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”
  1. Difficult to read the tea leaves on this result, or perhaps more accurately we all have ways of reading them which tend to support own own pre-existing views. Whichever way one looks at this result though, surely this is fairly good news for the Conservatives and disappointing for UKIP and Labour. I think it tells us little about the GE in 11 months time, unless perhaps not to underestimate Conservative resilience (or ‘bouncebackability’ as Iain Dowie once memorably observed). For a true test of the Labour position, we’d need to observe a by-election in somewhere like Worcester or Rossendale and Darwen where they are 5-10% the Tories rather than 30%.

  2. That should have read ‘5-10% behind the Tories’.

  3. Paul H-J – Prof John Curtice merely stated the fact that it was a huge 15% swing from Tory to UKIP. He had also stated that it would have taken a swing only seen 8 times in a century to take the seat. The level of swing the LDs achieved in the ’90s in Newbury.

  4. Andy JS et al. I can only think the LIbDems in Southwell are so well-heeled they are on a second or third holiday and haven’t bothered with postal votes.

    The only party to do well in his by-election were the Conservatives, for whom this was an unqualified success. We should have the grace to congratulate them.

    If I were Cameron, I would be looking to manouvre a General Election this September, because the economy is overheating and I wouldn’t be surprised if bad things happen this Autumn. But in practice I think Cameron is likely to wait until May 2015. This gives time in theory for ant-Tories, of whom there are very many, to regroup. I am not holding my breath for this to happen though.

  5. Robert Jenrick will be pleased to have held this seat easily in by-election circumstances with a more than comfortable majority. I was actually half-thinking myself that UKIP might have done a lot better, but as it turns out even with a newly elected MEP they couldn’t get within a few of thousand votes. Not great for Labour, but then again, they’re out of the picture now, and the Tories will probably be quite pleased with the result. It would be a positive swing to Labour were it repeated at the next general election, but of course that won’t happen. As for the Lib Dems, well, abysmal, absolutely abysmal. They’ll just hope to get their deposit back here as mission accomplished in 2015 now.

  6. The by election result is almost exactly what I thought it would be although I though the story majority would be 2-3,000 lower with those votes split roughly equally between UKIP and Labour.

    In the end, not a bad result for the Tories, even if their candidate looks like he’s walked straight out of a Kensington wine bar. And a bit worried that they had to use pretty drastic campaigning tactics in what is after all a safe Tory seat. But over all, a good result.

  7. Comparing this by-election with Glenrothes is odd I think. There, the Conservatives were starting with a vote share of only 7% and were in a distant fourth place.

    In Newark, Labour were second, with over 20% of the vote and with a large Lib Dem vote evident also – some of which they should have been able to go after if reports of the existence of many disaffected leftish Lib Dems are true.

    Why from such a starting position would you make no effort in a seat like Newark? At the very least you would hope to raise your vote share and get a decent swing. Instead Labour ceded the position of main opponent to the Tories to a party that polled just 4% last time.

  8. FS, you seem to have forgotten we have fixed-term parliaments now. Cameron can’t just decide unilaterally that we’re going to have a general election – he needs the support of a significant share of the Commons, and he won’t get that.

  9. But one things that made this by-election stand it is the fact the David Caneron took part in the campaign.

    What ever happened to the convention that the PM doesn’t campaign in by elections?

  10. It is interesting to contrast Newark and Gedling (previously Carlton).

    I suspect that much of the private sector middle class that once lived in the Nottingham suburbs may now live here while Gedling now has a large public sector middle class that has moved out from the city itself.

  11. Anyway, my prediction was totally blown out of the water. I did reverse on my predicted Labour share well before polls closed, but I was very confident it’d be a much closer result than this. I had Tories on 35 and UKIP on 31. Shows what I know.

    Yes, UKIP got a big swing, but with their momentum and recent results this is most definitely a disappointing result for them. I’d be fascinated to know how to the votes break down. Considering the nature of the LD vote here, we can assume at least some of it went to the Tories to shore them up. Maybe the start of a trend of some middle-class groups lending support to a better-placed party in order to stop UKIP.

