Eastleigh By election 2013

Eastleigh By election
The by-election was caused by the resignation of Chris Huhne after he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by saying his wife was driving his car when had been caught speeding in order to avoid losing his driving licence. Huhne was appointed as Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds on the 5th February, vacating the seat, and the by-election was called almost immediately for the 28th February. It was the first by-election in a LD/Con marginal seat since the formation of the coalition.

Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) 13342 32.1% (-14.4%)
Diane James (UKIP) 11571 27.8% (+24.2%)
Maria Hutchings (Conservative) 10559 25.4% (-13.9%)
John O'Farrell (Labour) 4088 9.8% (+0.2%)
Danny Stupple (Independent) 768 1.8% (n/a)
Iain Maclennan (National Health Act) 392 0.9% (n/a)
Ray Hall (Beer, Baccy and Crumpet) 235 0.6% (n/a)
Kevin Milburn (Christian) 163 0.4% (n/a)
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 136 0.3% (n/a)
Jim Duggan (Peace) 128 0.3% (n/a)
David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets) 72 0.2% (n/a)
Michael Walters (English Democrats) 70 0.2% (n/a)
Daz Procter (TUSC) 62 0.1% (n/a)
Colin Bex (Wessex Regionalist) 30 0.1% (n/a)
MAJORITY 1771 4.3%
Turnout 52.8% (-16.5%)
Maria Hutchings (Conservative) Educated at La Sainte Union Convent and London University. New business development consultant. Contested Eastleigh 2010. Mother of an autistic son who berated Tony Blair on a Channel 5 discussion programme during the 2005 election about the closure of special schools.
Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) Business and development manager. Eastleigh councillor since 2007
John O'Farrell (Labour) Born 1962, Maidenhead. Educated at Desborough Comprehensive and Exeter University. Comedian and author. Contested Maidenhead 2001
Diane James (UKIP) Healthcare consultant. Waverley councillor since 2006, elected as an Independent.
Iain Maclennan (National Health Action) Born 1958, Portsmouth. Educated at Christ`s Hospital and Manchester University. Retired GP and Royal Navy Medical Officer. Contested Portsmouth North 2010 for the Green Party
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
Daz Procter (TUSC) Secretary of the Southampton Shipping branch of the RMT
Michael Walters (English Democrat) Born 1955, Buckinghamshire. Educated at Witney Grammar School and Preston Polytechnic. Bus driver. Contested Dover 2010
Jim Duggan (Peace) Born 1940, Dublin. Works in the building trade. Contested South East 2009 European election, Horsham 2010
David Bishop (Elvis Loves Pets) Painter, decorator and poet – writing under the pen name of Lord Biro. Contested Tatton 1997, Brentwood and Ongar 2001, Erewash 2005, Haltemprice and Howden by-election 2008, Kettering 2010, Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election 2011, Feltham and Heston by-election 2011, Corby 2012
Colin Bex (Wessex Regionalist) Architect. Contested Windsor and Maidenhead 1979, 1983, Portsmouth North 1997, Wells 2001, Dorset South 2005, Witney 2010
Ray Hall (Beer, Baccy and Crumpet) Born 1939. Owns a silverware company
Kevin Milburn (Christian) Retired prison officer and church pastor
Danny Stupple (Independent) Chartered quantity surveyor
Comments - 54 Responses on “Eastleigh By Election”
  1. My prediction for the by-election-
    Thornton (Lib Dem)- 14, 673 (33.4%, –
    Hutchings (Tory)- 11, 135 (25.3%)
    James (UKIP)- 10, 536 (23.9%)
    O’Farrell (Labour)- 5, 563 (12.6%)
    Walters (Eng Dem)- 433 (0.9%)
    Peace- 366 (0.8%)
    TUSC- 305 (0.6%)
    National Health Action Party- 244 (0.5%)
    Independent- 198 (0.4%)
    Christian- 177 (0.4%)
    Monster Raving Loony- 154 (0.3%)
    Wessex Regionalist- 65 (0.1%)
    Beer, Baccy and Crumpets- 55 (0.1%)

