Archive for the 'London and local elections' Category


If the latest YouGov is on the right lines the Tories are set to make gains from LAB in London

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

And terrible ratings for the LAB leader in his home city

London has for so long been such a stronghold for Labour that it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that on December 12th it might lose seats in the capital.

Certainly all the simple analysis ahead of the election being called was that the Tories would have to make gains in Labour’s northern heartlands in order to offset the likely losses in Scotland to the SNP and of course in London to the LDs. The idea that there was potential for Johnson’s party in the London itself wasn’t really discussed.

For just two and a half years ago at the last general election LAB chalked up a whopping 54.5% of the overall vote in London. According to today’s YouGov London poll that is now down to 39% leaving the red team vulnerable to seat losses to the Tories and the Lib Dems. The latter has moved according to the poll from 8.8% at the general election to 19% today which gives plenty of potential for LD gains from both the Tories and Labour.

But, of course, we are just starting the campaign which formally kicks off at midnight and during the following 5 weeks there could be a lot of movement as we saw in Theresa May’s General Election. But we cannot expect that will happen as a matter of course. Sometimes there’s very little movement during the campaign itself.

A lot for LAB rests on voters’ perceptions of Corbyn whose ratings are standing at record lows for any opposition leader since modern polling started. Could more media exposure to him with the broadcasting neutrality rules clicking in cause that to change? A lot could depend on it.

Mike Smithson


Failed CON leadership contender, Rory Stewart, to fight for the London Mayoralty as an independent

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Has he bitten off more than he can chew?

There has been a big shake up in the betting for the 2020 London Mayoral race following the announcement this morning that the former Tory cabinet minister and failed leadership contender, Rory Stewart, has decided to enter the race.

This came after he announced that he would not be standing again at the General Election for his Penrith seat.

Stewart has quickly moved into second place in the betting while the odds on the incumbent, Sadiq Khan, have dropped from a 70% chance to 56%. Another betting loser has been the Lib Dem and former second favourite, Siobhan Benita. This morning she was a 20% chance on Betfair while now she’s down to a 6% one.

Running as an independent is not going to be easy. He will have no ready made party organisation with hundreds of foot soldiers ready to knock on doors and deliver. Also Londin is traditionally a Labour city although the LDs came out top in the May 23rd elections.

The turnout levels in these elections tend to be in the range of 35-40% so identifying potential voters and ensuring that they actually vote is critical for success.

There is a free distribution of candidature literature provided for all contenders but to do more without a volunteer structure could be costly. He will also have to operate within strict expenditure limits.

The main party contenders are also likely to have good voter data in their areas of strength which won’t be available to Stewart. Again this is a key factor in low turnout elections.

His Lib Dem opponent, Benita, has very strong organisation is several key areas where there are much higher turnout rates and represents a party that has been soaring in Remain-strong London.

Stewart might be able to build some sort of organisation but he has only seven months to do so.

Mike Smithson


An overnight local election result that highlights how difficult it will be to call GE2019

Friday, September 27th, 2019

We’ve seen big movements in the polls in recent months with Farage’s and the LDs move forward very strongly the latter often near tripling their GE2017 GB vote share of 7.6%. The local by-election above shows how the LD resurgence is going to make general election predictions that much harder.

Swinson’s party will go into the election with the simplest of all positions on the big issue of the day and in seat after seat could take huge swathes of LAB and more particularly CON votes. The question that is hard to answer under FPTP is how this will impact on seats.

We often forget that between a fifth and a quarter of Tory votes were remainers while two thirds of LAB ones were. A Brexit-dominated general election is surely going to see the unambiguous pro-Remain party attract some of their votes.

The same goes on the other side with Farage’s party and the Leave vote. The latter’s challenge, however, is competing against the Tories given Johnson’s Brexit approach.

A BXP-CON deal is hampered by one very big factor – Dominic Cummings who, it will be recalled, is totally hostile to Farage. While he’s still working for the PM it is hard to see a CON-BXP deal being reached.

