After a week of big national developments we’ve ten local by-elections

July 21st, 2016

Exmouth, Littleham (Con defence) and Honiton, St. Michael’s (Con defence) on East Devon
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 37, Independents 16, Liberal Democrats 6 (Conservative majority of 17)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 40,743 (46%) LEAVE 48,040 (54%) on a turnout of 79%

Result of wards at last election (2015)
Exmouth, Littleham: Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,667 E, 1,636 E, 1,489 E (26%)
Independent 1,224 (19%)
Liberal Democrat 1,170 (19%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 1,164 (18%)
Green Party 1,102 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: Bruce De Saram (Con), Keith Edwards (Lab), Alex Sadiq (Lib Dem)

Honiton, St. Michael’s: Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,400 E, 1,390 E, 1,304 E (49%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 734, 636, 599 (26%)
Independents 723, 690 (25%)
Candidates duly nominated: Ashley Alder (UKIP), Henry Brown (Lab), Jenny Brown (Con), John Taylor (East Devon Independents)

Waunfawr (Plaid defence) on Gwynedd
Result of council at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Plaid Cymru 388 (57%), Independent 290 (43%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 35,517 (58%) LEAVE 25,665 (42%) on a turnout of 72%
Candidates duly nominated: Edgar Owen (Plaid), Paul Scott (Lab)

Hackney Central (Lab defence) on Hackney
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 50, Conservatives 4, Liberal Democrats 3 (Labour majority of 43)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 2,094, 2,082, 1,916 (64%)
Green Party 751, 738, 717 (23%)
Liberal Democrats 240, 202 (7%)
Conservatives 190, 184, 167 (6%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 83,398 (78%) LEAVE 22,868 (22%) on a turnout of 65%
Candidates duly nominated: Sophie Conway (Lab), Russell French (Lib Dem), Mustafa Korel (Ind), Siobhan MacMahon (Green), Christopher Sills (Con)

Chorley Rural North (Con defence) on Lancashire
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 39, Conservatives 35, Liberal Democrats 6, Independents 3, Green Party 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Conservative 1,525 (41%), Labour 1,402 (38%), United Kingdom Independence Party 642 (17%), Liberal Democrat 140 (4%)
Referendum Result (Lancashire County): REMAIN 316,975 (41%) LEAVE 456,763 (59%) on a turnout of 71%
Candidates duly nominated: Alan Cullens (Con), Stephen Fenn (Lib Dem), Yvonne Hargreaves (Lab), Christopher Stuart (UKIP)

Bellingham (Lab defence) on Lewisham
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 53, Green Party 1 (Labour majority of 52)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,819, 1,690, 1,505 (54%)
People Before Profit 451 (13%)
Conservatives 432, 403, 366 (13%)
Green Party 329, 273, 241 (10%)
Liberal Democrats 194, 151, 142 (6%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 144 (4%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 86,955 (70%) LEAVE 37,518 (30%) on a turnout of 63%
Candidates duly nominated: Ross Archer (Con), David Hamilton (People Before Profit), Sue Hordijenko (Lab), Edwin Smith (UKIP), Ed Veasey (Lib Dem)

Balderton South (Con defence) on Newark and Sherwood
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 24, Labour 12, Independents 3 (Conservative majority of 9)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,265, 1,207 (57%)
Labour 956 (43%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 26,571 (40%) LEAVE 40,516 (60%) on a turnout of 77%
Candidates duly nominated: Lydia Hurst (Con), Marylyn Rayner (Lib Dem)

Westone (Con defence) R on Northampton
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 26, Labour 17, Liberal Democrats 2 (Conservative majority of 7)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Conservative 1,318 (56%), Labour 722 (31%), Liberal Democrat 315 (13%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 43,805 (42%) LEAVE 61,454 (58%) on a turnout of 73%
Candidates duly nominated: Toby Birch (Lab), Greg Lunn (Con), Brian Markham (Lib Dem)