    Turnout- 43, 904.
    Majority- 3, 538 (8.0%)

  2. LD 33
    UKIP 26
    Con 25
    Labour Not A Lot

  3. Ladbrokes mid points have shifted again, now

    Lib Dem 34
    Conservative 27
    UKIP 26
    Labour 11

  4. UKIP 33
    LD 32
    CON 29
    LAB 12
    OTHER 24

  5. I’ll repeat the prediction I made in another place, (although it probably overestimates the Conservatives given more recent information):

    UKIP: 12,881
    LD: 12,859
    Con: 12,143
    Lab: 4,870
    Others: 1,161

  6. I am going to revise my prediction because turnout appears to be higher than I expected:

    Turnout 50%

    Lib Dems 32%
    Con 25%
    Ukip 25%
    Labour 12%
    Stupple 2%
    NHS 2%
    Others 2

  7. My prediction has always been that turnout would be about 55%. I haven’t heard any news from the count yet about it.

  8. I’ll repeat my prediction too from another place (and from the old Eastleigh thread in this place)

    LD 30.9
    UKIP 28.5
    Con 26.1
    Lab 10.8
    Ind 1.4
    Oth 2.3

  9. Official turnout is 52.8%.

    Yesterday it was announced that the electorate was 79,004 but today that’s transmogrified into 80,775 which means 42,649 voters.

  10. I’d be willing to bet that Maria defects to UKIP at some point before 2015.

  11. Result:

    Lib Dems 13,342
    Ukip 11,571
    Con 10,559
    Labour 4,088

  12. LD: 32.1%
    UKIP: 27.8%
    Con: 25.4%
    Lab: 9.8%
    Ind: 1.8%
    Health: 0.9%
    Crumpet: 0.6%
    Christian: 0.4%
    Loony: 0.3%
    Peace: 0.3%
    Elvis: 0.2%
    EngDem: 0.2%
    Trade Union: 0.1%
    Wessex: 0.1%

  13. There are reports that Ukip did well particularly in Central Eastleigh.

    This is the only traditional Labour ward with terraced houses once occupied by railway workers. It doesn’t surprise me you could see there more Ukip posters there.

    I believe Lib Dems were harmed in this area by being in coalition with the Tories.

  14. Looking at the minor parties:

    Rather shocking for the English Democrats that they got beaten by the Elvis loves pets party.

    The crumpet party did fairly well.

  15. Cant wait to hear from Shaun tommorow.

  16. A very depressing result with potentially far reaching implications – ie. greater fragmentation of the right of centre vote. UKIP’s result is comparable with that of Roy Jenkins in Warrington in 1981.
    The chances of a Labour landslide in 2015 are now greatly increased.

  17. Well done to Mike Thornton and well done to Diane James.

    The Tories are in serious trouble here. ‘Modernisation’ is still not working. The Tory leadership need to wake up and realise that people who want liberal policies vote Lib Dem not Conservative no matter how left leaning and liberal we appear.

    I don’t think it’s fair to criticise Labour as they didn’t have a hope in hell of winning it and they knew that which is why they went easy on the campaign.

    The success of James may have far reaching implications on the number of Tory members.

  18. I am very very upset about the Lib Dem win. A fantastic result for them and by extension a truely terrible result for the other main parties-and British politics too. Mike Thornton seemed to be the sub-standard candidate but still won actually rather easily, showing that those who have written off the Lib Dems in England at least are going to be dissapointed.
    For myself, I always thought the Lib Dems would retain 30-40 seats at the next general election, and I haven’t seen anything to change that predicition here.
    The one crumb of comfort really is that Prof. John Curtis was saying last night that a Lib Dem polling of around 33% would not show the party doing any better than the national opinion polls even in one of their strongest seats. In the end they ended up on almost exactly 33%.

