Tories Face Ruff Treatment in Newark

UKIP might be barking up the wrong tree selecting Roger Helmer in Newark, but it is the Tories who have suffered the first casualty of next month’s by-election. Therese Coffey has been in hospital this afternoon after being bitten by a pugnacious pooch while out canvassing.

She tells Guido the unfortunate incident was the “first time in 25 years of campaigning. It was a little terrier.” It happened while she was “giving it a treat, so it was literally biting the hand that fed it”.

Fortunately she was checked out after minor treatment. Guido sends his best wishes…

Newark By-Election on June 5th

George Young has moved the writ for the Newark by-election.

It’ll be on Thursday June 5th.

Two weeks after the Euros…

#Nigel4Newark: the Pros and Cons of Running

The UKIP leader says he will “think very hard” about standing in Newark but appeared cautious last night, asking is it the right seat for me?” Guido gives you the pros and cons facing Farage.

Pros

  • CLICK TO ENLARGEAnalysis by the Election Data website (right, click to enlarge) looking at Mosaic demographic data, past voting behaviour and self-reported political affiliation suggests that Farage would be well received in Newark. The overwhelming majority of the constituency is seen as “receptive” or “fairly receptive” to UKIP, with some areas “very receptive”. Only the town centre are voters described as “unreceptive”.
  • UKIP’s support in the seat has multiplied in the last four years. In 2010 the UKIP candidate polled just 3.8%. As George Eaton notes in the 2013 county council elections the party won 17.1% in Newark and Sherwood. The by-election will come off the back of a Tory humiliation in Europe.
  • Mike Smithson makes a convincing point for the pro camp: the last Tory by-election hold while in government was William Hague at Richmond in 1989 – 25 years ago.
  • Farage has hinted that he wants to run in a by-election before 2015. How many more by-elections will there be in UKIP-friendly Tory seats in the next year?

Cons

  • Patrick Mercer had a majority of 16,152. It is a fairly safe Tory seat.
  • The Tory candidate Robert Jenrick has been putting in the groundwork over the last few weeks in anticipation of a by-election and the Tories are quietly confident their man is the real deal. Though his website needs some work.
  • Farage told BBC News last night his main reservation is that he is not a local candidate, admitting “I haven’t particularly got connections with the local area”. Given UKIP’s Tory opponent has been parachuted in, might UKIP gain from running a candidate from within the constituency instead?
  • The establishment media is with one voice telling Farage that if he does not run in Newark then he is a bottler. His enemies seem awfully keen on Nigel running. The Tory stooges at the Times have put it on their front page, as have the Telegraph. Are they setting a trap?

Or does he who dares win…

Mercer By-Election Speculation Growing

Panic stations as the Standards Committee report into Patrick “Guido will be all over this” Mercer is expected very soon – it’s widely expected to be damning after last year’s lobbying sting. If the Committee recommend a long suspension from the House, the MacShane precedent is a resignation and a by-election. There is also scope for a headache vote in the Commons if Mercer does not jump. Just what No. 10 need right now.

 

2010 Result:
Conservative: 27590 (53.9%)
Labour: 11438 (22.3%)
Lib Dem: 10246 (20%)
UKIP: 1954 (3.8%)
MAJORITY: 16152 (31.5%)

Nottinghamshire is lovely this time of year. Mercer’s notionally safe Tory seat of Newark in the East Midlands has a chunky Labour vote and would be a big test for UKIP, who are doing well out of the latest outbreak of Tory sleaze stories. If they can’t win in circumstances like this, then where can they?

Data via UK Polling Report

UKIP Beat Tories to Second in Wythenshawe

The Guy Newsroom is celebrating last night’s by-election result after wagering a four-figure sum on UKIP coming second. The result was never in doubt and Mike “I’m perfectly happy Ed Miliband is leader” Kane is Labour’s new MP.

