The day’s finally here: that one day in December that brings joy and delight to all – the 2021 parliamentary by-election for Old Bexley and Sidcup. Voters head to the polls today following the political parties throwing in the kitchen sink in an attempt to repeat the upset of Chesham & Amersham. Well, when Guido says ‘the parties’, one has been less conspicuous…
What has Labour been doing? For starters, Sir Keir has never tweeted the word Bexley, let alone visited the constituency during the by-election. On the day of Sir David Amess’s Westminster funeral, the party ceased campaigning for the entire day, while the Tories just downed their clipboards and leaflets for 80 minutes.
Another absence is arguably less excusable: Sadiq Khan’s. Despite Bexley being a London constituency, Sadiq apparently being Labour’s most popular asset down south, and it being a mere 30 minute train ride from City Hall, the mayor’s made no appearance during the campaign. Does Southside, in fact, know Sadiq’s popularity struggles outside the centre of the city? Or does the mayor not have much love for London’s outer ring?
Bexley is currently facing a triple whammy of the Outer London Tax, the ULEZ expansion and his failed tri-borough policing strategy. Still, he’s been less absent than his boss. Sadiq did at least find time to do some campaigning, via the phone:
With just two days left till the Old Bexley & Sidcup by-election, good to hit the phones for @danfrancis02 tonight.— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) November 30, 2021
Daniel would be an excellent champion for the community. If you live in Old Bexley and Sidcup - this Thursday - #VoteLabour 🌹 pic.twitter.com/d5UFDztTJe
If Labour improves on their 23.5% vote share from 2019, it won’t be anything to do with their effort on the ground…