By-elections - 9th October 2014

Caused by the death of Labour MP Jim Dobbin on the 6th September 2014, while on a Parliamentary trip to Poland. The by-election was set for the 9th October, already set to be the day of the Clacton by-election. Labour were expected to hold the seat comfortably and polls during the campaign showed them with a 19% lead over UKIP. In the event they held it only very narrowly.

Liz McInnes (Labour) 11633 40.9% (+0.8%)
John Bickley (UKIP) 11016 38.7% (+36.1%)
Iain Gartside (Conservative) 3496 12.3% (-14.9%)
Anthony Smith (Liberal Democrat) 1457 5.1% (-17.6%)
Abi Jackson (Green) 870 3.1% (n/a)
MAJORITY 617 2.2% (-10.7%)
Turnout 36% (-21.5%)
Liz McInnes (Labour) Clinical scientist. Rossendale councillor
Anthony Smith (Liberal Democrat) Businessman
Iain Gartside (Conservative) Educated at Salford University. Bury councillor since 2004.
John Bickley (UKIP) Born 1953. Businessman. Contested Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election
Abi Jackson (Green) Educated at Cardinal Langley High School and Huddersfield University

Clacton By election
Caused by the resignation of Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Conservative party to UKIP on the 28th August and immediately resigned his seat to fight a by-election for his new party. Carswell was the first defecting MP to resign to fight a by-election since 1982 and the first to successfully hold his seat under his new colours since Dick Taverne. The Conservatives called the by-election for the 9th October, immediately following their party conference. Carswell won the by-election easily, providing UKIP with their first elected MP.

Douglas Carswell (UKIP) 21113 59.7% (n/a)
Giles Watling (Conservative) 8709 24.6% (-28.4%)
Tim Young (Labour) 3957 11.2% (-13.8%)
Chris Southall (Green) 688 1.9% (+0.7%)
Andy Graham (Liberal Democrat) 483 1.4% (-11.5%)
Bruce Sizer (Independent) 205 0.6% (n/a)
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 127 0.4% (n/a)
Charlotte Rose (Independent) 56 0.2% (n/a)
MAJORITY 12404 35.1%
Turnout 51% (-13.2%)
Tim Young (Labour) Born Clacton. Educated at Clacton County High School. Colchester councillor since 1992. Selected as Labour candidate for Colchester in 2001, but stepped down over a driving conviction.
Douglas Carswell (UKIP) Born 1971, Westminster. Educated at Charterhouse and the University of East Anglia. Former corporate development manager. Contested Sedgefield 2001 for the Conservatives. Conservative MP for Harwich 2005-2010 and, after boundary changes, Clacton 2010-2014. Defected to UKIP in 2014, immediately resigning his seat to fight a by-election
Giles Watling (Conservative) Born 1953, Chingford. Actor and theatre director. Tendring councillor since 2007
Chris Southall (Green) Engineer and smallholder. Contested Clacton 2010
Bruce Sizer (Independent) Educated at Birmingham University. Consultant oncologist
Andy Graham (Liberal Democrat) Former teacher. Actor and writer. East Hertfordshire councillor 1995-2011
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) Real name Alan Hope. Born Mytchett. Publican. Leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party since 1999. Contested Teignbridge 1983, 1987, 1992, Aldershot 1997, Eddisbury by-election 1999, Kensington and Chelsea by-election 1999, Brent East by-election 2003, Hartlepool by-election 2004, Aldershot 2005, Blaenau Gwent by-election 2006, Sedgefield by-election 2007, Norwich North by-election 2009, Witney 2010, Barnsley Central 2011, Bradford West 2012, Manchester Central 2012, Eastleigh 2013, South Shields 2013
Charlotte Rose (Independent) Sex worker and sexual trainer
Comments - 135 Responses on “By-elections – 9th October 2014”
  1. I don’t predict it either Andy, mainly because I don’t see how Labour can dip below 35% without a Lib Dem swingback of proportions that no-one can credibly argue are likely.

    But if Labour can win a fair majority on 35.2%, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that they could win a tiny majority if they were to fall back to 33.3%.

  2. “A 36% turnout that is what hurt Labour not UKIP”

    Speaking only from experience up here in the North, not as a psephologist, low turnouts normally help the Labour Party as the core vote turns out regardless of weather, apathy, etc.