  12. The Results – the Labour % fell though. I suppose it would be a technical swing as the Tory share fell by more. But if repeated at a General the UKIP surge would cause different unpredictable outcomes in different seats from Eastleigh to Grimsby and Pendle to Thurrock.

  13. Van Fleet – your prediction was correct for the town of Newark, just not for the rest of the seat. I’m amazed how complacent some Tory MPs are, given that even with 1,000 activists on the ground, they had to ask LDs to save them from UKIP. Lansley’s seat could be the next by-election, barring any deaths, convictions or bankruptcy.

  14. That’s probably true, either South Cambridgeshire or Hitchin and Harpendon will be the next by election depending on who gets the EU Commissioner job. At one point I did think there might be a by election in my local area in Sutton Coldfield, but I very much doubt Andrew Mitchell will get the job.

  15. I hate to agree with the likes of Runnymead and James Joey B or whatever he’s called – but I think they are both totally right on this one

    Last night was firstly an absolutely appalling result for Labour and a very credible one for the Tories

    Even in the run up to the 92 election – onbe the Tories won – they are losing seats lkke Mid Staffs and Eastbourne which wre every bit as safe as Newark

    In 2010 the left/centre-left (Labour+Lib Dem+Green) achieved 42.3% of the vote to the right’s/centre right’s (UKIP+Tory) 57.7%.

    Last night that figure was 23% to 71%

    Labour and Lib Dem supporters can’t ‘spin’ this one – last night was abysmal for both party’s

  16. ‘Even in the run up to the 92 election – onbe the Tories won – they are losing seats lkke Mid Staffs and Eastbourne which wre every bit as safe as Newark’

    And of course Ribble Valley – the biggest shock of the lot

  17. The Labour gain in Mid Staffs was hardly surprising though, polling day happened at the same time as the first poll tax bills were dropping on people’s door mats.

  18. “Labour and Lib Dem supporters can’t ‘spin’ this one – last night was abysmal for both party’s”

    I’m not a supporter of either of those parties but I would certainly caution against reading too much into this result. Some people on here are extrapolating and drawing conclusions for 2015 which are frankly ludicrous.

    In the old days when national swing was more uniform, not doing well in Newark might have plausibly suggested that a party wouldn’t do well in Croydon or Enfield or Bury. In today’s fragmented and polarised political situation that is quite frankly horseshit.

    Anyone thinking that coming third in Newark means that Ed Miliband doesn’t have a good chance of becoming Prime Minister is going to get a shock I fear.

  19. And Mid Staffs certainly wasn’t “every bit as safe as Newark”, at least on present boundaries.

  20. I completely agree with HH. There’s a lot of interesting information we can look into after this result, but it’s not much use when making a prediction for next year. It’s done nothing to change my central prediction of Labour being 15 seats short of a majority. If this had been a by election in a marginal seat I might have possibly readjusted my prediction. But Newark isn’t a very good indicator of how the country as a whole is going to vote.

  21. Hello Hemmelig. I am back on here again. It’s all to play for in 2015.

  22. Actually make that Labour being 16 seats short of an overall majority.

    I do feel tempted to change my predictions for a few more seats, but I promised myself just after the European elections that I’m not going to make any more changes. That’s mainly because I don’t have that much time to contribute to this seat these days and my original prediction is based on what I think the opinion polls will be like next spring.

  23. Tim – technically you’re correct, but Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister when Labour won Mid Staffordshire! They of course saved themselves by sacking her & getting some guy called Major in as Prime Minister instead. In other words, it just isn’t comparable. Also, that was a mid-term election, this one is less than a year away from a general election, in which the 2 major parties, and UKIP, will certainly have the same leaders as they do now.
    Of course it isn’t a good result for Labour, but just as you can’t extrapolate from Corby that Labour are bound to win by a landslide, you can’t extrapolate from this that the Tories are set for victory. It’s a by-election and one which saw the phenomenon of tactical voting by Labour supporters in favour of the Conservatives! You’re not going to see much of that in the 2015 general election. It doesn’t really tell us anything. The nationwide opinion polls do. That’s because they ask who will you vote for in a general election, and they’re nationwide…..

  24. ‘They of course saved themselves by sacking her & getting some guy called Major in as Prime Minister instead. In other words, it just isn’t comparable’

    Did that save them?

