalists gaining major status in their respective homelands) are guaranteed broadly similar levels of coverage during the election campaign.

This (as fans of reading comprehension may have guessed) doesn’t mean identical levels (the Lib Dems have recently had lower level of election broadcasts etc) but generally guarantees at least a seat at the table, or in terms of the debates (which draw slightly more interest than relative number of election broadcasts) a podium on the stage. It is a possibility that the debates will go into a more complex format with varying participants, but it’s hard to imagine them taking place without all the leaders of the major parties being present for at least a significant part of the debates.

As an update to that, we have the BBC’s editorial guidelines for Clacton out, the highlight (from a party perspective) of which was:

“The available evidence of electoral support in the constituency, together with other relevant factors outlined in the guidelines, indicates that: candidates representing the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP can expect to receive similar levels of coverage. Other parties who stood in Clacton in 2010, or who have received support in subsequent elections (and who announce candidates) should receive some proportionate coverage.

Obviously Clacton is a special case in terms of a defecting MP for Carswell, but it’s certainly a positive sign in their hopes for better coverage and ultimately being a part of the TV debates (would it be Carswell or Farage showing up), particularly if they win as favourites. Beyond the debates a more consistent presence in the day to day broadcast media campaign coverage would be a significant benefit.

The biggest winners in that advice may actually be the Liberal Democrats. Given that they scored 12.9% at the 2010 General Election in Clacton (and been in low single figures in constituency polls published so far), that they’ve retained major party status for media coverage wasn’t a certainty and is a positive sign for the future since it strongly point towards them also keeping it for next year’s General Election campaign. That might be more important to them than the final result in Clacton.



The devastating detail from the Survation Clacton by-election poll

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

The constituency, though, is a one-off

In all the time I have been following and analysing polls there has never been anything as sensational as the Survation Clacton poll for the Mail on Sunday published overnight. The figures are extraordinary and point to an overwhelming victory for Douglas Carswell in his new colours.

The thing we must remember is – as Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin the leading academics who have studied the UKIP surge, will tell you – that the demographics of Clacton make it in theory at least the best of all of the 650 commons seats, for Farage’s party.

In the May 22nd Euro election the Tendring Council area saw a vote split of UKIP 48%: CON 25: LAB 13: LD 2: OTH 12. The Clacton seat covers 21 of the 35 wards in the council area.

Clearly there’s speculation over where this could happen next. The main consolation for the Tories is that in any other seat conditions would not be as favourable though that doesn’t meant it won’t happen.

The dramatic UKIP victory that Survation is pointing to will make waves throughout UK politics and other CON MPs, surely, will be considering their positions. I reckon that Kettering MP, Mr Philip Hollobone, might be a possible and I’ve had a small bet at 12/1 that the seat will go UKIP next May.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If Boris is serious about helping his party he’d seek to be the CON candidate in Clacton

Friday, August 29th, 2014

The mayor’s the only one who could stop UKIP in its tracks

One of the big political decisions that the Tories will have to make in the next few weeks is who should be the candidate to fight UKIP defector, Douglas Carswell, in Clacton. The consequences for Cameron’s party of a UKIP victory in the seat are enormous and they have to do everything they can to stop him.

Boris Johnson has decided he wants to return to the commons and is currently trying to secure the Uxbridge nomination. But he would be helping his party far more if he took what would be a massive gamble and made himself available to fight Clacton.

We have seen in two London mayoral races that Boris has the unique appeal to reach out far beyond the Tory party’s traditional supporter base. He’s also the one CON figure who is very popular with UKIP voters.

    A Johnson candidature in Clacton, I’d suggest, would lead to a CON hold and would put him in a far better position to fight for the leadership when the time arose.

I don’t think he will – but who knows with Boris?

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph makes a strong case for Boris to stand.

The day’s big polling news

I’ve put a little bet on at 33/1.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Local By-Election Preview: August 21st 2014

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Wroxham on Broadland (Lib Dem defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 34, Liberal Democrats 11, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 21)
Result of last election in ward (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 985, 829
Conservatives 741, 537
Labour 227
Greens 197
Candidates duly nominated: Malcolm Kemp (Lab), Malcolm Springall (Lib Dem), Fran Whymark (Con)

Broadland, the council that seperates the urbanness of Norwich from the coastal Norfolk North, has been a right old Conservative heartland from the get go but unlike other Conservative heartlands it’s not been Labour or the Liberal Democrats who have been coming off the worse from the Conservative advance, it’s been the Independents. Back in 2003, there were eight of them, that tally fell to three in 2007 and at the 2011 elections they were completely wiped out whilst in that same time scale, the Conservatives made seven net gains, the Lib Dems made one net loss and Labour made one net loss suggesting as as this by-election doesn’t have an Independent (nor a UKIP candidate which in the current climate seems a little strange) it might well be a case of “Which coalition partner is stronger less than a year from a general election?”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (Lab Defence)
Result of last election (2012): Labour 100,130 (42%), Conservative 44,130 (19%), Independent 30,778 (13%), UKIP 17,563 (7%), Independent 17,488 (7%), Liberal Democrats 15,413 (6%), Independent 12,882 (5%). Labour lead of 56,000 (23%). No candidate polled more than 50% of the vote plus one so second preferences counted. Labour gained 17,258 second preferences polling 117,388 votes (68%), Conservatives gained 11,555 second preferences polling 55,685 votes (32%). Labour WIN with a majority of 61,703 (34%).
Candidates duly nominated: David Jamieson (Lab), Les Jones (Con), Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem), Keith Rowe (UKIP)

