Newark by-election 2014

Newark By election
The by-election was caused by the resignation of Patrick Mercer. Mercer was caught in a Panorama/Telegraph sting operation in 2013 where he agreed to take money in exchange for asking questions about Fiji.
A subsequent Commons investigation found Mercer had deliberately evaded the rules of the House and recommended a suspension. When news of the coming suspension broke Mercer immediately resigned from the Commons on the 30th April. The by-election was held on the 5th June 2014, shortly after the European elections. It was the first by-election held under the new longer timetable introduced under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.
Following the announcement of the by-election there was speculation that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage would run as a candidate but this was rapidly ruled out, with the sitting UKIP MEP Roger Helmer instead being nominated. Both Labour and Conservative parties had prospective Parliamentary candidates already selected. The seat was comfortably held by the Conservative with UKIP taking second place. The Liberal Democrats finished sixth, behind the Greens and an independent candidate.

Robert Jenrick (Conservative) 17431 45% (-8.9%)
Roger Helmer (UKIP) 10028 25.9% (+22.1%)
Michael Payne (Labour) 6842 17.7% (-4.7%)
Paul Baggaley (Independent) 1891 4.9% (n/a)
David Kirwan (Green) 1057 2.7% (n/a)
David Watts (Liberal Democrat) 1004 2.6% (-17.4%)
Nick the Flying Brick (Loony) 168 0.4% (n/a)
Andy Hayes (Independent) 117 0.3% (n/a)
David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis) 87 0.2% (n/a)
Dick Rodgers (Common Good) 64 0.2% (n/a)
Lee Woods (Patriotic Socialist) 18 0% (n/a)
MAJORITY 7403 19.1% (-12.4%)
Turnout 52.8% (-19.6%)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative) Born 1982. Educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and Cambridge university. Solicitor and former Managing Director of Christies. Contested Newcastle-under-Lyme 2010.
Roger Helmer (UKIP) Born 1944, London. Educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Southampton and Cambridge University. Businessman. MEP for the East Midlands since 1999. Elected as a Conservative, he announced his intention to stand down as an MEP in 2011, but instead defected to UKIP.
Michael Payne (Labour) Educated at Lancaster University. Gedling borough councillor. Nottinghamshire county councillor since 2013.
Paul Baggaley (Independent) Born 1954. Secretary of a local hospital campaign group
David Kirwan (Green) Trade Union officer
David Watts (Liberal Democrat) born 1966, Batley. Educated at Huddersfield Polytechnic. Lecturer and qualified solicitor. Broxtowe councillor since 1999. Contested Broxtowe 2005, 2010.
Nick the Flying Brick Delves (Loony) Shadow Minister for the Abolition of Gravity. Contested Derbyshire West 1997, 2001, 2005, Crewe and Nantwich by-election 2008, Derbyshire Dales 2010, Oldham East and Saddleworth 2011 by-election
Andy Hayes (Independent) Disability campaigner
David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis) 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 by-election 2012, Eastleigh by-election 2013
Dick Rodgers (Common Good) born 1946. Former Orthopaedic surgeon and clergyman. Contested Hartlepool by-election 2004, Dunfermline and West Fife by-election 2006, Henley 2008 by-election, Birmingham Northfield 2005, 2010. Contested West Midlands Region in 2004 European elections.
Lee Woods (Patriotic Socialist)
Comments - 515 Responses on “Newark by-election”
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  1. That Patriotic Socialist looks like a character.

    Interesting to see no Lib Dem candidate yet selected. This doesn’t bode very well for them, since they only have a month to get someone in place, get their leaflets printed and get campaigning.

  2. When the Patriotic Socialist Party were first mentioned, I googled around for its scant and recent online presence and came upon a similarly puzzled thread on the urban75 forum which fell to musing on the various ever-splitting groupusules of the Far Right and/or Left. I was particularly taken by this exchange:

    love detective: What news of the British Workers Party these days Chuck?

    Spanky Longhorn: It decided to suspend political activity and now runs a regular reggae and pub rock night upstairs at the Cheadle Working Mens Club

    The39thStep: A couple of them are involved in the ant fracking protests in Salford. Irish Gary is off to Thailand for Xmas after he got paid out for some whiplash claim. I think Jonny Favourite is still doing cannabis farms.

    It’s a whole world out there, isn’t it?

    I vaguely seem to remember David Bishop beating the Liberal Democrats in a recent local by-election. So maybe they’ve decided not to bother.

