Westminster and Local By-Election Preview : December 8th 2016

December 8th, 2016


Sleaford and North Hykeham (Con defence) to Westminster Parliament
Result of Parliament at last election (2015): Conservatives 331, Labour 232, Scottish National Party 56, Northern Ireland Parties 18, Liberal Democrats 8, Plaid Cymru 3, Green Party 1, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 12)
Result of constituency at last election (2015): Conservative 34,805 (56%), Labour 10,690 (17%), United Kingdom Independence Party 9,716 (16%), Liberal Democrat 3,500 (6%), Lincolnshire Independent 3,233 (5%)
EU Referendum Result (North and South Kesteven combined): REMAIN 58,617 (39%) LEAVE 91,607 (61%) on a turnout of 78%
Estimate vote in constituency: REMAIN 38% LEAVE 62%
Candidates duly nominated: The Iconic Arty Pole (Monster Raving Loony Party), Victoria Ayling (United Kingdom Independence Party), David Bishop (Bus-Pass Elvis), Jim Clarke (Labour), Paul Coyne (Independent), Caroline Johnson (Conservative), Marianne Overton (Lincolnshire Independent), Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrat), Sarah Stock (Independent*), Mark Suffield (Non Party Independent)
* Sarah Stock has been supported by both the Greens and the National Health Action Party

University and Scotsforth Rural (Lab defence) on Lancaster
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 29, Conservatives 19, Green 9, Morecambe Independents 2, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Laboour short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 605, 500, 480 (35%)
Green 555, 440, 417 (33%)
Conservative 405, 391, 339 (24%)
Liberal Democrats 143, 79, 66 (8%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 35,732 (49%) LEAVE 37,309 (51%) on a turnout of 73%
Candidates duly nominated: Xenia Aveyard (Green), Luke Brandon (Con), Nathan Burns (Lab), Pippa Hepworth (Lib Dem)

Maldon West (Con defence) on Maldon
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 28, Independents 2, United Kingdom Independence Party 1 (Conservative majority of 25)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Independent 1,303 (51%)
Conservatives 767, 692 (30%)
Green Party 498 (19%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 14,529 (37%) LEAVE 24,302 (63%) on a turnout 79%
Candidates duly nominated: Janet Carden (Green), Andrew Francis (UKIP), Martin Harvey (Con), Richard Perry (Fighting Unsustainable Housing Because We Care), Flo Shaughnessy (Independent), John Sweeney (Lab)

Madeley (Ind defence) on Newcastle under Lyme
Result of council at last election (2016): Labour 27, Conservatives 21, Independents 6, Liberal Democrats 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 2, Green Party 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Independent 1,115 (47%), Conservative 636 (27%), Labour 455 (19%), Liberal Democrat 87 (4%), Green Party 74 (3%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 25,477 (37%) LEAVE 43,457 (63%) on a turnout of 74%
Candidates duly nominated: Peter Andras (Lib Dem), Stephen French (Lab), Gary White (Ind), David Whitmore (Con)

Horsehay and Lightmoor (Con defence) on Telford and the Wrekin
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 27, Conservatives 23, Liberal Democrats 3, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,280, 950 (43%)
Labour 722, 661 (24%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 534, 498 (18%)
Liberal Democrat 221 (7%)
Green Party 193 (6%)
Libertarian Party 45 (2%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 32,954 (37%) LEAVE 56,649 (63%) on a turnout of 72%
Candidates duly nominated: Dennis Allen (UKIP), Robert Cadman (Con), Rajash Mehta (Lab)

Trench (Con defence) on Tonbridge and Malling
Result of council at last election (2015): Conservatives 48, Liberal Democrats 4, Independents 2 (Conservative majority of 42)
Result of ward at last election (2015) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,111, 1,009 (44%)
Labour 497, 451 (20%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 468 (18%)
Green Party 240 (10%)
Liberal Democrat 222 (9%)
EU Referendum Result: REMAIN 32,792 (44%) LEAVE 41,229 (56%) on a turnout of 80%)
Candidates duly nominated: David Allen (UKIP), Fred Long (Lab), Georgina Thomas (Con)


Boris can’t go on being overruled by Number 10 and remain as Foreign Secretary

December 8th, 2016

If it wasn’t for Labour TMay’s government would look shambolic

Ex BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson, hits the nail on the head with his Tweet this afternoon after another instance of the Foreign Secretary making a statement only for it to be countermanded by Number 10 shortly afterwards.

This latest one was about Saudi Arabia creating an ambivalent view which cannot, surely, be helping relations with the country.

Over a period when members of a government don’t speak as one an impression of incompetence starts to develop which is not good for any party reliant on people’s votes.

I’ve no idea who is at fault here – Mr. Johnson or his boss, Mrs. May. The former has a reputation for making striking statements while the latter is known, fairly or unfairly for her control-freakery. The impression from these ongoing incidents is that the semior members of the government don’t converse as much as you would expect them to.