    Delighted that UKIP came second really. If they or the Conservatives could have topped it by winning the seat, that would have been the only thing to make it perfect, for me.
    It is striking that just under 50% of voters in this constituency have actually voted FOR a UKIP-like candidate in this by-election, be that Diane Jmaes or Maria Hutchings. That is a poll rating that ‘David Cameron’s Conservative Party’ could only dream of in a seat like this. This is going to need some quick explaining from Cameron apologists though. The argument that right of centre agenda could not win an election appears to have been completely blown out of the water by the by-election. So has the view that the Conservatives must adopt a Cameronite ‘modernising’ agenda to win.

    Very very sorry for Maria Hutchings. I suspect her political career was ended last night-particularly now that she has been outed as being against much of the Cameronite agenda. Cameron holds grudges, he does not forgive those that cross him.
    But if they weren’t going to win the seat, I’m glad the Conservatives came third behind UKIP. I hope it sends a shockwave through the party that brings them back to reality. David Cameron has now got to be booted out as leader, and the sooner the better. If that is the outcome, then defeat will have been well worth it. It was a truely disasterous result for David Cameron.

    The one candidate whose career DESERVED to be ended last night was John O’Farrell. He put in a truely dire performance that should be deeply humiliating for the Labour Party. Not to win the seat would be entirely expected. Not to come second would have been reasonable. Not to increase the vote more than UKIP would have been a little concerning. But to almost preside over a fall in the Labour vote from the 2010 election DEFEAT shows a scale of rejection that I don’t think any of us had ever expected. If this is a test run for Ed Miliband’s “one nation” strategy, then bring on the election.
    It will also be the second time that O’Farrell’s candidature has turned off even Labour inclined voters. He presided over a debacle at Maidenhead-but I suspect he rather enjoyed that to see Theresa May in trouble with Labour voters voting tactically. But this will be much more serious for him and for the Labour party. They should have been on a minimum of 20% to be able to show they are on course to win a general election. And they couldn’t even manage 10%!

    This by-election has long-reaching consequences for all the parties. I’m devastated that the Lib Dems won. They certainly didn’t deserve to, but it seems if you were going to choose a seat the Lib Dems could win in any circumstances, Eastleigh might well have been it.

  19. Naturally, I am in full agreement with LBernard.

  20. The 2 (or however many) wings of the Tory Party will come up with contrasting reasons for what is a poor Tory result. Shaun etc. will continue to argue for even more right-wing policies to try & head off UKIP, the Cameroons will perhaps point to Hutchings’ campaign & policies. The Labour result isn’t good but I’d beware of the sort of complacency that Shapps has shown – for one thing, it’s just a by-election, and I’d contend in a seat which is no way typical even of Southern England, and for another even if this poor Labour result were to be repeated in the whole country (which it clearly won’t be) there would be major Labour gains from his party, as well as UKIP winning seats from them (and I’m sure from other parties too). As I’ve said on the main thread, it does seem that the electorate here seems to have viewed the by-election as a sort of extended municipal election, which is surely not typical of most voters who would have much more of a view towards who is running the country, and how the economy and other important national (or sometimes international) issues impact them & their families. I think that after all the spin, the by-election doesn’t tell us a lot – it doesn’t even tell us that the LDs will necessarily be able to hold on to some apparently similar seats, in which national issues will be far more important than dogshit (as the highly-esteemed H.Hemmelig would doubtless say) or pavements/refuse collection/speed humps etc. – let alone make an impact in seats held by other parties. And it won’t give us any clue as to who will win in the seats which actually determine who will form the Government – of which Eastleigh certainly is not one.

  21. Incidentally, decent stab at guessing the result from Pete.

  22. An intriguing result on a number of grounds –

    1. UKIP nearly won, and may well have done so without postal votes. This was despite their obvious organisational gap compared to the other parties. If they can only get organised properly and rein in Farage’s destructive tendencies they can win the euro elections in 2014 – possibly handsomely.

    2. The Lib Dems’ defensive strategy worked, although their win in the end was slightly fortunate. This sets the likely template for their 2015 election approach – hyper-local campaigns and hope to get into a coalition again, probably with Labour.