To describe the PCC elections of November 2012 as “a triumph for local democracy” would be akin to calling the European Elections a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The reason for this? Well, in the West Midlands in November 2012, a total of 238,394 voters cast a ballot (which on the face of it doesn’t sound too bad) until you put it in the context of an electorate of just shy of 2 million (a turnout of 12%) and as by-elections (generally speaking) see a turnout half that of the general election, the prospects of a new British record for the worst turnout in a by-election (currently held by the South Poplar by-election held in August 1942 where just 9.3% of the electorate voted) is almost bound to happen.

So if the turnout is as bad as it could be, who could come out on top? Well, we are able to make a fairly educated guess because we have had this election before (in the form of the European Elections, which were held on the same local areas). In those elections, Labour topped the poll with 35% of the vote, UKIP came second with 29%, the Conservatives on 19% and the Liberal Democrats on 5%. Now, as there are no other candidates (who in the Euros clocked up 12%), we can estimate that in this situation Labour would have won 40%, UKIP 33%, the Conservatives 22% and the Liberal Democrats 6%, therefore as no candidate would have crossed the 50% +1 line, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat second preferences would come into play and here’s where it gets interesting. In a large number of by-elections of late where UKIP have the potential to win they do not because of clear tactical voting against UKIP, so I think there is a very strong chance that just as we have seen in Newark and Rotherham, UKIP fail at the final hurdle.


Local By-Election Preview : August 14th 2014

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

South Normanton East on Bolsover (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Labour 32, Independents 4, Green 1 (Labour majority of 27)
Result of last election in ward (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 647, 597
Conservative 248, 228
British National Party 176
Candidates duly nominated: Tracey Cannon (Lab), Robert Sainsbury (Con)

Bolsover is one of those places that if it wasn’t for characters like Dennis Skinner MP (the so called “Beast of Bolsover”) wouldn’t really generate any interest at all. As an example of how strong a Labour area it is, back in 2003 Labour’s 31 councillors were only opposed by an Independent group of 6 which in 2007 gained three new members (in the form of two Resident’s Association councillors and a Respect councillor) before returning to the normal mode of operations in 2011 with Labour winning both Residents’ seats and the Respect seat and three Independents as well (and seeing as how this is a straight forward Con / Lab fight, expect the Conservative vote to barely breach three figures)

Knight’s Hill on Lambeth (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 59, Conservatives 3, Green 1 (Labour majority of 63)
Result of last election in ward (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 2,182, 2,169, 1,911
Conservatives 468, 442, 382
Greens 457, 388, 365
Liberal Democrats 256, 238, 202
United Kingdom Independence Party 249
Candidates duly nominated: Nelly Amos (Non Party Independent), Robert Hardware (Lib Dem), Christopher Hocknell (Green), Robin Lambert (UKIP), Heidi Nicholson (Con), Sonia Winifred (Lab)

When the Duchess of Deane (in the musical “Me and My Girl”) hears that the new Lord Hareford hails from this part of the capital, her expression is one of sheer distain and back in the 1920′s Lambeth was the sort of area that was best avoided, but nearly 95 years later things have changed (and Lambeth council has been through some interesting changes as well). The current Lambeth was created in the 1964 local elections and those first elections saw Labour romp home (Lab 42, Con 18). But that didn’t last as in 1968, as part of the massive Conservative swing that happened across the capital (that rated as 17% in Lambeth itself), the Conservatives gained control with a majority of 54 (and saw the election of a certain Cllr. Major). That Conservative rampage didn’t last long either as in 1971, Labour regained control (on a 24% swing to Lab) with a majority of 42 and thankfully retained a majority at every election until 1982 when thanks to the arrival of the Alliance (who won five seats) the council had a tie between Labour (32) and the Opposition (32) so as you can imagine Labour were determined to win the council back in 1986 and so Cllr. Ted Knight (the Labour leader) had a brilliant wheeze. In 1985, administration was subjected to ‘rate-capping’ with its budget restricted by the Government. Knight and most of the Labour councillors protested by refusing to set any budget. This protest resulted in 32 councillors being ordered to repay to the council the interest the council had lost as a result of budgeting delays, and also being disqualified from office but that did not stop them standing for election (in spite of the fact that Labour had nominated 32 replacements for them) so there were questions asked about “Which Labour is standing for election?”. The final result proved it was the old version of Labour as they won 40 seats (and an overall majority) on a swing of 8.5% from Con to Lab. By 1990 things had resolved themselves but by 1994, the Liberal Democrats were now in the frame as they managed to knock Labour out of control (gaining 20 seats) but also came within a whisker of winning the most votes. Sadly for the Lib Dems, this was just a one hit wonder as in 1998 things returned to normal (until 2002 when the Lib Dems did it again) and again in 2006 Labour regained control and they have been in charge ever since.