At some stage Boris has got to find a way of working with the PM or he’ll have to go. Maybe the 6/1 that Ladbrokes is offering as him being the net cabinet exit is a good bet.

Ladbrokes Next Cabinet Exit betting


Mike Smithson


Guido says the Tories are bracing themselves for charges over Thanet South

December 8th, 2016


It could be the first where the Michael Crick C4 investigation has an impact

The big party expenses probe by the Electoral Commission that was triggered off by the series of C4 News reports by Michael Crick appears to be edging forward. Yesterday the Lib Dem were fined £20k by the Electoral Commission following a similar move some weeks back against Labour. The Crick investigation has looked mostly at the GE2015 expenses in crucial battlegrounds for the Tories. Guido writes:

“..The focus will be South Thanet where the Tories ran a highly professional “Stop Farage” effort deploying some of their top operatives… Guido sources say that Conservative HQ is bracing itself for the police investigation resulting in criminal charges.

South Thanet misspending a not an Electoral Commission matter. It is a police matter and potentially a criminal offence under sections 81, 82 and 84 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Back in June Craig Mackinlay, the Tory who beat Farage, failed to block police extending the time available for their investigation of his election expenses spending. The Tories – in a very rare move – tried to block the police from further investigating the campaign. Guido believes that the South Thanet campaign will prove to be the biggest overspend by any political party in any individual seat ever. Guido understands the Tories spent over £200,000 to stop Nigel Farage winning the seat…”

PB sources have also reported concern within the Tory HQ about other seats.

Quite where this would go electorally is hard to say but it looks set to be one of the big domestic political stories of 2017.

Mike Smithson


This might be reading it all wrong but the LAB vote share is the big interest tomorrow in Sleaford and Hykeham N

December 7th, 2016


Trump the Time magazine “Person of the Year” – it is hard to disagree

December 7th, 2016

Notice that’s he’s described as President of the “Divided States of America”


Day 3 of the Supreme Court hearing opens with the Government’s Betfair chances down to lowest level yet

December 7th, 2016


You can watch live here.

In the Commons today there is the debate on the Labour motion on the triggering of Article 50 and its neat amendment by the Government to accept the principle but links in a statement on the referendum outcome itself.

Whether TMay is able to set the process of extraction going by her self-imposed end March deadline isn’t clear. Her problem remains that a sizeable group of her own backbenchers are against her and that she does not have a Commons majority for doing it her way.

Mike Smithson


Thurday’s Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election – A certain CON hold or could we see a surprise?

December 6th, 2016


An opportunity for UKIP’s Doctor Nuttall?

While there’s been a huge amount of focus on Richmond Park the by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham has received far less attention – both from the parties themselves and the media.

The result from last time makes it difficult to see other than a CON hold on a very much reduced turnout. The fact that it is happening in December so close to Christmas is surely going to depress the number of voters who will bother to vote and this, just conceivably, could lead to a shock. The UKIP betting price has moved in although Betfair makes the Tories a 1/9 shot. UKIP latest are 21/2 while the LD are 44/1.

Surprisingly LAB, second last time, are right out of it in the betting.

The LDs, flush from their Richmond Park gain, have been active but nothing on the scale of their operation for last Thursday’s contest. UKIP have been working hard too in what will be the first electoral test under Dr. Nuttall’s leadership. On paper this should be ideal territory.

Ladbrokes have a 2nd place market up offering:-

2/5 UKIP
4/1 LD
8/1 CON

Labour being pushed to fourth would be bad news for Corbyn’s party.

Mike Smithson


The polls did NOT get BREXIT wrong: Only 41% had REMAIN leads. 59% didn’t

December 6th, 2016

Is it too much to expect Britain’s PR people to check simple facts?

One of the enduring myths from June 23rd was that the polls got it wrong. Some did but most in the official campaign period didn’t as shown in the chart.

That esteemed body that allegedly speaks for PR people, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), has announced it is holding an inquiry into polling specifically referencing GE2015 and the June 23rd referendum. Certainly the former was a big polling fail and there has been a major inquiry into what went wrong and many pollsters have made changes. Quite what PR men can add to the serious examination that has taken place is hard to say.

But the suggestion that keeps on getting repeated is that the polls got BREXIT wrong. This is rubbish as I keep on repeating. There were more LEAVE lead polls carried out during the official campaign period than REMAIN ones. The figures were 14 REMAIN leads, 17 LEAVE leads and 3 polls had it tied.

It is certainly true that two or three of the final polls were off the mark but the overall picture was reasonably good.

A big factor was postal voting which started more than three weeks beforehand and represented maybe a fifth of all votes. The greater the time gap between the act of voting and being polled is bound to increase errors.

Mike Smithson