Not quite the Croydon Spring Lee Jasper promised as Labour held all three seats in last night’s by-election, but the main talking point is UKIP coming second in both Middlesbrough and Rotherham. Joyce Thacker isn’t the only reason voters are flocking to Farage’s party. The LibDems were decimated, losing their deposit in Croydon North and Rotherham, in fact coming eighth there. When the Monster Raving Loony Party beat David Owen’s SDP he folded up the party…
Outside of the Leveson bubble there are some actual, real, political events also going on today. Perhaps most interestingly the by-election in Rotherham. Labour’s nerves are reaching a crescendo, and not just due to the prospect of the Homeland candidate splitting the left-wing vote. This morning Peter Watt warns that the party are losing votes to UKIP by the bucket full:
“UKIP will take votes from Labour as well as the Tories in Rotherham today…the assumption that UKIP is just a threat to the Tories is dangerous and the fact that the Rotherham foster-carers were former Labour voters is not really a surprise. The quicker we wake up to the fact that most voters are not like people who attend Labour party meetings the better. Some of them even read the Daily Mail.”
While Harry Wallop notes in the Telegraph:
“Today, Rotherham goes to the polls in a parliamentary by-election. That all the talk is about Ukip rather than Labour, which has provided the town’s MP since 1933, is a remarkable turn of events…Despite the momentum, Ukip is still small, with a mere 19,000 members – the equivalent of just a few tables of pub drinkers in each constituency. But these sums appear to hold little truck in Rotherham, where the lack of jobs and prospects are the main concerns.”
UKIP’s price in Rotherham has come in to 8/1. Guido reckons that Labour are still going to take their ‘safe seat’, but numbers are going to be very, very interesting…
The pressure on Labour’s struggling Rotherham campaign has clearly not let up. Orders went out yesterday evening for HQ staff to completely decamp to the seat:
Where possible I want as many staff from our London head office to try and help in Rotherham. Given the distance, we are asking people to go up Wednesday, stay the night and be ready to get the vote out on Thursday.
Guido has a feeling that both the bookies and Labour are being over-cautious after the Bradford blindsiding, but the feedback on the ground can hardly be very positive if a broke party are pulling out every stop to try and retain what should be a very safe seat. All together now R-E-S-P-E-C-T…
Join Ross Kemp as he travels to the mean streets of South London to meet ringleader of a notorious and radical gang known as ‘The Blairites’. Steve Reed is the name that strikes fear into the hearts of London residents, when he ran his extortion racket in Lambeth, nicknamed ‘The Council’, gang crime soared to record levels. Now he wants to expand his operation further south, taking on arch-rival Lee ‘the Croy Don’ Jasper, fighting for control. Kemp hasn’t come face-to-face to such a dangerous figure since the last time he spoke to his ex-wife…
Following Guido’s revelation earlier that Labour are diverting resources north to shore up their struggling Rotherham campaign, it now appears the wheels are really coming off. BBC Sheffield is reporting that their candidate has pulled out of tonight’s hustings.
Their correspondent James Vincent says Labour claim this has nothing to do with the council mess.
Of course not…
Labour insiders are getting nervous about Rotherham after this weekend’s Labour council omnishambles. With Respect’s Yvonne Ridley now at 5/1, Labour HQ are diverting resources from Croydon and Middlesbrough, fearing a Bradford style upset. All Labour politicians, staff and volunteers are being told to head to Rotherham instead of the other two constituencies. Buses are being laid on. Guido understands that Harriet Harman was meant to go campaign for Steve Reed in Croydon today, but is instead heading north. Sounds like they’ve been watching too much Homeland…
With Ladbrokes offering exactly the same price for Respect’s Lee Jasper upsetting Labour’s Steve Reed in Croydon, someone is going to get it in the neck if the upset falls there. Reed, a Marmite candidate from the start, is losing local support fast.
Labour are getting sweaty palms in Croydon North. Ed was down there yesterday, Chuka’s there today and constituents have already had to endure the likes of David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott.
With a 16,481 majority this should be a walk in the park for Labour, though unfortunately for them blunder-prone charisma-free Steve Reed is conceding ground to Respect candidate Lee Jasper. The musical Mancunian is causing a stir with the bookies, with his price coming in to 14/1. Steve Reed is still odds-on to win, but he is being he’s being made to work for it by the pincer movement of Respect and and the Tories.
Don’t forget, “Lee is a Muslim name”…
In without a doubt the most amusing news of an otherwise dull by-election results day, the LibDems came fourteen votes short of keeping their deposit in Corby. The humiliation was complete after two recounts and heated discussions between the LibDems, the returning officer and an electoral commission official. UKIP came third as Labour won back Louise Mensch’s old seat. Mr Mozzarella got closer to the LibDems than the LibDems did to UKIP. They’re having a whip round for Clegg’s candidate…
The people have spoken, and the undoubted winner of last night’s by-elections and PCC plebiscites is the increasingly anti-politics Guidoisation of the British public. Here are the key stats so far:
- Ed’s former deputy chief of staff Lucy Powell took Manchester Central with a turnout of 18.2%, the lowest turnout in a by-election since the Second World War.
The Guy Newsroom have had issues in the past with Lee Jasper, who is now the Respect candidate in Croydon North, but we love this:
Steve Reed, the cowardly Labour candidate, is worried about the fight. With the demographics of the seat, he is right to be: it’s perfect for a Respect upset.[…]
Labour’s newly selected by-election candidate for Croydon North is clearly not very confident about his victory chances. Lambeth Council Leader Steve Reed has announced that he will not resign his position unless he wins the nearby seat. The hard-working people of Lambeth will be paying for Reed to campaign for the Labour Party rather than representing them.[…]
The Tories are always denying that UKIP are a threat, but once again the cat has been let out of the bag. Over in Maidenhead they have suffered an embarrassing council by-election defeat at the hands of their LibDem counterparts. Simon Werner beat his blue opponent Catherine Hollingsworth by a grand total of eight votes, as the UKIP candidate took dozens of votes away from the Tories. […]
Smiles all round in Corby as Ed Balls stepped out into the sun to support Labour candidate Andy Sawford this morning. The slightly forced expression on the shadow chancellor’s face got Guido thinking: it turns out that back in 2009 Sawford wrote a damning article for the Guardian accusing the government of presiding over a shambolic response to the infamous Baby P case.[…]
With the news this morning that Energy Minister John Hayes has declared “enough is enough” when it comes to windfarms, Telegraph writer James Delingpole is bowing out of the Corby by-election race, where he was standing as a single issue candididate:
“What would be the point?
When it was announced that Brownite boot-boys Tom Watson and Ian Austin would be the campaign managers for Labour’s by-election in Corby you knew it would not take long to get dirty. Despite being way ahead in the polls and likely to take the seat, it seems dishonesty is the order of the day on the ground.[…]