Another enormously complicating factor is what happens in the seats of the 21 CON MPs who were booted out of the party earlier in the month for not following the Johnson line on a crucial Commons vote. Some surely will stand again as independents and maybe in their seats the LDs, LAB and the Greens might either stand aside or not campaign hard giving them a clearer run. This has the potential to eat into CON seat totals.

Finally there are the Tory MPs in seats that were strongly for Remain. I plan to look at them in detail in a later post.

Mike Smithson


Mayor of London Siobhan Benita? Don’t rule it out

Friday, September 20th, 2019

SV means the Lib Dems could pull off something extraordinary

In the absence of big names and big characters, London politics has dropped off the media radar a bit. After the controversial Ken Livingstone and the future PM Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan has been – spats with Donald Trump aside – a lower-profile mayor.

Khan’s term ends, however, in less than eight months, when he’ll bid for re-election. Until recently, this was all-but assured. The Tory candidate, Shaun Bailey, looks lightweight and gaffe-prone while all other candidates seemed doomed to be also-rans. No candidate from the minor parties (which in London included the Lib Dems) has ever polled more than 15%, other than exceptional case of Livingstone in the initial election of 2000; in the last two elections, none outside of Con/Lan polled more than 6%. Add in the dominance of these two parties in the polls at the start of the year and everything looked set for something like a repeat of 2016. Not now.

For one thing, Sadiq Khan’s popularity ratings generate a ‘meh’ response from Londoners. In a July YouGov poll, he recorded 30% satisfied and 33% dissatisfied, for a net -3 rating. Overall, that’s not bad and certainly much better than many politicians rate (though London has been a strongly Labour city through the 2010s so they’re maybe not quite as good as they first appear). On the other hand, there are a lot of Don’t Knows in there, which allied to the negatives suggests there is opportunity for an opponent.

However, the revolution in party support this year opens everything up. Across the country as a whole, Labour may be down by close to half what it polled in January, with the Tories down by at least a quarter. In London, the main beneficiaries have been the Lib Dems, who finished first across the capital in the European elections and have polled first in Westminster VI there too in some polls (albeit in unweighted and small subsets, with consequently large margins of error).

Of course, it’s one thing to do this in an election no-one really campaigns in or in opinion polls; quite another to produce that result when the parties are running near full-throttle. Do the Lib Dems have the manpower and resources to match Labour? That’s still a very open question and without positive evidence to suggest so, we have to assume that the campaign factor still works strongly to Khan’s favour.

On the other hand, Siobhan Benita has three things going for her (besides the quality of the other candidates and her ability to hold her own on that score). Firstly, London is a very strongly Remain city and the Lib Dems are very strongly Remain. Secondly, Khan doesn’t have a great track record and is likely to be the subject of far more negative campaigning from all parties than she will, especially on crime.

And thirdly, the Supplementary Vote system. Benita probably doesn’t need to win the first round in order to win outright: she can probably expect more transfers than Khan. This is, admittedly, finger-in-the-air stuff from me but if she can beat Bailey in the first round, then transfers will either be coming from the right-of-centre or from left-of-centre voters who have chosen not to back Khan. In both cases, I’d guess that she should win the greater number if the first round is close (although there may be high levels of non-transferable votes). If she can reach the low-30s in the first round – a level the Lib Dems have polled at in London – she’d stand a good chance of winning.

Now, it has to be said that the polling doesn’t yet bear such a prediction out. We’ve only had one poll since the party ructions in the Spring, and that was in early May, which had Benita polling fourth on 10%, behind the Green candidate Sian Berry (16%), with Bailey still second on 23%. Clearly, there is some work to do in convincing the public – to which end the EP election results, bar charts and “can’t win here” allegations would no doubt feature.

There are two other critical factors to consider. Between now and next May, there’s a good chance that at least one and perhaps two things will happen: Brexit will finally occur, and a general election will take place. Both have the capacity to do a lot of damage to the major parties. It is possible that come May, Corbyn could be in a honeymoon period, having restored post-No Deal order with an agreement, so providing Khan with a nice clear national backdrop against which to sweep to re-election.

