Archive for the 'By elections' Category

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Punters rate UKIP as a 29% chance in Stoke Central. A chance for Paul Nuttall?

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Betting interest in the Copeland and Stoke by elections is starting to grow even though the sitting MPs have yet to resign.

The Copeland man, is off to join the Sellafield nuclear Centre and that’s expected to take place at the end of this month.

My guess is that Labour strategists will try to hold both by elections on May the 4th when there are the local elections as well as the string of contests for the elected mayors in the new English combined authorities. This will mean that many activists of other parties will be tied up on their home patches thus, LAB will hope, decreasing their campaigning capabilities in the Westminster by-elections.

On the face of it the Tories stand a good chance in Copeland and, indeed, are odds on betting favourite. In Stoke Central UKIP came second last time and there is a lot of hope within the purples that they can do it.

The Lib Dems, flush with their successes in recent Westminster and local by elections, are fired up and my sense that they’ll making Stoke the priority rather than Copeland if they are held on the same day. They have the benefit of having been in second place in 2005 and 2010 and also have held Council seats in the CITY.

Interestingly one of the Lib Dems’ leading campaigners, the man who masterminded the Sleaford and Hykeham north effort in which the yellows pushed  Labour into 4th place, is from Stoke, was a councillor there and was the candidate at GE2005 when he came second.

This would seem to be ideal seat for the new UKIP leader, Paul  Nuttall who clearly is hoping that under his leadership UKIP can pull up pull off a first past the post by-election victory for the first time without a defector/incumbent.

I’m waiting to see who the candidates are before placing any more bets.

Mike Smithson




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Copeland is still the better bet for the Lib Dems

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

But will they be distracted by Stoke Central?

The Tories love governing, Labour loves protesting and the Lib Dem love winning elections. With the return to form of the Lib Dems in gaining by-elections, all is now once again well with the world. They might still be languishing in fourth place in the national polls but in actual elections, Farron’s party has been performing admirably well over the last year and in particular over the last few months.

Thursday produced two more spectacular examples in local by-elections, where they gained one seat from the Conservatives on a 23% swing in Hertfordshire, and another from Labour in Sunderland (from fourth) on a swing of no less than 35%. This ties in with a tweet I saw this week from Glen O’Hara that traditionally Labour voters are very much considering the Lib Dems as an alternative. Obviously, we should be wary of reading too much into two by-elections, never mind a single tweet, particularly when the national polls indicate only a modest Lib Dem recovery. Even so, the runes are there to be read.

Which begs the question: can they follow up on their gain in Richmond Park with another Westminster gain? Neither upcoming contest looks particularly fertile ground on the face of it. The Lib Dems lost their deposit in both seats, finishing fourth in Copeland and fifth in Stoke. Only twice in British history has a party won a by-election from fourth or lower (the SNP in Glasgow Govan in 1988 and George Galloway for Respect in Bradford West in 2012). However, these are strange times and both seats do offer opportunities.

In Stoke, the Lib Dems have the stronger history to fall back on. They finished second in 2005 and 2010, and although they lost most of their votes in 2015, they lost them to Labour. If a substantial Lab-LD swing is now taking place or at least there to be won, then unless Labour can recover the votes they themselves lost to UKIP, they could easily be vulnerable to whichever party established itself as the main challenger. However, their second places were not particularly strong: their best vote share was 21.7% in 2010, which was still 17% behind Labour and below their national average that year.

On the other hand, while the Lib Dems have a much weaker record in Copeland, they have two advantages (one of which may yet also apply to Stoke). Firstly, both Tories and Labour look to be running entirely negative campaigns, with Labour attacking the Conservatives over NHS concerns (which has some local resonance), and the Tories going on Corbyn and his anti-nuclear stance. The problem there is that in a two- (or more) party system, mutual negative campaigning can simply depress the votes of both parties that engage in it, to the benefit of a third party.

And that third party is the Lib Dems. Their toxicity from the Coalition years is clearly declining. They are once again becoming the ‘none of the above’ party in small FPTP elections where they can focus a campaign, which is something UKIP struggles to do. With UKIP having won a referendum and lost a role, with Labour suffering under catastrophic leadership, and with the Tories a little unsteady under a defensive and cautious May, the door has again opened to the Lib Dems everywhere outside of Scotland.

The second and more certain point about Copeland is that it’s very, very remote. It’s a trek for someone living in Greater Manchester, never mind the South. Local resources will matter more than in most by-elections, particularly with Stoke a more accessible alternative for MPs to help out in. Although the Lib Dems have little presence in Copeland itself, they have plenty in neighbouring Westmorland & Lonsdale: Tim Farron’s constituency (though even that isn’t particularly close to most Copeland voters).