Labour: 13,261, 55.34% (+11.21%)

UKIP: 4,301, 17.95% (+14.51%)

Conservative: 3,479, 14.52% (-11.03%)

Liberal Democrat: 1,176, 4.91% (-17.44%)

The Lib Dems lost their deposit for the eighth time since 2010…

Contrary to Reports, UKIP Still On Course for Second

UKIP are having a tougher time than they expected in the Manchester by-election today, compared to their breakthrough in places like Rotherham. On the back of the latest polls, full expectation management seems to have finally kicked in and the narrative is about being neck and neck for third with the Tories. Meanwhile friends of Nigel Farage are a little more bullish, predicting they will come second with 18% of the vote. The LibDems might lose their deposit… 

Farage Accuses Labour of “Intimidatory” Tactics
Complains to Electoral Commission Over Battle for Wythenshawe

UKIP’s battle to challenge Labour in Wythenshawe and Sale East is turning nasty. Farage has written to Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, complaining that the current system of postal voting is biased in favour of UKIP’s opponents. He argues:

“I do not think democracy is being well served and fear that the voting process is now actually undermining the ability of constituents to hear and weigh-up the alternatives being offered in a considered fashion.

The problem is most acute when it comes to parliamentary by-elections. Our recent experience is that where the Labour Party is responsible for moving the writ, it has taken to condensing a campaign into the shortest legally-permitted time frame.

This means postal votes arrive in households within a few days of candidates being selected – often well before the mid-point in a campaign. In our experience people, for their own convenience, fill out and send off their postal votes swiftly…

So in practice in by-elections up to half the total turnout may have already voted by the halfway point in a campaign.

That cannot be healthy for democracy. Clearly it is also a development that biases the outcome in favour of the incumbent rather than parties, such as my own, that seek to place fresh alternatives before the electorate.”

He is also unhappy about electoral fraud and “intimidatory” tactics used by Labour doorsteppers.

“Very recently concerns have also been expressed to me about the work of an organisation called the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation which has allegedly been transferring the addresses of postal vote applicants that trade unions have processed directly onto the Labour Party computer system.

I am also hugely concerned about the growing practice whereby canvassers representing the Labour Party arrive on doorsteps a very short time after the delivery of postal votes, offering to collect them. Such actions in my view can only be construed as mildly intimidatory, especially where the voters concerned are from vulnerable groups.”

One week to go…

Labour Opt for Snap By-Election – Feb 13

Labour are clearly worried about the UKIP surges in recent by-elections – they have opted for snap poll in Wythenshawe and Sale East after the death of the well liked Labour MP Paul Goggins. The polling day of February 13 gives the parties just over three weeks to try dent the notionally safe Labour majority. After UKIP put the frighteners on in Rotherham and Eastleigh, it will be interesting to see what momentum they can pick up in such a short period of time.

Labour are defending a majority of 7,575:

2010 Result:
Conservative: 10412 (25.6%)
Labour: 17987 (44.1%)
Lib Dem: 9107 (22.3%)
BNP: 1572 (3.9%)
UKIP: 1405 (3.4%)
MAJORITY: 7575 (18.6%)

UKIP will be wanting that second place…

Graph via UK Polling Report.

Manchester By-Election: The Numbers

Sadly Labour MP Paul Goggins has died. The former Home Office Minister’s held the safe-Labour Manchester seat of Wythenshawe and Sale East with a majority of 7,575:

2010 Result:
Conservative: 10412 (25.6%)
Labour: 17987 (44.1%)
Lib Dem: 9107 (22.3%)
BNP:

[…]

David Miliband Back in South Shields

The real David’s majority has been almost halved…

Via Sky.

[…]

Awkward Ed Miliband By-Election Moments

Ed’s been out on the campaign trail in South Shields today. A gem from the PA write up of his day up north:

“Mr Miliband was greeted by Labour supporters as he arrived by Metro in the town and spoke

[…]

UKIP Bullish Over South Shields Second Place

The maths does not look great for anyone except Labour in the rotten borough of South Shields, but then that’s what was said about Rotherham where UKIP managed to come second last year. A spokesman for the party was boisterous […]



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