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 Tories lost their deposit, and only beat UKIP by five votes.
- Almost 75% chose not to vote as Labour held Cardiff South.
- Tory Angus MacPherson won the Wiltshire PCC election on a turnout of 15.8%.
- Turnout in Coventry for the West Midlands PCC election was 10.9%.
- Some polling stations have reported turnout as low as 3%.
Meanwhile UKIP’s odds in Corby have come in from 120/1 to 6/1 and Prezza is under pressure…
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.
Then again, anyone who has ever come across Steve and his work will know that campaigning for Labour rather than representing the people has always been his mantra – not least with his poster campaign against government cuts that was paid for at the expense of other local services. Facile largire de alieno…
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. Council leader David Burbage in no doubt as to who is to blame:
“It is unfortunate that, largely thanks to UKIP, the residents of Pinkneys Green have missed out from electing a very effective councillor in Catherine Hollingsworth. The last thing that people who voted UKIP would have wanted would be a boost to the pro-EU Lib Dems.”
Fast forward to 2015 and we could be seeing a similar thing on a much larger scale…
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. The minister in question was then Education Secretary Ed Balls.
“Take the government’s botched response to the Baby P case, which has made matters worse and put more children at risk. While the government was throwing red meat to the tabloids, and contributing to the hounding of social workers, it has only served to undermine an incredibly important profession.”
All neatly forgotten today. They’ll make a politician out of him yet…
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? John Hayes has just gone and made my every dream come true. I’m overjoyed. In fact, I think I may well have run the most stunningly successful election campaign in the history of elections.”
Good news for UKIP who were angry at a split protest vote.
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. The campaign built for Andy Sawford – the son of a Labour MP turned lobbyist – focusses on an apparent threat to the local Kettering Hospital. Depending on which Labour leaflet you read (kindly paid for by Unison) the threat to local jobs in the area is either in the hundreds of the thousands.The problem is it is not true…
Any changes to South East Midlands NHS are overseen by clinicians through the Healthier Together program, who are looking at two options for restructuring health provision in the area. While Sawford cries about “major cuts to A&E, maternity, acute and children’s services at TWO of the five hospitals,” the local NHS explain what is actually happening: “Services such as A&E, maternity and outpatients would remain on all five sites under both options.” Sawford’s petition to save the hospital is nothing more than email and postcode harvesting.
UPDATE MONDAY: As Guido reported in the Daily Star Sunday yesterday, Sawford is in a right muddle about health:
HONESTY has gone out of the window in the Corby by-election to find a replacement MP after Louise Mensch quit. Labour’s candidate Andy Sawford, whose dad used to be an MP, is basing his campaign on saving the local hospital. This is despite the NHS board which runs it confirming there is no threat to it. The former lobbyist has not always been such a vocal defender of the health service, though. Back in 2009 he criticised plans to “ring-fence” the NHS budget from cuts, correctly claiming it only “postponed the pain” and that it “created an uneven playing field in local public service delivery”. You won’t see that on Sawford’s election leaflets.
If Grant Shapps’ first press release is anything to go by, not much has changed in the Party Chairman’s office over at CCHQ. Tory spinners are keen to point out that he has been kicking some arse in his first […]
CCHQ are briefing this morning that sadly Andrew Strauss has missed his chance to stand in the Corby by-election as the selection meeting is apparently this afternoon. They did not pour water on the idea of a 2015 bid though, […]