What of the Lib Dems’ European stance? Won’t this be a disadvantage in two strongly Leave seats? To an extent, yes, but only to an extent. The reality is that there were plenty of Remain voters too, even in Leave seats. More relevantly, Brexit won’t be the only issue. If the Lib Dems can establish themselves as a clean alternative to the parties throwing mud, they have a chance to do something extraordinary.

But only in one of the seats. By-elections are labour-intensive and expensive (even more so when the MP future-dates his resignation). All parties except Labour have a choice to make about which to prioritise but the Lib Dems most of all. After all, winning by-elections is what they’re about. Copeland, where they’re up to 50/1 should be that choice.

David Herdson





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Labour’s challenge in retaining Stoke Central is equal if not greater than in Copeland

Friday, January 13th, 2017

I was one of the lucky ones and managed to get £20 on the LDs at Ladbrokes Stoke Central market when the odds were 50/1. That’s now moved in sharply to 7/1 which I think is still reasonable value.

Labour must be favourite though this could be very challenging. The party is less effective on the ground since JC and his team arrived. The massive increase in members does not appear to have added to the party’s ability to fight elections. Some specifics on Stoke:

TURNOUT: At GE2015 fewer than half the electors in Stoke Central turned out to vote which was the lowest in the entire country. Based on this my reckoning is that the by-election turnout will be in the region of 28%-33% which means that the most effective campaigns can have real advantages. This will be about foot-soldiers on the ground..

BREXIT VOTE. Although Stoke went strongly for LEAVE we cannot assume that those voting in the by-election will split with the same proportions. The lower the by-election turnout, I’d suggest, the greater the proportion of REMAINERS voting in the by-election.

LOCATION Unlike Copeland Stoke is extremely well served by rail and road. It is just off the M6 and A50, only 84 minutes from Euston and 34 minutes from Manchester Piccadilly. This means that all parties will be able to flood activists into the area for the critical 4-5 weeks of the campaign.

Given UKIP’s second place last time Nuttall’s party should be in a position to do well eating into both the CON and LAB support bases. The question is how far the LAB vote will be cut down from the 39% at GE2015. My guess is that there’ll be a real fight between CON and UKIP to establish them as the best choice for leavers.

GE2005 and GE2010 saw the LDs in second place though, like elsewhere, they got smashed at GE2015 following the coalition years. If they scent victory they’ll flood the area and there’ll almost daily deliveries of different leaflets and campaign newspapers. This has the effect of diluting the impact of other campaign’s material.

Mike Smithson




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Stoke Central, where MP Tristram Hunt is resigning, could be a tight four-way contest

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Is Hunt going because of the threat of de-selection?



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Corbyn’s relaunch week ends with the LDs taking a LAB council seat in one of its heartlands on a 36% swing

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

And the yellows pick up a CON seat on a big swing

The 2017 council by-election season has opened with the Lib Dems taking seats from both CON and LAB on big swings. The results are above.

In Sunderland, where only 39% voted REMAIN on June 23rd, Farron’s party had the most surprising result. It appeared to be a LAB-UKIP contest and few anticipated a move on this scale. Last time the LD got just 4.5% in the seat and were in fourth place.

This could be a reaction to BREXIT or the lacklustre Corbyn leadership but there’s little doubt that Farron’s party is fired up at the moment with their confidence boosted enormously by the Richmond Park victory last month.

The result will, no doubt, provide further ammunition for Labour’s Corbyn sceptics.

What’s also noteworthy about Sunderland Sandhill is how poorly UKIP did in a part of the country where you’d expect it to do well.

The Three Rivers gain from CON was in what had been a longstanding LD seat and it would have only been a surprise if the LD had failed to take it. The margin of victory was significant.

Coming up soon we have the Copeland Westminster by-election. The LDs are the first party to have selected a candidate and she has already flagged her main campaign points BREXIT and the NHS.

Mike Smithson




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The 2017 local by-election season opens with a LAB defence in Sunderland and a CON one in Herts

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Sandhill on Sunderland caused by the resignation of the sitting Labour councillor for non attendance
Result of council at last election (2016): Labour 67, Conservatives 6, Liberal Democrat 1, Independent 1 (Labour majority of 59)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Labour 2,121 (55%), UKIP 1,003 (26%), Conservative 607 (16%), Liberal Democrat 135 (4%)
EU Referendum Result (2016): REMAIN 51,930 (39%) LEAVE 82,394 (61%) on a turnout of 65%
Candidates duly nominated: Bryan Foster (UKIP), Helmut Izaks (Green), Stephen O’Brien (Lib Dem), Gary Waller (Lab), Gavin Wilson (Con)
Weather at the close of poll: Cloudy but dry, 1°C
Estimate: Lab HOLD