  3. I was surprised by how poorly Labour did in Heywood and Middleton.

  4. That’s the usual rule Malcolm.

    But speaking as an amateur psephologist who sees Bedfordshire as being part of “the north”, and assuming UKIP’s national VI holds steady (it could conceivably move significantly in either direction), I’d expect Labour to win by around 4,000 votes in the GE. In this instance the “casual UKIP” vote would have turned out in far greater force than the “casual Labour” vote, which will I’m sure be far less complacent once it dawns on them just how close their candidate came to defeat.

  5. my clacton prediction vs reality:

    my prediction reality

    UKIP: 54 60 (+6)
    Con: 28 25 (-3)
    Lab: 13 11 (-2)
    Green: 3 2 (-1)
    Lib: 1 1 (=)
    other: 1 1 (=)

    Looks like I did OK, labour took a proper good beating however. I feel like the electorate as a whole is moving towards the right and immigration is fueling it.

  6. “Labour will win Heywood and Middleton by at least 15%. UKIP do not have sufficient strength on the ground and without wanting to give too much away Labour have devised a rather clever way of getting their vote out on the day.”

    Since this ‘clever’ system didn’t seem to work very well after all, do you mind telling us what it was?

  7. “Labour have devised a rather clever way of getting their vote out on the day.”

    Did this ‘rather clever’ system involve 617 blank ballot papers and a pencil?

  8. Don’t be silly.

  9. I think we can safely disregard ‘on the ground’ views from one source at least after the H&M result.

  10. A comment by a Labour activist on another place:

    “One other aside which may be relevant, a Labour organiser who has been up to Heywood told me that Jim Dobbin bequeathed a non-existant campaign infrastructure, with very low voter ID, and so this campaign basically had to start from scratch whilst losing key paid workers to Scotland.”

    I would guess such feature is common to other CLPs in “safe” seats. The ones thinking that campaigning means only going around with a megaphone shouting “vote Labour today”.
    Catching one of them off guard is easier because when they release there’s a threat, they don’t know where to start.

  11. That does make sense. Until this year’s elections, none of the wards in this constituency were really marginal, except to a certain extent S Middleton. The Tories were safe in Norden & Bamford, Labour in all the other wards. The local elections this year, in which UKIP came very close in several wards, should have sounded a warning which perhaps was heeded too late. The likelihood is that in Rochdale all Labour campaigning was heavily geared to the Rochdale constituency itself rather than H&M.

  12. That’s slightly at odds with the assurance we had that Labour’s ground game in H&M was good and they had a clever GOTV system.

    Or is this just another excuse now that they have had a bad result?

  13. Lack of Labour voter ID was also true in South Shields and UKIP surged. I assume Mr Nameless will now show some humility when others disagree with his predictions. Arif Ansari just challenged the new MP that everyone mentioned immigration to him and Frank Field MP has said Labour has neglected its voters on that issue and its consequences.

  14. I think Labour strongholds are likely to be proportionally more vulnerable to this form of attack than some Tory ones as well – at least in that the larger, more affluent, more rural Conservative bases it’s harder to put together street momentum as the pop density is lower and there are fewer desperate protest voters feeling the squeeze. Clearly then there’s a second category of safe Tory seat, run down agriculture and coastal poverty, that’s ideal UKIP territory, but there are only a certain number of those.

  15. There has to be a real chance now after these poor results that Labour will feel it has no choice but to mount a major campaign effort at Rochester & Strood next month – even if the effect of doing so helps the Tories somewhat.

  16. On the basis of last night’s results Labour is in danger of seeing its vote share in R&S drop to around 15%. Do they care though?

  17. It appears not much – a small overall Labour majority on 33% and slightly lagging in the national vote is where we are heading unless the Tories get their votes back.

  18. See my post yesterday lunchtime!

    It might have been better for Labour if they had lost I suspect their apparatchiks in London are too ensconced in their own world to take this result with the seriousness it deserves. If Labour had actually lost they might have been forced to take notice.

    If Labour can only just hang on to this seat there must be a considerable number of others in which they are at very serious risk, not least the clutch in South Yorkshire which includes Doncaster North.

  19. “a small overall Labour majority on 33% and slightly lagging in the national vote is where we are heading unless the Tories get their votes back.”

    It seems that way, though I remain sceptical that Labour will get a majority. I’m pretty convinced that we will have a Labour led government of one form or another however.

