Guido would call Doncaster Miliband’s ‘backyard’, but given the Labour leader barely spends any time there, he will stick with ‘Ed’s constituency’. Either way UKIP are in the ascendency in Ed’s constituency, as proved by Thursday’s stunning Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council by-election that saw a 20.5% swing away from Labour in Edenthorpe.
UKIP took 41% of the vote to Labour’s 38%.
Suddenly Farage’s plan to hold UKIP conference in the area does not look so brazen…
“The Conservatives will hold this seat but what UKIP will do is score their best ever percentage score in a by-election. It’s going to be over 30%. [The Tory majority] will be two or three thousand. It will be very difficult to think we could have done much better. It’s been a very short by-election, we couldn’t really mobilise anybody until after the European elections. The Conservatives have probably put more into this than any by-election they’ve ever fought in their history. All round, I can assure you that the People’s Army will be very happy with this result tonight.”
If Farage is right and UKIP polled over 30% that will be very uncomfortable for the Tories…
The polls have closed in Newark and Survation have released the results of their final poll in the constituency:
The results are expected between 2am and 3am…
UKIP campaigners suspected foul play in Newark this morning when a driver parked a car two feet from their stall in the market place. In their paranoia, how did they respond to what must have been dirty tricks? They sandwiched “Vote UKIP” signs around the offending vehicle:
Which made for an awkward scene after accusing the Tories of parking there, only to find it was a disabled driver trying to get the shops:
Lord Ashcroft reports:
“A by-election two weeks after the European election means that Newark’s electors have enjoyed the prolonged attention of the parties, a privilege for which they must surely be grateful. The evidence from my poll is that the Tories have had the better of an intense ground war and have by no means taken the seat for granted. More than nine out of ten voters say they have heard from the Conservatives locally, including 81 per cent who have had literature through the door; nearly half have received personally addressed mail. Eight in ten say they have heard from UKIP; the party is reported to be slightly more active than Labour in all elements of the local campaign.
The poll was conducted in the week before polling day, and just under a fifth of voters say they may yet change their mind. Despite this, it looks clear that the next MP for Newark will be Robert Jenrick.”
The full data is here.
It’s theirs to lose…
The Speccie have been up to Newark to interview the Tory and UKIP candidates ahead of next week’s by-election. Roger Helmer has admitted that even he doesn’t think he’s the best man for the job:
“Nigel has that enormous box office presence, and I’m sure he would do a better job than I would do. Obviously Nigel is the biggest face and the biggest asset for the party.”
Read all about it here. While dull Tory Robert Jenrick, touted as the “entrepreneur” candidate, confesses to never having run a business, and denies being a carpetbagger. Despite having stood in Newcastle-Under-Lyme in 2010 and attempting to get selected in Croydon before landing Newark…
Guido has paid a visit to Newark today to see how the Tory-UKIP bunfight is progressing. The Tory machine is out in force, blue rosetted door knockers are everywhere while the Ukippers dwindle around the town centre as only they do best. Theresa May was expertly dull in her Q&A with the travelling press pack, which is perhaps fitting giving how dull the posh boy Tory candidate Robert Jenrick is. May refused to be drawn when Guido asked her about the consequences of defeat:
They may be coy publicly, but in private the Tories are confident their campaign juggernaut cannot be stopped and their vote will hold up. Though the wandering pack of ginger Scottish Ukippers are taking the market square by force.
Up at the Tory base in Newark, James Landale bring us picture evidence of the roll of honour for campaigning MPs. As Guido revealed in the Sun at the weekend, MPs groaned when told by Deputy Chief Whip Greg Hands that they would have to sign in to prove they had actually turned up to pound the pavements. Crafty slackers slipping off home immediately after signing their names on the whiteboard were then told they would be required to sign in both in the morning and the afternoon. Now they have to jot down their exact arrival and departure times for all to see. Three visits is the minimum expected of them, as you can see by Chris Skidmore’s keenness to show his commitment in the picture above. Hands is emailing out lists of MPs in order of appearances to name and shame the skivers…
What Will Happen if Scots Leave? | David Aaronovitch
Why Are Radicals Like Carswell Leaving Tories? | BBC
Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:
“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”
Owen Jones says:
We also need Zil lanes.