Full round up of this week’s local by-elections with news of 2 LAB gains

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Thurmaston on Charnwood (Con Defence)
Result: Labour 783 (43%), UKIP 496 (27%), Conservatives 404 (22%), BNP 95 (5%), British Democrats 58 (3%)
Labour GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 287 (16%)

Mostyn on Flintshire (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 205 (40%), Labour 191 (37% +4%), UKIP 90 (18%), Conservatives 27 (5%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 14 (3%), no swing calculable

Penydarren on Merthyr Tydfil (UKIP defence)
Result: Labour 257 (31% -7%), Independent (Thomas) 235 (29%), Independent (Barsi) 228 (28%), Liberal Democrats 62 (8%), Conservatives 40 (5%)
Labour GAIN from UKIP with a majority of 22 (2%), no swing calculable

Darwell on Rother (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 361 (43%), UKIP 182 (22%), Green 154 (18%), Labour 84 (10%), Liberal Democrats 65 (8%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 179 (21%)

Harry Hayfield


Local By-Election Results : July 17th 2014

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Oban North and Lorn on Argyll and Bute (SNP defence)
Result: Scottish Nationalists 595 (25% -6%), Independent (MacGregor) 548 (23%), Labour 526 (22%), Conservatives 445 (18% +9%), Independent (Malloy) 301 (12%)
Independent (MacGregor) GAIN from Scottish Nationalist on the fifth count on a swing of 7% from Ind to SNP

Mabe, Perranarworthal and St Gluvias on Cornwall (UKIP defence)
Result: Conservatives 406 (33% +5%), Liberal Democrats 405 (32% +9%), UKIP 271 (22% -7%), Labour 107 (9% unchanged), Mebynon Kernow 58 (5%)
Conservative GAIN from UKIP with a majority of 1 (0%) on a swing of 2% from Con to Lib Dem

Colehill East on East Dorset (Lib Dem defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 741 (59%), Conservatives 326 (26%), UKIP 184 (15%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 415 (33%)

Hookstone on Harrogate (Lib Dem defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 886 (52% -2%), Conservatives 551 (32% -1%), UKIP 206 (12%), Labour 71 (4% -8%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 335 (20%) on a swing of 0.5% from Lib Dem to Con since 2011

Ledbury (Con defence) and Leominster South (Con defence) on Herefordshire
Result: It’s Our Couunty 835 (52%), Conservatives 618 (38%), UKIP 166 (10%)
It’s Our County GAIN from Conservatives with a majority of 217 (14%)

Leominster South
Result: Greens 726 (56%), Conservatives 222 (16%), Independent 198 (15%), UKIP 111 (8%), Labour 99 (7%)
Green GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 504 (40%)

Airfield on King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (Green defence)
Result: Conservatives 305 (46%), UKIP 233 (35%), Greens 72 (11%), Labour 57 (9%)
Conservative GAIN from Green with a majority of 72 (11%)

Cowley on Oxford (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 512 (39% -13%), Greens 269 (21% -2%), Non Party Independent 257 (20%), Conservatives 152 (12% -4%), UKIP 72 (6%), Liberal Democrats 39 (3% -6%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 243 (18%) on a swing of 5.5% from Lab to Green

Church Hill on Redditch (UKIP defence)
Result: Labour 600 (44% +12%), Conservatives 339 (25% +2%), UKIP 332 (24% -11%), Liberal Democrats 40 (3% -1%), Greens 32 (2% -2%), Independents 22 (2% unchanged)
Labour GAIN from UKIP with a majority of 261 (21%) on a swing of 5% from Con to Lab

I would also like to know reader’s comments on the colours used for the various parties. Do they match the colours that you think of when that party is mentioned? Are the colours clear and easy to read? Are there any colours that you believe could be used instead of the ones suggested?


Good IndyRef poll for YES, LAB moves to 7% YouGov lead whilst UKIP has a dreadful night in latest by-elections

Friday, July 18th, 2014

YES edges forward with TNS

For whatever reason TNS and YouGov IndyRef polls have generally had the worst numbers for YES while Survation, ICM and PanelBase have had the best. Polling though is all about trends which is why the YES campaign is delighted by the latest from TNS-BMRB. After three other polls from other firms suggested that YES had stalled TNS overnight has them in their best position yet.

Excluding the DKs the split in 45-55 – a gap of just 10%. What’s pleased YES is that the firm is finding that as the DKs decline as we get closer to the referendum two months exactly from today their side seems to be befitting most.

LAB moves to best share with YouGov since March

UKIP pushed to third in both by-elections it was defending

Greens gain seat from CON & SNP has a loss

Two comfortable holds for the LDs