Gade Valley on Three Rivers caused by the death of the sitting Conservative councillor
Result of council at last election (2016): Liberal Democrats 19, Conservative 17, Labour 3 (No Overall Control, Liberal Democrats short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Conservative 1,420 (42%), Liberal Democrat 1,249 (37%), Labour 718 (21%)
EU Referendum Result (2016): REMAIN 25,751 (49%) LEAVE 27,097 (51%) on a turnout of 79%
Candidates duly nominated: David Bennett (UKIP), Roberta Curran (Green), Alex Michaels (Lib Dem), Bruce Prochnik (Lab), Dee Ward (Con)
Weather at the close of poll: Dry, 1°C
Estimate: Lib Dem GAIN from Con

For 2017, I am including two new pieces of information. The weather at the close of polls, following discussions about winter turnouts and my estimate of the result based on the analysis I made of the local by-elections since the referendum on the EU. Please comment on whether you would like these to continue or if not, what other points of information you think might be of interest

Compiled by Harry Hayfield



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CON starts 2017 by going straight for the Labour’s jugular in Copeland byelection – Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

If it’s a LAB hold then it will be in spite of JC not because of him

Even though the sitting MP has yet to resign and no candidates have been selected campaigning has already started in the Copeland by-election – the first such contest in a LAB-CON marginal in this parliament.

The Tories have been made strong odds-on favourite even though you have to go back decades before you find a governing party winning a seat from the main opposition in a Westminster by-election. That, of course, is a reflection, of current national poll standings and a view that Corbyn’s party might be vulnerable.

One factor is that by far the biggest employer is the huge nuclear centre at Sellafield. This constituency is one where not being supportive of nuclear energy could prove challenging for a candidate espousing such a view. The outgoing MP is leaving to take up a post at the complex.

So it’s not really a surprise that the first Tory leaflet featured above highlight Corbyn’s position on things nuclear.

This is clearly very sensitive for the red team and how it is handled could determine the outcome.

Mike Smithson




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Local By-Election Review 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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19 of the 26 LD local council gains since BREXIT have been in places which voted LEAVE

Votes cast, change on last time, seats won and change on last time for 2016
Labour 147,049 votes (29% +1% on last time) winning 85 seats (-5 on last time)
Conservatives 146,074 votes (29% -2% on last time) winning 97 seats (-33 on last time)
Liberal Democrats 76,877 votes (15% +4% on last time) winning 50 seats (+27 on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 46,112 votes (9% -4% on last time) winning 10 seats (-3 on last time)
Independent candidates 24,810 votes (5% unchanged on last time) winning 22 seats (+6 on last time)
Green Party 23,604 votes (5% -1% on last time) winning 2 seats (+1 on last time)
Scottish National Party 23,463 votes (5% +3% on last time) winning 8 seats (unchanged on last time)
Plaid Cymru 4,133 votes (1% unchanged on last time) winning 5 seats (+3 on last time)
Other Parties 11,268 votes (2% -1% on last time) winning 8 seats (+4 on last time)
Labour lead of 975 votes (0%) on a swing of 1.5% from Conservative to Labour

Post EU Referendum Local By-Elections
Results in councils which voted to REMAIN
Labour 32,751 votes (32% -1% on last time) winning 20 seats (-4 on last time)
Conservatives 22,179 votes (22% +1% on last time) winning 11 seats (unchanged on last time)
Liberal Democrats 14,554 votes (14% +3% on last time) winning 7 seats (+4 on last time)
Scottish National Party 14,029 votes (14% +6% on last time) winning 4 seats (-1 on last time)
Independent candidates 6,344 votes (6% unchanged on last time) winning 4 seats (unchanged on last time)
Green Party 5,688 votes (6% -4% on last time) winning 0 seats (-1 on last time)
Plaid Cymru 2,577 votes (3% +2% on last time) winning 3 seats (+1 on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,898 votes (2% -2% on last time)
Other Parties 2,862 votes (3% -2% on last time) winning 2 seats (+1 on last time)
Labour lead of 10,572 votes (10%) on a swing of 1% from Labour to Conservative