    3. Labour’s strategy of trying to win in 2015 just in the Midlands and the North is confirmed. I expect them to help the Lib Dems a lot in the latter’s southern seats as an insurance policy.

    4. The Tories are giving their voters no reasons to get out and vote. This is in stark contrast to the 1980s when while times were tough Tory voters had things to hold on to – breaking of the unions, immigration control, a tougher international stance, economic reforms. Trying to govern in a centrist way, emphasising ‘all must suffer’ won’t get votes in ballot boxes. In this respect the Tories are repeating the mistakes of the mid-1990s when their economic policy was sensible in the round but hurt their own voters a lot. It was assumed as things came right the voters would return – they didn’t.

  23. Barnaby – can I, incidentally (since you are but a bystander!) implore people not to have that argument on here. Since the old guide site was winding down I didn’t really moderate it and lots of often ill-tempered political arguments started to infest it. I really don’t want them to extend onto here and will be moderating much more strictly.

  24. I actually think the Tories would have done worse if it wasn’t for Hutchings. A ‘modern Tory’ would have caused a UKIP victory. People here who switched from Tory to UKIP done so as they do not like the Notting Hill set. Unfortunately Maria got caught in the crossfire.

  25. Anthony – not surprisingly as a Labour supporter I quite enjoy the Tories of various hues knocking seven bells out of each other – but guys, you heard him. Keep it to pure psephology. I know that you think that your ideas of what a Tory candidate should be is psephology really, but it does tend to go into pure political argument.
    Anthony, my invoice is in the post first class.

  26. A brief summary

    LD – A good result to hold with a reasonable majority though I was hoping for 15.000 votes . We went for a safe choice of candidate and would IMO have done better going for someone like Louise Bloom but I understand the reasons behind the choice . Very very pleased to have defeated the concerted media campaign aimed at getting the Lib Dems to lose this seat .
    UKIP – A very good result well deserved by the most personable candidate despite holding some unpleasant views on immigration which only really surfaced at the last hustings . Farage would not have got as good a result if he had stood .
    Conservatives – A very poor result and a textbook case on how to waste the resources of a vast army of activists , campaigners and money ..
    Labour – A joke campaign .and the deserved poor result . They certainly came in 3rd place behind LD and UKIP in their 3 competitive wards , Perhaps not important in the greater scheme of the next GE but it indicates that their poll lead is soft .
    Others – As expected Stupple came 5th mostly on the back of Boorley homes NIMBYS .

  27. I posted back in early February about what each party needed to achieve:

    “Conservatives: need their vote share to largely hold up; evidence of a big shift to UKIP would be a problem”

    As it has proven. A terrible result for the Conservatives – not because their vote share dropped, which is unsurprising in a mid-term by-election, but because they lost votes to UKIP. Each time UKIP do a little better, more people will see them as serious contenders for seats, and are therefore more likely to vote for them at the general election.

    “Lib Dems: need to hold the seat.”

    Achieved. A good night for the Lib Dems, despite the fall in their vote. Clegg’s leadership is safe for a while longer, and that’s probably a good outcome for the party – a replacement nearer the date of the general election is likely to boost them more.

    “Labour: need to increase their vote share, to show they can squeeze the Lib Dems in LD/Con marginals, and that their vote isn’t going to defect to groups like the NHAP.”

    A lacklustre performance. Not a disaster; they don’t have to win or even do well in seats like this, but a tiny increase is unimpressive, and the party should start worrying about UKIP taking protest votes which might otherwise come their way.

    “UKIP: need to increase their vote share”

    And how! A fantastic result for UKIP. A win was always very unlikely, but they came close and took second. There’s a real chance that they could win a seat at a by-election in the right area.

    “National Health Action: need to at least save their deposit, if their hopes of making an impact on national politics are to go anywhere.”

    A damp squib. Labour will be pleased that this party looks to be going nowhere.