    They lost Ribble Valley – if anything a safer seat that Newark – under Major

    ‘It’s a by-election and one which saw the phenomenon of tactical voting by Labour supporters in favour of the Conservatives!’

    I simply don’t believe any Laboiur voters would have voted Tory – to keep UKIP out – if that’s what your implying

    There might have been some slight tinkering with the boundaries but Labour won newark in 97 and probably would have hung on until at least 2005 had it not been for the expenses controversy – which Mercer made the centrepiece of his campaign when he won in 97

    17% for any main opposition party – against a relatively disliked government which managed 45% – is a complete indictment of Ed Milliband’s leadership and just shows that unlike the increasingly despised Tony Blair, he is incapable of reaching out to those sections of the electorate he needs to to win a majoirity – and given that that section is predomoinantly the WWC – he should have evcery reason to fear the worst

    Comments here show how oblivious Labour (and Lib Dems) supporters are to UKIP – and the huge swing from Left to Right in this election surely disproves the lazy assumption on the Left that all UKIP voters are all disillusioned right-wing Tories whoi can onky help Mr Milliband on his way to Number 10 Downing Street

    To me this by-election suggests he is never likely to get there

  25. Ukip, from nowhere have come far if nothing else , 2015 will be a dynamite election with hordes of folk staying up late to see just how their future is treading. I can hardly wait.

  26. I do n’t know this area at all and my first thought was a pretty good result for the Tories because Notts is hardly a Tory heartland. But I suppose this seat is more akin to neighbouring Lincolnshire where there have always been safe Tory seats.

    I must say a tactical Tory vote from Labour supporters sounds very unlikely.

  27. Tim’s problem is that he is looking at things too much through only one prism.

    Labour need 20 or so gains from the Tories to be assured of being the largest party (remember that 10 or so gains from the Lib Dems are pretty much assured). I challenge anyone to look down the top 30 seats in Labour’s target list and to find any more than the odd Tory seat which isn’t almost certain to be won. The Ashcroft polling consistently backs this up.

  28. Of course the last byelection before Labour’s defeat in 1992 was the Langbaurgh one where Labour won with a low swing from the Tories of 3.6%, i.e. higher than at Newark this week,,,,,

  29. Tim Jones – It saved them in that Major regained every by-election loss in 1992 and won the most votes ever polled. Incidentally, it was Chris Bryant who ran the Labour campaign in Newark who stated some Labour voters voted Tory to stop UKIP. Although I share your scepticism. The LibDem candidate was also in denial that any of his lost 18% went to UKIP.

  30. Yes I have friends who know people in the constituency who did just that Tim. In fact it’s thought that quite a significant number of Labour voters did the same.

  31. Well maybe – we can’t know either way but it’s a very convenient excuse for Labour…

    …’it is a far, far better thing I do…’ etc.

  32. It is pretty clear that there was huge tactical voting from both Labour and Lib Dem voters.
    Labour – UKIP to give the coalition a kicking
    Labour / LD – Conservative to stop UKIP winning

    Without the narrative of a close UKIP challenge, Labour would probably have been around 23-25% with the LDs on 7-8%.

    ‘The LibDem candidate was also in denial that any of his lost 18% went to UKIP.’
    When you look at where most LD votes come from in this constituency, it would be fair to guess that very few did.

  33. Clearly most of the LD support in Southwell went to the Tories, the only explanation for their 2.6% pasting.

  34. That’s right; it’s simply unthinkable that any former Lib Dem supporter could change their vote to UKIP 🙂

  35. Depends where it is. In Eastleigh a lot of LD voters changed to UKIP but it wouldn’t happen much in a place like Southwell.

  36. An adjustment:

    I think we’re moving into a three party situation now:

    Middle class private sector = Conservative
    Public sector + ethnics = Labour
    Private sector WWC = UKIP

  37. As to the suggest of swingback in 2015 I think its flawed because we haven’t seen any swing.

    There has been remarkably little Con-Lab movement what we have seen instead is 2010 public sector LibDems move to Labour and a loss of private sector wwc voters to UKIP by both the Conservatives and Labour.