    Trying to look on the bright side, there are two crumbs of comfort for me personally

    1. We won’t be leaving the EU – this would damage my business (though I’m less sure of the overall cost/benefit to the UK in total)

    2. I’ll win my bet with Robin Hood

    However I fear the SNP’s “reforms” to stamp duty (reported on the news yesterday) are a harbinger of the kind of taxes which anybody earning over £30-40k per year can expect in the next 5 years. We are about to see the first Labour government that hasn’t been frightened of middle England since Attlee. It will be squeaky bum time for anyone on a reasonably good income and there will be a new brain drain.

  20. ‘Time to end it all now’

  21. LOL

  22. ‘We are about to see the first Labour government that hasn’t been frightened of middle England since Attlee. ‘

    I don’t see that at all. Labour’s timidity owes everything to fear of alienating middle England. Milliband is somewhat to the left of Blair – but still well to the right of Wilson/Callaghan/Gaitskell – indeed well to the right of Heath/Macmillan.

  23. “Milliband is somewhat to the left of Blair – but still well to the right of Wilson/Callaghan/Gaitskell”

    Both Wilson and Callaghan refused to implement wealth taxes, much to the anger of the Labour grassroots.

    Wilson and Callaghan were also quite right wing socially and much less pro European than Miliband.

    Gaitskell of course was never PM

  24. Runymede asks a good question about whether Labour care if they get under 15%. I suspect that Labour may not care if they do badly in this seat, which is quite disgraceful in a constituency they held until the last election. There has recently been relevant discussion on the Thanet South thread. Thanet South appears to be another of about ten seats (!!!) which Labour lost in Kent in 2010 and which they have no likelihood of regaining, and cynics would say they have little interest in regaining either.

  25. Well Wilson and Callaghan both presided over an 83% top rate of income tax, so if that isn’t a wealth tax, I don’t know what is. And I wouldn’t put Gaitskill in the same category as Willson and Callaghan. He tried his hardest to remove clause IV from the party constitution, something which Blair succeeded in doing 35 years later.

  26. Miliband is well to the left of Foot, and I mean that.
    At least old Labour had some roots in industry, however misguided the economic policies that led to a very uncompetitive economy in the 70s,
    and you can imagine having a pint with Foot.

  27. “Well Wilson and Callaghan both presided over an 83% top rate of income tax, so if that isn’t a wealth tax, I don’t know what is.”

    It isn’t. A wealth tax is a tax on wealth. Income tax is a tax on income.

  28. JJB – one can only conclude that you seem to be using a different definition of “left” to the rest of the world. Being able to have a pint with someone is, unbelievably, not a dead cert indication of right wing views, as much as Farage would no doubt like to copyright the activity!

    Adam – to expand on Hemmelig’s point, a wealth tax is on the total amount you own, an income tax is on how fast you can add to that (it’s not dissimilar to the much misunderstood difference between debts and deficits)…

  29. Lancs Observer,

    Yes, of course. All I can realistically say is that no trace of this level of UKIP support was evident on the ground where I was. There were few UKIP posters, no canvassers and few people indeed giving a UKIP VI.

    The major thing which may have affected my view was that I didn’t visit Middleton – larger and, so I’ve heard, more friendly to UKIP than Heywood.

    I don’t really like to do spin. I’m not here to divulge major chunks of electoral strategy or data, but I respect your collective intelligence enough not to lie. In this case, I was simply wrong.

  30. The traditional big three parties had an absolutely awful night last night in both seats.

    I didn’t see the result in Heywood coming, like everyone else. Once I saw Paul Nuttall pop up on the This Week special I just knew UKIP had got extremely close.

    As for Clacton, I predicted Carswell to get 56% but I was still nowhere near. Labour fell back massively there, but weren’t ever going to win being too far back in 2010. The Lib Dems did appallingly in both seats, though Clacton was never their territory in any case.

  31. At least they held a deposit in H&M.

  32. Some scant consolation though.

  33. The result in H & M didn’t surprise me, having gone to some trouble to try and get under the skin of what was really happening.

    However, I didn’t have the guts to post such a prediction here so I can’t expect to be believed. And I would have predicted a safer 45/37 if I’d got round to it.

  34. No surprise when many posters are rude towards other people’s opinions

  35. I was re-reading the comments on here.

    I think the DC Govt EU Referendum mailshot not only backfired (due to the cost of and partial nature of a Govt position), but it may have actually helped to get out some of those people who never vote in safe Labour wards.

    Whilst it was a while before polling day, we saw that even Labour Remain MPs ignored the council estates even in their safe seats and stuck to students and the more affluent suburbs. So the only contact some may have had (other than any ground locals who ventured that far) was this Govt booklet.

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