SW1 will be waking up disappointed this morning after the Bexley by-election result created a far-from interesting narrative. The Tories won with an impressive – given the context – 20.4% majority. This is, however, down from 2019’s 41.1% majority and Labour saw a swing to them of 10.2%, so they will also be happy. Reform UK’s third-place showing with over 6% will have given Richard Tice an early Christmas present. As expected for a midterm by-election turnout collapsed to 33.5%.
While Labour may be pleased, Guido pointed out yesterday that neither Starmer nor Sadiq had visited the constituency during the by-election, and sources informed Guido that neither man had appeared on any of Labour’s leaflets. One Tory source this morning suggests the result would have been much better for them had the two men shown their faces:
“Keir and Sadiq played a blinder by not bothering to make the 30 minute trip down to Bexley. Their names are absolute dirt down there and if they’d turned up Labour would have got a lower vote share than Corbyn.”
Reform UK said their result is very good and “solid growth on which to build”:
“There will be a lot of Red Wall Tories looking at this result and at North Shropshire then at their majority and feeling very uncomfortable. Good, they should.”
Now on to the much more exciting North Shropshire poll on the 16the…