On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that Labour could be in a right mess following either victory or defeat (likewise the Tories, though that’d matter less for these purposes). If YouGov’s methodology rather than Survation’s is correct then Electoral Calculus has the Lib Dems making eight gains across London, four from both the Tories and Labour on the most recent poll. For reference, YouGov got the Lab-LD gap at the recent EP elections right to within 0.2% (understating both by about 1%); Survation missed the mark by some 17%! Such a sweep of gains would surely greatly affect public perceptions as to which parties are serious contenders for the mayoral race.

Does all this make the Yellow Team favourites? Not at all. That honour still lies with the Reds and the power of incumbency, political inertia and the hard facts of such polling as we have. However, this is a race to keep an eye on, particularly on how intensely the Lib Dems are ramping up their campaign efforts on the ground in London. If they do, then the current odds for Benita, as long as 7/1, would be value.

David Herdson


New London poll finds Sadiq Khan heading for a first round victory in his re-election bid

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018


He is well positioned to win a 2020 contest

There’s a new YouGov/QMUL poll London Mayoral poll just out that has Sadiq Khan on 55% against just 27% for his Tory opponent Shaun Bailey. The voting system, it will be recalled is based on the supplementary vote so that a contender needs to win 50% only first round to be sure of victory.

If indeed at the 2020 election Khan ends up according to the poll then he will secure a second term without the need of the supplementary vote.

At the last election in 2016 all the pollsters did extremely well with all being within a point in their final surveys.

In recent times London has been strongly a Labour City so this survey does not come as a surprise except, of course, that between 2008 and 2016 the Mayoralty was held by the Conservative Boris Johnson.

Khan is also showing an improvement in his YouGov well/badly rating. In September he was on a net plus 4 and is now a net +11. Then, a major issue was knife crime in the capital for which he was coming under fire.

Khan is a very strong odds on favourite with the bookies and it is hard to see him failing to win.

Mike Smithson


Take Khan to the bank

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

The tip I’m about to give is not particularly exciting, or thrilling and it certainly won’t get you rich overnight seeing as the potential payday in question is top price 2-5 and 542 days away at the time of writing this article.

But it is highly likely to win, more than the implied 71.4% that the odds suggest.

The bet is Sadiq Khan to win the London mayoral election in 2020. Unlike many long term political bets (Tory & Labour leader say) where there is no set time and date for the race, we know the London mayoral election will take place on or before the 7th May 2020. So there is no issue that a contest will take place.

We know too that it is highly, highly likely Sadiq runs. Here he is confirming in June that fact. It was more or less confirmed back in September.

Now there is a non zero chance he won’t run, perhaps an unexpected vacancy will arise in the labour leadership that he feels is too good an opportunity to miss will arise (It probably won’t, and he probably won’r run if it does).

Also actuarial and health concerns are present for everybody – but Khan is healthier than the average 48 year old, his London Marathon time of just over 4 hrs 19 mins is nothing to be sniffed at (I say this as someone who runs a few times a week). Also, being a good muslim he doesn’t drink. The essential point is his morbidity and health risks are surely no more than a couple of % and most likely considerably lower given his fitness and clean lifestyle.

Taking all this into account and being the incumbent, fiercely pro EU (A fact that means he has pretty much zero chance of being ‘primaried’ by anyone else within Labour) and not seen on any particular side of the Labour ideological wars (Think Corbyn/Blair) means the probability he runs must be at or over 95% or so.

So if he is running come March 7th 2020, what is the chance he wins ?

Well back in 2016 he achieved 44.2% on first prefs, rising to 56.8% on 2nd prefs. But what has happened to London since then – do we expect him to do better or worse ?

Brexit happened, and Brexit has been devastating for the Tories in particular in London. Labour tallied up 54.6% to the Tories 33.2% in London in 2017. And what of the 2018 local elections, Labour achieved 43.9% to the Tories 28.8% – but don’t forget the mood music at the time, Labour was engulfed in an antisemitism row that most likely lost Barnet for them, also the Labour expectations were set ludicrously high – taking Westminster was probably never on for example; though they did win the popular vote in Wandsworth. Still 28.8% for the Tories was a very poor showing indeed.

