Archive for the 'By elections' Category


Dreadful set of local election results overnight sees CON lose 4 – their worst performance since TMay became leader

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

LAB gain 3 and the LDs 2


Remember: The only successful CON government by-election defence since 1988 is still subject to an Electoral Commission investigation

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

All parties are going to be a lot more careful in Witney

Partly because far fewer of their MPs have died in office the Tories have not faced many by-elections since returning to power in 2010. They lost to UKIP in Clacton and Rochester but held on in June 2014 in Newark.

The latter, quite amazingly, was the first time that the Tories had successfully defended a Westminster by-election while in office since 1988. After their humiliating third place in the May 2014 Euros the Tories threw everything into the defence of Newark the following month. The last thing they wanted was an outcome that would do anything other than impede UKIP’s momentum. Farage’s party had to be stopped.

As was reported on by Michael Crick in a series of C4 News reports earlier in the year there were serious questions as to whether the Tories had kept within the £100k by-election expenses limit in the seat. I understand that his points about Newark are still being looked into by the Electoral Commission.

So Witney on October 22nd is the first CON defence since the EC investigation into this and other alleged expenditure irregularities. What it means, I’d suggest is that this is going to be harder to defend. They certainly can’t ship activists to the constituency and put them up in hotels. Also things they’ll have to be careful over things like paying for delivery or hiring professional phone canvassers.

Will it have an impact? My guess is that all parties will feel constrained. On the face of it Cameron majority from GE2015 is so large that shouldn’t impact on the outcome – but who knows?

Mike Smithson


Betting on WH2016 & Witney plus prospects for a “LD fightback”- all looked at in latest PB/Polling Matters TV Show/ Podcast

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

With the first WH2016 TV debate due to take place next Monday Keiran Pedley (@KeiranPedley), Matthew Shaddick (@Shadsy) of Ladbrokes, and Leo Barasi (@leobarasi ) look at where the race stands and what the mass of polling is suggesting. In the UK the team look at the LDs who’ve just finished their conference and try to assess the chances of a fightback.

With Shadsy on the show there’s a fair amount of focus on the betting particularly on WH2016 and next month’s Witney by-election.

Here’s the audio version podcast.

Mike Smithson


Who’ll win the LAB/LD/UKIP Witney battle for 2nd place in the parliament’s first CON Westminster by-election defence?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Ordnance Survey

Farron’s party is under most pressure to perform

Betfair have now got up a Witney market on which party will be the winner excluding the Tories who clearly are red hot favourites to hold onto the seat that Cameron held from GE2001 until a week last Monday.

Both the LAB and UKIP will have just gone through leadership elections and both UKIP’s Diana James and, presumably Corbyn will want a good result to stamp their authority on their parties which remain divided because of the leadership contests.

Farron’s LDs have been doing remarkably well in local by-elections but have performed poorly in this parliament’s Westminster by-elections. They are also way behind in the national polls. A clear second place could help change the narrative about their party which has largely been ignored since their drubbing at GE2015.

The LDs have chosen as their candidate the woman who came a credible second in the seat behind Cameron at GE2005. No doubt it will be that result that features on the bar charts!

LAB have chosen Labour Duncan Enright who came second 43% behind Cameron at GE2015. He’s also not a JCFanBoy.

UKIP have yet to choose. In relative terms they did poorly here at GE2015 though ahead of the LDs.

Organisationally the LDs have a lot of activists living quite close to the seat including some key personnel who played a big part in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election defence.

Mike Smithson


Labour’s local by-election woes continue

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016


Why the LDs won’t be too unhappy if Corbyn is re-elected

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Continued splits in LAB could help a rejuvenation of the yellows

The LDs are gathering in Brighton for their annual conference which, unlike the coalition years, is barely getting any attention. That’s understandable. Having just 8 MPs and the Tories having a majority means they are not important anymore.

The polls suggest they haven’t progressed from the 8% of GE2015 but there’s one glimmer of hope – they are doing remarkably well at a local level. They made the most net gains of any party last May and now hardly a week goes by without them gaining further council seats. Last Thursday it was taking a LAB seat in Derbyshire on a 36% swing and the week before a gain from LAB in Sheffield.

As can be seen from the chart they’ve had a good period since last May and, unlike the coalition years, they are finding it easier to pick up ex-LAB voters something that’s being reinforced by the leadership travails.

An unsubtle part of the LD message in Brighton is that they are united.

So the expected JC LAB leadership win next weekend is likely to reinforce the trend. If Farron’s party is to make any sort of recovery it will start at the local level.

Mike Smithson


Ex-LD leader, Paddy Ashdown launches move to have one non-CON candidate in Witney

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

But would LAB and the LDs agree?

Intriguing move from the ex-leader of the LDS, Paddy Ashdown, this evening to have a unified non-CON candidate (presumably pro-REMAIN) to fight the Tories in the upcoming Witney by-election. This is of course being held to fill the vacancy created by Cameron departure from the Commons.the

Getting such an arrangement might be tricky because it would require both the LDs, who have a good history in the seat until GE2015, and LAB to both stand aside.

One recent example of the main parties standing aside was at Tatton at GE1997 where Martin Bell successfully ousted Neil Hamilton. (UPDATE:I am reminded as well that David Davis was given a near clear run in his by-election fight in 2008)

If the Ashdon plan happened it would certainly add spice to a by-election that on the face of it appears pretty certain CON hold.

I can’t believe that Ashdown would have floated the idea without reference to his party but who knows?

Mike Smithson


Cameron quits the Commons sparking off the first by-election in a CON seat since GE2015

Monday, September 12th, 2016


Hard to see anything other than comfortable CON hold

Cameron has announced this afternoon that he’s going to follow Tony Blair – the last former successful general election winner to stand down as an MP shortly after stepping down as party leader and PM.

So we now have the first Westminster by-election in a CON held seat since the general election. The numbers from May 2015 are above.

Although the overall outcome is hardly in doubt it does raise some questions. Who will be the CON candidate? This is a seat that had had done big beasts in the past and there will be a massive fight to get the blue selection.

How are LAB going to do? Will they hold onto 2nd place or could we see them squeezed by either UKIP or the LDs. The yellows have done reasonably well here in the past and have been having an excellent run in council by-elections.

This should be seen by Farron as a big chance to build some momentum following their dismal GE performance.

It will also be the first by-election for UKIP’s new leader who’ll take over later in the month. Could the hot favourite for that post, Diane James, put herself forward here?

Whatever it is great to have a by-election in a non LAB seat.

Mike Smithson