Southcote (Lab defence) on Reading
Result of council at last election (2016): Labour 31, Conservatives 10, Green Party 3, Liberal Democrats 2 (Labour majority of 16)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Labour 1,802 (43%), Conservative 1,476 (35%), United Kingdom Independence Party 576 (14%), Green Party 187 (4%). Liberal Democrat 179 (4%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 43,385 (58%) LEAVE 31,382 (42%) on a turnout of 73%
Candidates duly nominated: Jason Brock (Lab), Mark Cole (Lib Dem), Alan Lockey (Green), Russell Martin (Con)

Warlingham West (Con defence) on Tandridge
Result of council at last election (2016): Conservatives 33, Liberal Democrats 7, Independents 2 (Conservative majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Conservative 593 (52%), United Kingdom Independence Party 319 (28%), Liberal Democrat 238 (21%)
Referendum Result: REMAIN 24,251 (47%) LEAVE 27,169 (53%) on a turnout of 80%
Candidates duly nominated: Celia Caulcott (Lib Dem), Martin Haley (UKIP), Keith Prew (Con)

Compiled by Harry Hayfield


If the courts remove Corbyn from the ballot then LAB would have lost an electoral liability but gained £4.5m

July 21st, 2016


Next Wednesday a court will hear a case brought by a major LAB donor that the NEC was wrong to have allowed Corbyn to be on the ballot without securing the support of 51 MPs and MEPs.

I’ve no idea about the chances of the case succeeding but Michael Crick has reported that there is some concern within the party about the case.

If this does go forward it would be absolutely mega and it is hard to see what would happen next. No doubt there would be appeals to higher courts and this could prolong the already elongated electoral run-up.

Would Owen Smith as the last man standing be given the job or would it be opened up again. Nobody knows with the modern LAB party.

And what about those who’ve forked out. £25 in order to get the chance of voting? No doubt the hard-pressed party will keep it.

Meanwhile there was a flurry of betting activity after a Tweet from a respected source suggested that the £25 supporters were splitting against Corbyn. He later reversed this saying the incumbent was getting 60/40.

The mere fact of the court case and the uncertainty it creates suggests that Corbyn at a betting chance of 76%+ is value

Whatever a lot is going to happen in the next 8 weeks.

Mike Smithson


Extraordinary scenes at the GOP convention as Ted Cruz doesn’t back Trump and says “Vote with your conscience”

July 21st, 2016

And the Donald is accused of cosying up to Putin

Normally the third day of US presidential conventions is for speaker after speaker to get behind the nominee and make rabble rousing speeches.

Overnight in Cleveland, Ohio, the contender who had run Trump closest in the primaries, Senator Ted Cruz, had a different approach and refused to back the man who 24 hours beforehand had officially become the nominee. Cruz was also speaking in prime time, that part of the night’s proceedings that were getting the most TV time.

Quite why the Trump team had allowed this to happen is not clear but it looks like a mistake.

This came after a huge controversy emerged over Trump’s apparent support for Russia’s Putin and questions about the future of NATO if he got elected in November.

In the betting Hillary had slipped to a 68% chance on Betfair at the start of the week. She’s now at 71%.

Mike Smithson


After another massive political 7 days in the UK & US it’s time to reflect with the latest PB/Polling Matters TV Show

July 20th, 2016

The scale and pace of political events is simply breath-taking with PM May’s first PMQs, the LAB leadership race now down to two with campaigning just ratcheting up and, of course, the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Examining all of this: Keiran Pedley is in the chair with Lord Stewart Wood, the Labour peer and Oxford academic, and Conor Pope of LabourList

The audio podcast is here:

Mike Smithson


May’s first PMQs: She’s going be a challenge for either Corbyn or Smith

July 20th, 2016


A staggering 54% of Corbyn supporters in the YouGov members’ poll think their man will lead them to victory

July 20th, 2016

How can you argue with people who totally believe this?

The graphic above is from the Times Redbox and has further detail from the Times YouGov Labour members’ poll. This one looks at how at how the Corbyn backers view the current party leader.

I find the figures staggering particularly the 54% believing that he’ll take them to election victory.

This is, of course, contrary to all the other indicators, local by-elections, Westminster voting intentions and leader ratings. In all LAB as a party is struggling and Corbyn in particular has terrible personal ratings.