There won’t be an antisemitism row around Sadiq Khan come 2020 (That’s a very Corbyn/ Labour leadership specific issue), and the solidly red areas of Labour can count more so than in local elections or general elections with huge weight of Labour vote. The Tories do not really have any Islingtons or Hackneys where the vote will be weighed stonkingly in their favour.

Meanwhile Shaun Bailey is still going to find an anti-Brexit backlash in the capital – I can’t see Theresa May coming up with a deal to satisfy pro EU Londoners any time soon.

Now you might believe that Bailey is a better candidate than Khan, but the simple fact is he is highly unlikely to win, London is right now a Labour city.

I’d make Khan around a 1-10 shot at this point – and that is why at 2-5, he is an excellent bet to continue his mayoralty to 2024. It could just set him up well if there is a Labour leadership contest after that too if he fancies a return to Westminster…


Pulpstar is a longstanding contributor to PB.


When some men want to be humiliated and embarrassed they hire dominatrices whereas Nigel Farage is considering running for London Mayor

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

The Financial Times are reporting

Nigel Farage is weighing a bid to become mayor of London, in an attempt to push the Conservative party into third place in the British capital.

Mr Farage, who lives in Bromley in south London, quit as leader of the UK Independence party in July 2016, weeks after the UK voted to leave the EU. He is still a member of the European Parliament, but will lose his position when the UK leaves the EU next March.

Mr Farage — who has stood unsuccessfully for parliament seven times, but has been elected three times as an MEP — said that the London mayoral election in May 2020 would be an opportunity to “make arguments” on a high-profile platform.

“I have been encouraged to [stand] by a group of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to,” he said. “I haven’t said no to it, I’m thinking about it.”

“The Tory party are very actively aware that if I did stand, they would probably come third, and they are afraid of that,” he added.

One senior Conservative official said that Downing Street was already braced for electoral embarrassment if Mr Farage entered the contest.

One ally of Mr Farage said that more Londoners had voted for Brexit than for Mr Khan, despite the city’s pro-EU reputation.

Apart from Scotland I cannot think of anywhere less suited for Nigel Farage to do well in than London so I’m expecting the seven times failed Parliamentary candidate to match that record in the London Mayoral election.

Assuming no change of government in 2020 we will have had ten years of Tory government, of various shades, and we’ll be midway through the Parliament so that’s when governments have been historically unpopular so there is the potential for the Tories to finish third. But I don’t expect it will be UKIP, in 2016 UKIP polled just over one tenth of what the Tories did in the first round, so that’s a very low base for Farage to start from.

The Tory candidate will be someone who isn’t seen as a heavyweight politician so there’s a chance for Farage to outshine them, though several people I respect have a lot of good things to say about Shaun Bailey.

However I don’t think Farage’s brand of politics are suited to London and there’ll be a real desire to ensure Farage doesn’t make it in to the final two. The supplementary vote, like the alternative vote system, allows for tactical voting against a particular candidate in the first round. It will be very easy for the Tories to portray themselves as the stop Farage side.

Farage’s friendship with Donald Trump and Trump’s history of antagonism with Sadiq Khan havethe potential of working against Farage in a city that seems vehemently opposed to Trump. It isn’t difficult to envisage Trump intervening on Farage’s behalf during the London Mayoral election and the situation developing not necessarily to Farage’s advantage.

I don’t think UKIP have the resources nor the infrastructure to run a proper London Mayoral campaign, just look at how few candidates they put in the 2017 general election.

Also it is a fundamental misreading of electoral physics to compare a low turnout London Mayoral election with several candidates conducted under the supplementary vote to a higher turnout referendum with a binary choice option.

So from a betting position I’d definitely be laying Farage to win the Mayoralty and laying him to finish second. I’m hoping for some bookies to price up Farage actually not standing, I’ll be looking to back Farage not standing.



The 2018 London Local Elections : The religious factors analysed

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

On Thursday Willesden Green (a place well known to fans of DangerMouse) returned three Labour councillors in the election that was deferred from the local elections, but in doing so completed those local elections and allowed us to make the following analysis. Normally I do so with a commentary of my own, but given the subject matter I shall let the figures do the talking and allow other members to form their own opinions.

Harry Hayfield