  3. It’s suprising the LDs haven’t got someone in place- I would have thought it quite obvious there would be a by-election at some point here…

    I know a lot of people will say that helmers opinions and well publicised comments won’t put off UKIP supporters but I can see it impacting the votes of a good few people…

    UKIP haven’t done themselves any favours here choosing him as he really just embodies the fruitcake and loon stereotype with both his look and his outdated views… People warmed and voted for Diane james in Eastleigh because she was the opposite of that being eloquent, measured and friendly and not what you would initially expect from UKIP- helmer is just the opposite…

  4. Con 40
    Lab 27
    UKIP 23
    Lib Dem 10
    Others 10

  5. When do nominations have to be in?

  6. 4pm, Tuesday 13th May.

  7. H Hemmelig

    Further to our posts on the Newark constituency page -thank you Anthony for the Byelection Page – I agree with you that Roger Helmer will gain many Tory votes but will not pick up many working class Labour ones. Due to the bandwagon effect of the Euros, I believe Helmer will do very well but whether another close second for UKIP is good enough for them is debatable.

    On another matter, I saw the Bus Pass Elvis candidate on the Daily Politicsa few weeks ago and he was convinced Notts Co whom he supports would be relegated. He will be delighted thay have just secured their league one status!

  8. “but will not pick up many working class Labour one”

    Why do you think this?

  9. one thing that no one has mentioned is how well Mercer has come out of all this

    No public outcry following his actions which yet again make it easy for MPs to be portrayed as in a league of their own when it comes to stupidity and greed, no condemnation whatsoever from the newspapers, and nothing regarding his nauseating speech after he’d been suspended.

    Compare this to uproar when Messrs Riddick and Tredinnick got caught in 1994. Perhaps we now all expect our MPs to be crooks.

  10. @CotswoldTory

    He’s not exactly a fresh face either. Tory Euro trougher turned MP – smells worse than Munster cheese.

  11. Andy JS

    For the same reasons as H Hemmelig. Some working class Labour supporters may perceive Roger to be too posh and stuffy.

    Were he to win, he would resign as an MEP and may only be an MP for a short time until the GE but he may not mind as he wished to retire previously of course and more relevantly he would go down in the political history books as the first ever UKIP MP.

  12. “…he would go down in the political history books as the first ever UKIP MP.”

    Not quite, although he would be the first elected UKIP MP, Bob Spink having briefly served as a UKIP MP having defected in 2008.

  13. The average voter in this constituency is probably about 55 years old. Roger Helmer is 70, Robert Jenrick is 32, Michael Payne is 27/28.

  14. Bob Spink was never an official UKIP MP, he was a party member but disagreements with the leadership meant he never officially became a UKIP MP

  15. Someone better tell Wikipedia then!

  16. Call me old-fashioned, but I think 27 is really too young to be an MP. 32 is pushing it.

  17. People always cite the example of Pitt the Younger being PM at 24, but of course at that time most people died before the age of 50 so the comparison isn’t great. 24 then was probably equivalent to about 35 or 40 today.

  18. Joe R – I agree. The Tory PPC’s biog online amused me. I see he was a Solicitor for less than 2 years. What a waste of training and funding, although not quite as bad as medical doctors who become MPs aged 30. They seem to be following the Norwich model ie a very young MP will be compliant.

  19. In this day and age I hear a lot of people saying that they prefer their MPs entering Parliament around the age of 40 or so. Farage’s criticism of Tory and Labour MPs being a bunch of college kids seems reaffirmed if that’s how young their respective candidates are for this by-election.

  20. I mean I’m 27 and I wouldn’t dare put my name forward for candidate selection if I was a member of a party. Let alone standing as an independent. I value the wisdom and life experience of someone older than me to be an MP.

  21. Yeah I’m a complete political animal but wouldn’t dream of standing for parliament at 19 – even in ten years time I probably won’t be ready.

  22. Roger Helmer seems like a typical Upper Class Tory bigot from Central Casting so is ideal from Labour’s point of view – he will appeal to Tories being basically one himself, but might he be a bit too reactionary for the relatively moderate, well-heeled Tory voters of Newark?

  23. “Roger Helmer seems like a typical Upper Class Tory bigot from Central Casting so is ideal from Labour’s point of view – he will appeal to Tories being basically one himself, but might he be a bit too reactionary for the relatively moderate, well-heeled Tory voters of Newark?”

    It’ll be interesting to see your explanation of how Labour still don’t win it then!

  24. I’d say this seat is well down the list in terms of demographic factors likely to lead to a Labour seat

  25. Its exactly the sort of place where the type of recovery we see nationally labour just hasn’t happened.

  26. Shaun Bennett

    “It’ll be interesting to see your explanation of how Labour still don’t win it then!”