Labour and Corbyn are going to be tested in the coming weeks ahead of the leadership ballot. If Theresa May enjoys a polling honeymoon then Corbyn’s party could have double digit deficits almost across the board.

As for his personal ratings amongst voters in general these are dire.

Corbynistas don’t seem able to grasp that their party needs to be attracting CON voters in marginal seats to have any chance at the next election. So far there’s precious little data to indicate that it is happening.

Whenever I get into arguments with them they’ll tell you that you can’t trust the polls because of what happened in May 2015.

What they don’t appreciate is that the the three general elections in modern times where the polls were badly wrong the LAB position was overstated in every case. Go look at the numbers for 1970,1992, and 2015.

Mike Smithson


So now the LAB leadership is a two horse race

July 19th, 2016

And it’s still possible that Corbyn won’t get on the the ballot

2016 LAB Leadership Contest


It was Team Corbyn who trashed the Big Tent

July 19th, 2016


Don Brind assesses where the LAB fight now stands

“We organise. They conspire.” This political conjugation sums up the campaign tactics for the Corbyn Remain campaigners. Momentum are busy organising Momentum meetings around the country while condemning “coups and plots” by those who think he should leave.

Even before the YouGov poll there seems little doubt that the Keep Corbyn faction are making the running and have been boosted by the wrangling at the National Executive over whether the incumbent had the automatic right to be on the ballot paper.

I still believe Jeremy Corbyn is beatable.

The emergence of a single unity candidate will help but success for the change campaigner will depend on exposing the Big Lie at the heart of the Corbyn re-election campaign. This is the claim that he is the victim of a plot by people who never gave him a chance; ignoring his mandate from his runaway victory last September and opposing all his policies.

The proof that this a Big Lie comes in the list of talented Labour loyalists who answered his call to join what his closest comrade John McDonnell called the “big tent”. I observed here last September that he had done remarkably well in attracting MPs into the big tent.

What the anti-Corbyn campaign need prove to party members is that it is Team Corbyn who trashed the Big Tent.

The evidence that his campaign in based on a Big Lie comes in the list talented people who put loyalty to the party first and joined his front bench but who have now resigned.  Anybody who cares about the future of the party and its ability to win power needs to listen to the testimony of Heidi Alexander, Lucy Powell, Seema Malhotra, Lisa Nandy, Jack Dromey, Kier Starmer, John Healey, Steve Reid and, of course, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith.

They all tried to make a go of the Corbyn project but ended up resigning after Corbyn sacked Hilary Benn in the middle of the night.

    The change campaign needs two strands: the promotion of the values and leadership skills of whoever emerges as unity candidate and the exposure of Corbyn’s incompetence and failure as a leader by those who worked for him and gave up in despair.

We already have two good examples of former Shadow ministers who are now speaking out having spent months loyally defending their incompetent boss. Former shadow transport minister Lilian Greenwood cites a number of examples including the way Corbyn and his officials wrecked a long-planned campaign against fare increases with a messy reshuffle that ensured the campaign got no media coverage.

Then there is the extraordinary case of former shadow arts minister Thangam Debbonaire who “Corbyn appointed then tried to ditch her as a shadow minister without telling her – hours after she started radiotherapy for breast cancer.”
With remarkable restraint she calls his action “inept”.

Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy has produced a perfect campaign slogan “there is nothing socialist about in incompetence.

She says the party needs someone with both “leadership and management skills … the ability to execute policy across many, many departments and unite the country as well as the party.” Onwurah nominated Corbyn and says that when he was elected with “his huge mandate I welcomed the opportunity to change the economic narrative, to grow our party and champion real, radical change. As I looked forward to working, under Jeremy’s leadership, on subjects I was passionate and indeed knowledgeable about. But unfortunately that leadership did not emerge.”

Corbyn still has many supporters in her Newcastle party who just want to see the party united but, she says, “equally many members expressed a sense of betrayal. During a leadership rally in Newcastle last summer, in response to a specific question, Jeremy said, that if it became clear he could not win at a General Election, he would step aside. What they asked, had become of that promise?”

If Corbyn won’t keep his promise the members will have to keep it for him.

Donald Brind