    Where there has been a big swing from Conservative to Labour since 2010, eg Middlesex metroland, demographic rather than political change has been the driver.

  38. HH’s comment is spot on:

    “Labour need 20 or so gains from the Tories to be assured of being the largest party (remember that 10 or so gains from the Lib Dems are pretty much assured). I challenge anyone to look down the top 30 seats in Labour’s target list and to find any more than the odd Tory seat which isn’t almost certain to be won. The Ashcroft polling consistently backs this up.”

    I think its reasonably easy for Labour to get most MPs in 2015. But pursuing a ‘35% strategy’ is likely to lead to a very weak minority Labour government with a vast amount of hostility from the other 65%.

  39. I honestly don’t think many of those who intend to vote Labour in 2015 voted UKIP here. After all, most Labour voters are quite middle class in this constituency with the exception of parts of Newark town itself & one area immediately outside it. I think we can be sure that more Labour sympathizers voted Conservative than UKIP – though of course I myself could never have contemplated doing that.

  40. I think Richard’s summary is right, but there’s also an age and sex aspect as well. UKIP probably gets significant support from older men of all backgrounds, including the private sector middle-class segment. Younger UKIP supporters are more likely to be of the white van man variety. In terms of gender, UKIP get some support from older women but very little from younger women.

  41. I also think that this results shows that reactionary Toryism is a dead end for UKIP.

    Although I’m not actually suggesting that’s the way they campaigned here, it is though how they are usually portrayed by the media.

    UKIP’s future is as a wwc party. Now that’s not going to get them anywhere near parliamentary majorities but in an era of weak minority and coalition governments it could bring them great influence.

  42. “In terms of gender, UKIP get some support from older women but very little from younger women.”

    I think that’s covered by my private / public sector split.

    The public sector being a significant source of employment / income / provider of services to younger women.

    There were anecdotes of UKIP doing better than average among young women in Rotherham because of the competition for public sector services immigration there has brought.

    That factor would have had much less relevance in an affluent area like Newark.

    The age issue is a different factor – I’ve said before at the other place that in my experience the under 30s don’t realise how badly they’ve been shafted. As they do become more aware a new stream of disgruntlement for UKIP becomes sourced.

  43. The age factor was quite well emphasised by the respective candidates: Helmer and Jenrick are from the same type of background, with a 40 year age gap.

  44. runnymede

    “Comparing this by-election with Glenrothes is odd I think.” It isn’t, I admit, a very close comparison, but the truth is, there weren’t by-elections in 2005-2010 where the Tory postition was terribly similar to the Labour, and certainly not a similar time into the parliament. Perhaps Southall was a better comparison, and that was another where the Tories finished 3rd, and where the swing against the govt was almost entirely a result of the fall of the govt party’s share, not a rise in the share of the main opposition party.

  45. Comparing any constituency with Glenrothes is a bit odd I dare say. Well, any English seat anyway.

  46. Michael Crick has tweeted that the Tories spent over £250,000 in Newark according to estimates from LibDems and Labour. £15 per vote.

  47. What’s the legal limit?

  48. Sedgefield would be a more relevant example of the Conservatives mistakenly not making an effort in a byelection and falling from second to third.

    Although at least their vote didn’t fall in Sedgefield as Labour’s did here.

  49. Labour need 20 or so gains from the Tories to be assured of being the largest party (remember that 10 or so gains from the Lib Dems are pretty much assured). I challenge anyone to look down the top 30 seats in Labour’s target list and to find any more than the odd Tory seat which isn’t almost certain to be won. The Ashcroft polling consistently backs this up.”

    I don’t disagree with that but you’re ignoring the many gains the Tories could make in the event of a lib dem collapse – which following the latest election results becomes a possibility

    There’s up to 30 seats the tories could feasibly take if there were to be a lib dem meltdown and whilst I have up until this point agreed with your optimistic assesment of the lib dems holding most of their seats in 2015, all their latest results have been worst than lamentable and i know think the tories could easily squeek back – maybe even win a majority – on the back of a lib dem trouncing

  50. I was going to stick 5 quid on UKIP. Glad I didn’t now.

    Do people think UKIP will retain 2nd place here at the next GE?

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