Tory Whips: Eastleigh "Will Not Be A Shoe In"

Guido has seen exchanges between the Government whips office and Tory MPs that would imply they are not expecting the Eastleigh writ to be moved for many months. Michael Fabricant, who seems to be in charge of the by-election again, reminds colleagues that the LibDems have three months to fire the starting gun. His background notes on the seat confirms that the Tory candidate will be Maria Hutchings, though he is rather gloomy about her prospects “although many constituents in Eastleigh will understandably feel that they have been let down badly by their Lib-Dem MP, this will not be a shoe-in [sic] for us.” Somewhat of an understatement…


Tory Joy at Prospect of Olly Grender For Eastleigh

Word reaches Guido that former lobbyist turned Clegg Downing Street spinner Olly Grender is being discussed as the LibDem nomination for the Eastleigh by-election. She’s got competition though from Dr Tim Leunig, formerly the chief economist at the liberal wonk-shop CentreForum, and now at the DfE, who is also said to be eyeing up the seat. Interestingly Olly was very quick to graciously mop up when yesterday’s news came through:

News of Grender’s quest for power has been greeted with exultant joy by Tories. One source says “she upset a lot of people when she was in Downing Street.” Apparently SpAds are “dusting down their dossiers” on her. The prospect of revenge is already tasting sweet.

UPDATE: Olly denies she is interested:

Then again, we’ve had a lot of fun with Olly’s denials before…

Silence From Tory Eastleigh 'Candidate'

All quiet on the Eastleigh front for the 2010 PPC turned “Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Eastleigh” Maria Hutchins. Despite her seat being the top of the news agenda, she hasn’t said a word about it all day. Not even a tweet.

Could it be that Maria won’t be the candidate again…

UPDATE: A Tory spokesperson has confirmed to Guido that they have yet to officially choose a candidate.

UKIP Hammer LibDems Across Britain

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…

Labour Haemorrhaging Votes to UKIP in Rotherham

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 8/1Guido reckons that Labour are still going to take their ‘safe seat’, but numbers are going to be very, very interesting…

Labour Orders Whole HQ to Rotherham

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…

Ross Kemp on Gangs: The Blairites

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…

Panic on the Streets of Rotherham Under Siege Candidate Pulls Out of BBC Hustings

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 Panicking About Rotherham HQ Diverting Resources North

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. […]


Express Yourself! Odds on Lee Jasper Win Shortening

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.[…]


Breaking: LibDems Lose Deposit in Corby UKIP Come Third as Labour Take Seat

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.[…]


Apathy All Round: The Stats So Far

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.


Vote Lee Jasper: The Ambient Musical Experience

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.[…]


Reed Refuses to Run Properly for Fear of Losing

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.[…]


Another Tory Admits UKIP Cost Them Election

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.  […]


Labour Corby Candidate’s Balls-Up

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.[…]


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