GAINS in councils that voted to REMAIN
Liberal Democrat GAIN Leatherhead North on Mole Valley from Con
Liberal Democrat GAIN Totnes on South Hams from Lab
Labour GAIN Irvine West on North Ayrshire from SNP
Scottish National Party GAIN Renfrew South and Gallowhill on Renfrewshire from Lab
Farnham Residents GAIN Farnham, Shortheath and Boundstone on Waverley from Con
Farnham Residents GAIN Farnham, Castle on Waverley from Con
Labour GAIN The Lochs on Fife from Local Independent
Liberal Democrat GAIN Plasnewydd on Cardiff from Lab
Labour GAIN Coatbridge North and Glenbolig on North Lanarkshire from SNP
Liberal Democrat GAIN Stow on Cotswold from Con
Liberal Democrat GAIN Culloden and Ardersier on Highland from Lab
Scottish National Party GAIN Garscadden and Scotstounhill on Glasgow from Lab
Conservative GAIN Inverurie and District on Aberdeenshire from Lib Dem
Conservative GAIN Banff and District on Aberdeenshire from SNP
Plaid Cymru GAIN Grangetown on Cardiff from Lab
Conservative GAIN Eltham North on Greenwich from Lab
Conservative GAIN Abbey on Bath and North East Somerset from Green
Scottish National Party GAIN Arboath East and Lunan on Angus from Ind
Independent GAIN Carnoustie and District on Angus from SNP

Results in councils which voted to LEAVE
Conservatives 53,900 votes (35% -1% on last time) winning 48 seats (-13 on last time)
Labour 35,998 votes (23% -1% on last time) winning 26 seats (-6 on last time)
Liberal Democrats 31,780 votes (20% +9% on last time) winning 28 seats (+19 on last time)
United Kingdom Independence Party 17,538 votes (11% -4% on last time) winning 5 seats (-3 on last time)
Independent candidates 9,266 votes (6% unchanged on last time) winning 9 seats (unchanged on last time)
Green Party 3,196 votes (2% -3% on last time) winning 0 seats (unchanged on last time)
Plaid Cymru 767 votes (0% unchanged on last time) winning 2 seats (+2 on last time)
Other Parties 3,279 votes (2% -1% on last time) winning 2 seats (+1 on last time)
Conservative lead of 17,902 votes (12%) on no swing since last time

GAINS in councils that voted to LEAVE
Conservatives GAIN Bryam and Brotherton on Selby from Lab
Liberal Democrats GAIN Astley on North Norfolk from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN St. Teath and St. Breward on Cornwall from Ind
Liberal Democrats GAIN Trowbridge, Grove on Wiltshire from Ind
Liberal Democrats GAIN Newquay, Treviglas on Cornwall from UKIP
Liberal Democrats GAIN Westone on Northampton from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Newlyn and Goonhaven on Cornwall from Con
Labour GAIN Silverdale and Parksite on Newcastle under Lyme from UKIP
Liberal Democrats GAIN Alston Moor on Eden from Con
United Kingdom Independence Party GAIN Beaver on Ashford from Lab
Conservatives GAIN Catterick on Richmondshire from Ind
Conservatives GAIN Gravesham East on Kent from Lab
Conservatives GAIN Grangefield on Stockton-on-Tees from Lab
Liberal Democrats GAIN Four Lanes on Cornwall from UKIP
Liberal Democrats GAIN Mosborough on Sheffield from Lab
Liberal Democrats GAIN Tupton on North East Derbyshire from Lab
Labour GAIN Christchurch on Allderdale from Con
Labour GAIN Arley and Whitacre on North Warwickshire from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Hadleigh on Suffolk from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Teignmouth Central on Teignbridge from Con
Plaid Cymru GAIN Cilycwm on Carmarthenshire from Ind
Liberal Democrats GAIN Adeyfield West on Dacorum from Con
United Kingdom Independence Party GAIN Headland and Harbour on Hartlepool from Lab
Liberal Democrats GAIN Broadstone on Poole from Con
Residents GAIN Limpsfield on Tandridge from Con
Conservatives GAIN Rothwell on Kettering from Lab
Conservatives GAIN Strood South on Medway from UKIP
Independent GAIN Heacham on King’s Lynn and West Norfolk from Con
Independent GAIN Abergele, Pensarn on Conwy from Lab
Labour GAIN Witham North on Braintree from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN St. Mary’s on the East Riding of Yorkshire from Con
Plaid Cymru GAIN Blaengwrach on Neath and Port Talbot from Lab
Conservatives GAIN Reedley on Pendle from Lab
Conservatives GAIN Ferndown on Dorset from UKIP
Liberal Democrats GAIN Southbourne on Chichester from Con
Independent GAIN Maldon West on Maldon from Con
Labour GAIN Horsehay and Lightmoor on Telford and Wrekin from Con
Independent GAIN Moreton Hall on St. Edmundsbury from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Blackdown on Taunton Deane from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Bovey on Teignbridge from Con
Liberal Democrats GAIN Chudleigh on Teignbridge from Con

Compiled by Harry Hayfield