    Like I said, Helmer could be too much of a right-wing loon even for the Tories who may therefore stick with the official Tory candidate thus depriving Labour of a win on the basis of an evenly split right-wing vote – and that is the only chance they would have in what is a very tough seat for them.

    But Helmer is the last type who would appeal to Labour voters ( a real danger if UKIP put up one of their “pretend I used to be Labour and was brought up in a cardboard box in hole in ground” types like in Wythenshawe )

    So at least a good second place should be feasible – not a bad result for Labour in a seat like Newark.

  27. When you say Labour second, do you foresee Con/ Lab/ UKIP or UKIP/ Lab/ Con?

  28. Tory Candidate Robert Jenrick would have been expecting to coast to victory at the General Election next year after being selected last November.

    He had a decent result in Newcastle-under-Lyme where he stood in 2010 but this by-election will be completely different. not least exposing his lack of local credentials.

    If the Tories are humiliated I wonder if they have the ruthlessness to replace Jenrick as seems will be the case with Maria Hutchings in Eastleigh?

  29. Con/Lab/UKIP

    I think the Tories could hold on here, Labour a close second and UKIP a very close third – a bit like Eastleigh in that there will be very little separating the 3 parties.

    If the UKIP candidate was less of a bufoon than Helmer then UKIP might have let Labour in by default ( or if Farage himself had stood, maybe UKIP themselves could have won?)

    On the other hand they haven’t picked a candidate, like Diane James in Eastleigh, who is credible and could make inroads into the Labour vote ( even though that might mean taking the seat from the Tories causing bad headlines for Cameron – oh the contortions we get into with our beloved FPTP system!)

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the best Labour can hope for is a good second place and Helmer probably makes that more likely – I’m not like some of the other posters on this website who pretend Labour can win everywhere!

  30. For me Helmer embodies exactly the kind of “insane retired colonel” stereotype that UKIP have been trying to dissociate themselves from recently. And as an ex-Tory MEP he can hardly present himself as an outsider – another of UKIP’s big selling points.

    If UKIP thought the seat was winnable they would surely have stood Farage, or else a Diane James-type character who more closely resembled the “new UKIP.” Helmer himself has nothing to lose, but for him to win would truly require the kind of “political earthquake” that Farage has been going on about at least since he stood in Buckingham.

  31. whiff of sock-puppetry on this thread…

  32. There are a couple of us on here who know the constituency quite well, including myself having grown up in Notts and my sister having lived in Newark till recently. None of us appear to disagree that there is a fair chance of Newark electing Roger Helmer MP, albeit perhaps the Tories remain favourites. Nobody I have read with any knowledge of the area expects Labour to achieve anything above third place.

    All the crap about UKIP doing badly because Helmer is a buffoon is pretty obviously from trolls who know little of the area and are most likely posting from party headquarters. where has Myth11 gone to? Would be great to hear his opinion as he lives very close by.

  33. I thought I would pop up here to share a few thoughts.

    I can’t see Labour coming anywhere above third in Newark. I think that the Tories are the favourites but it would be wrong to write off Helmer. I can see him being quite appealing to the local electorate and is clearly the most experienced and qualified candidate in the field.

    Preliminary Prediction:

    Conservatives: 34%
    UKIP: 29%
    Labour: 26%
    Liberal Democrats: 7%
    Others: 4%

  34. i wouldn’t be amazed if labour pipped ukip into 3rd, with 25ish for both parties. I would put UKIP as 2nd favourites also.

    The tories are very lucky that it is not immediately obvious who the best challenger is. That makes this seat a lot harder to lose. Arguably more so than if UKIP hadn’t picked up so strongly in this parliament.

  35. The most important potential development regarding the by-election would probably be a constituency opinion poll (no doubt commissioned by Lord Ashcroft). If such a survey showed Con and UKIP within a few points of each other with Labour a clear third, it might impel some of the latter’s supporters to consider voting tactically, one way or another.

  36. I find it interesting that those ridiculing Helmer focus almost entirely on his views of homosexuality, an issue that very few people will care anything about in a place like Newark. Helmer is also a long-standing and outspoken advocate of the death penalty, and a bitter critic of green energy. If he’s smart he will build those two issues into his campaign and link them together with the way that the EU ties our hands on both issues. Could play very well with the demographic here.

    I’m opposed to Helmer’s views on almost all of these issues but it has to be accepted that I’m in a minority amongst Tory minded voters outside of London.

  37. I have lived in this constituency since 1977 and provide the following local input.

    Labour have no meaningful presence outside Newark/Balderton and imploded following the suspension of the local party in 1999. Some former members now sit as independent councillors.