    The next by-election is Mid Ulster – Anthony, any chance of a page to discuss it?

  28. I hope Maria gets a (more) winnable seat next winnable seat for 2015. Shes obviously given absolutely everything, and was obviously very upset at the result, and I was upset for her. She might not be terribly eloquent, but she obviously represents real views and is a hard worker.

    The only positive note from our point of view is that the LDs didnt do well either and we still got a (albeit very small) LD->Con swing,

    I’m just terrified that the split on the right is going to lead to an Ed Miliband premiership. The thought of Balls and Miliband is enough to keep me up at night. We need to do something about it.

  29. I think we should give real thought to bringing in PR. You have to think that ourselves and UKIP combined would get close to 50%.

  30. “I’m just terrified that the split on the right is going to lead to an Ed Miliband premiership. The thought of Balls and Miliband is enough to keep me up at night. We need to do something about it”

    I’m prepared for it Joe. They will finish off what they started in 1997. Britain will be better under the two Eds. Just look at France, their left wing government is doing really well.

    I’ll stop there as I know Anthony is going to be stricter on what we are allowed to say!

    I share your thoughts on Maria Hutchings. I liked the fact that she wasn’t upperty or posh, just a normal mum with traditional Conservaive views and I hope she is given a safe seat in 2015.

  31. Warofdreams –

    Whoops, forgot to put it up. Here now:


  32. “I’m just terrified that the split on the right is going to lead to an Ed Miliband premiership.”

    While last night was a bad result for the Tories, I do not think this means they will lose the general election especially as this was an equally bad result for Labour (even if they were not expected to win).

    The by-election coverage mentioned that Ukip had done very well in central Eastleigh, correlating with what I saw on the ground. This is the poorest part of Eastleigh and the one traditional labour area. I suspect that many people in this ward previously voted LD to keep the Tories out and are now angry LDs are proping up the Tories in government. These previously tactical LDs voters have turned to Ukip. It is a really dire result for Labour that these voters did not turn to them.

    In Eastleigh more disillusioned Tories voters then disillusioned Labour voters turned to Ukip because there are more Tories numerically here. This is also obscured because many Labour voters previously voted Lib Dem tactically to keep the Tories out.

    I suspect the Tories kept as much of their traditional base as Labour so I wouldn’t translate this result into more Labour wins in Tory-Labour marginals

    Most of the votes Ukip got were protest votes – most of these voters will return to their natural home in the General Election (Labour or Conservative).

    By losing the tactical support of the Labour working class the Lib Dems hold on Eastleigh has been weakened. Although the Tories came third last night it is still possible, even likely they could win Eastleigh in the next general election.

  33. The closest comparison with this by election I can think of with regard to the UKIP performance is the Dundee East by election in 1973 where the SNP came so close, but failed and stated sctive in the seat afterwards and won it at the following GE. Dundee East would probably have stated a safe Labour seat if it hasn’t been for the by election. In the end it stayed with them even in their darkest days of the early-mid 80’s. Possible lessons for UKIP?

  34. “Each time UKIP do a little better, more people will see them as serious contenders for seats, and are therefore more likely to vote for them at the general election.”

    Ukip’s chances of winning By-Elections have gone up. And the Conservatives of winning by-elections have significantly gone down.

    Ukips chances of winning a seat in the General Election remain very low. No one is talking or thinking of Nigel Farage as Prime Minister!

    Most protest votes will go back to their natural homes in the general election. The Tories chances of winning the next general election are in my opinion unchanged and roughly equal to Labour’s.

    While as Barnaby said it is funny to see the right-wingers upset and worried about their votes being split, in my opinion they are worrying unnecessarily!

  35. “I think we should give real thought to bringing in PR. You have to think that ourselves and UKIP combined would get close to 50%.”

    Maybe now the Tories will support AV!

  36. As a Clarkite Tory, I agree with what many posters have being saying, things are now becoming very worrying.

    I’d hate to be a doomsayer, but I now know how Bennite socialists felt in 1981-82 when the SDP were on the rise.