    The Conservatives have also had divisions and lost probably their safest local County seat, Collingham to an Independent who was the wife of the former long standing Tory councillor. She publically stated that she believed that any NHS employee who signed a PFI contract should be shot. She remains extremely popular.

    The LD presence is limited to a couple of councillors who are elected as members because they have a proven track record.

    UKIP have no meaningful local presence.

    The major local issue is the status of Newark hospital and the transfer away of facilities from there to Kings Mill Mansfield, some 20 miles away, but up to two hours by public transport each way.

    Newarkers could be described as somewhat insular insofar as many do not regard the uphill Beacon Heights estate less than two miles from the centre of the town as being part of Newark.

    The only former colliery in the constituency was Bevercotes but most of the miners that worked there lived in Ollerton [ Sherwood].

    Mercer had been a popular MP until marital matters emerged.

    My feeling is that the LD vote, which was essentially rural, will implode with most going to UKIP. The question is how much of the Tory vote will be retained in this most conservative area.

  38. Such local information from H. Hemmelig and Beria makes me abandon the thought that it might be a Labour gain. The question of whether Helmer will take it remains up in the air.

  39. I feel somewhat duty bound to point you all to the spectacularly bemusing Patriotic Socialist thread over at VoteUK.

  40. All right, so the “retired colonel” characterisation was perhaps a little crude, but my main point is that as a former Tory MEP is unlikely to be best able to tap into the anti-politics sentiment that seems to motivate much of UKIP’s current support.

    I of course defer to those whose local knowledge is superior to mine, but for what it’s worth I don’t think Helmer’s candidacy makes much material difference to UKIP’s chances, which have always been remote. It does, however, get people talking about the party, which I suppose from their perspective is all to the good.

  41. I like Roger Helmer and Diane James. They are people who should be with us in the Conservative family. I think the Tories should be ok here and have a good candidate in place. As it’s after the May elections, i could probably help a bit.

  42. I concur with what Beria says. I was born at Kings Mill hospital. It’s pretty standard to have to travel 20 miles to a major hospital nowadays – same here in Sussex where I had to drive like a bat out of hell from East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells when my daughter was born last month and it still took us nearly an hour, my wife giving birth almost as soon as we got through the hospital door. I agree, if you rely on public transport as many old people do, you’re screwed unless you take a taxi or get a lift.

  43. 2 lib dem councillors. Something for Gloy to build expectations on.

  44. You might see me out there, Joe James B.

  45. Newark constituency census data, 2011:

    Total population: 98,937

    Total aged 18+: 78,885

    Total aged 50+: 40,169
    Percentage of voting age population aged 50+: 50.9%

    (a) This doesn’t take into account the fact that older people are more likely to vote.
    (b) The population will have aged slightly since 2011.

    Therefore the majority of voters voting in the Newark by-election will probably be roughly over 55 years of age.

  46. You can hear the dentures breaking in Eastbourne,.

  47. I’m so glad the Tories have got yet another Oxbridge professional standing here. There just aren’t enough of them in the HoC. Rolls eyes….

  48. @Beria

    Suspect for ordinary people it must be baffling that Newark Hospital isn’t linked to Lincoln.

  49. I find myself in agreement with H.Hemmelig above.
    Clearly a lot of people with an interest in propping up Labour and Tories would love to portray Helmer as a loon and UKIP as an extremist party.
    Frankly, you’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson by now. It didn’t work ahead of the county council elections last year, and it won’t work now.

    It didn’t even do anything to severely hit the BNP’s vote when Labour were in government-albeit, the BNP were quite capable to destroying themselves by actually being a party of thugs and extremists. But what hit the BNP finally was Labour moving into opposition, not playing the ‘extremist’ card.

    For those of us who support leaving the EU, it would be very nice if the main parties stopped playing these silly childish games and actually engaged UKIP with the ISSUES.
    Of course they know that when it comes to a battle of the issues, UKIP will win every time (which is why Clegg was so silly to try to take Farage on in a tv debate a few weeks ago. It was a battle he simply was never going to win).

    Speaking personally, I have always had great support for Roger Helmer. He was one of my two favourites when he was a Tory MEP, I supported him in his battle against the evil forces of CCHQ which led directly to his leaving the party whilst still sitting as an MEP, and on the rare occasions I disagree with him, I choose to simply keep quiet about it.
    Therefore I find myself having to admit that if I could vote in this by-election (which I can’t) I’d definately be voting for Helmer. He’s quite simply my favourite candidate. I can’t see me being particularly atypical of right-wing Tories or EUsceptic voters.

  50. Are you a member of UKIP now, Shaun?

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