  37. “Ukips chances of winning a seat in the General Election remain very low. No one is talking or thinking of Nigel Farage as Prime Minister!”

    I agree. But they don’t have to win even one seat to have a significant impact under FPTP – if they increase their vote share, those votes will principally come from the Conservatives, and significantly hurt Tory chances in the marginals.


    ‘While last night was a bad result for the Tories, I do not think this means they will lose the general election especially as this was an equally bad result for Labour (even if they were not expected to win).’

    I can’t quite agree with that. Labour did manage to increase its vote – albeit by a minute amount – despite UKIP’s momentum.. The result does represent a 2-party swing to Labour of 7% from the Tories and Libdems and would give them a comfortable majority nationally. I suspect that what happened yesterday was that many of the Labour voters who switched tactically to the LibDems in 2010, decided to switch again to UKIP. The question is – what will they do in 2015 – stay with UKIP? – back to voting LibDem tactically ? – back to Labour? Had there not been this UKIP surge, and had the contest remained a 3 party contest similar to the 1994 by election Labour would surely have had a good chance of polling 20%.

  39. Its all very well saying ‘what if’, but they didn’t poll 20% did they? They didn’t even poll 10%. Talk of any swing to Labour is ridiculous when they barely exceeded their worst ever result in this seat at the last general election. Bear in mind that Labour got not much under 20% even in 1983 and 1987

  40. I think that in th e wake of this disastrous result Cameron is going to have a lot of tough questions to answ er. The very fact that Hutchings came third tells me that the people of Eastleigh really did warm to her (!)

  41. AV? No, D’Hondt PR yes. I think ultimatley we need to work with UKIP and have a coalition where all of the right has a say.

  42. Pete is quite right, of course. It clearly is a poor result for Labour. But I’d contend that that’s all it is – it tells us very little else, and can in no way portend what might happen in the country as a whole, especially not away from the South of England.

  43. My prediction wasn’t too far out from the actual result. I went for LD 31, UKIP 28, CON 26, LAB 11, OTH 4.

    LDs will no doubt be relieved to hold on. A spectacular result for UKIP which they will no doubt use to gather momentum for the council elections in May. A poor Conservative performance but not a total disaster. I think they will recover here by 2015.Not surprised by the Labour result. This was never a realistic prospect for them. They may have a shot in a Portsmouth South by-election if the allegations against Mike Hancock are true.

  44. The Labour result is meaningless, just as their performances in the Newbury, Christchurch and Winchester by-elections were.

  45. Labour couldn’t really be expected to do well here.
    The political environment in the seat has changed somewhat since the 1990s.
    although we might expect them to overwhelm even that if they were about 20%+ ahead nationally.

    A pretty standard reverse for the main Government party at a difficult time for the Tories – but one they need to take on board very seriously, given this was a seat they were still about 13% down on 1992 even in 2010.

  46. “The Labour result is meaningless, just as their performances in the Newbury, Christchurch and Winchester by-elections were.”

    I don’t agree that this is comparable with them as the situation is totally different with both LDs and Conservatives in government. In those cases Labour voters could happily vote for another opposition party on the grounds that they were helping to defeat the Tory government. Here they were the sole ‘main’ opposition party yet they couldn’t attract any additional support from their dire 2010 result – and actually have lost voters to UKIP. The government parties lost 28% and Labour went up by 0.2%. I wouldn’t overstate it as some kind of calamity for Labour, but I wouldn’t say it is meaningless either

  47. Pete,
    do you have figures for how this seat voted in 1992?
    I think you have sent it to me
    but I’ve got major problems with a virus at home/computer being basically rebuilt.

  48. The virus of course completely irrelevant – what I was saying is I haven’t got a working PC at home
    so am restricted to looking on my phone etc.

  49. Is it possible to get the by-election results split by ward?

    If so how can I do this?

  50. They can only be estimated using local election results. Regrettably votes from each ward have to be mixed at the count.

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