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. Sociologist Frank Furedi:

    “Why the propaganda war on UKIP has failed

    Farage’s popularity exposes the aloofness of the political class.”

  2. I have now examined the 2013 County Council results for those wards wholly within the constituency and these probably account for about 85% of the electorate.

    The areas excluded would be mainly Tory with a limited Lab vote.

    Con 8899 41.95%
    Lab 3917 18.97%
    UKIP 3520 16.60%
    LD 3028 14.28%
    Other 1846 8.70%

    There were two other candidates one being active in support of Newark Hospital for the other see previous comment.

    Over 50% of the LD vote was attributable to a popular District Councillor and former parliamentary candidate in one seat.

    The LD’s have a councillor in Bingham, peaked at 5 for the Newark and Sherwood Council and once had one in Askham [Bassetlaw].

    UKIP had not previously stood in the county elections.

    Con have opened a campaign office in Stodman Street and nearby yesterday I saw a man with a UKIP rosette speaking on his mobile, otherwise no noticeable activity.

    I did think the Conservative Club on London Road had suffered from paint spraying vandals but apparently it is their new logo.

    Lincoln hospital is unsurprisingly in Lincolnshire and therefore in a different Trust.

  3. My friend went to university with the Labour candidate here. He showed me Payne’s facebook page, as a textbook example of a career politician who’s never had a clear job outside of politics.

  4. Clearly they know they don’t stand a chance of ever winning this on present boundaries, so having a career politician as their candidate.

  5. David Watts, Leader of the Lib Dems on Broxtowe Borough Council, selected as the LD candidate.

  6. Beria: I calculated the county council results about a week ago and posted the results on the other Newark thread.

  7. Dick Rogers to stand here for Common Good

  8. Interesting local council numbers. I would’ve thought UKIP had a very good chance of pipping Labour to second place based on that alone.

    Another candidate is Dick Rogers of Common Good, and the Greens are still trying to raise cash. It sounds like their potential candidate has old man Helmer in his sights.

  9. I’m sure Roger Helmer will be terribly worried about the prospects of the Greens gunning for him in Newark.

  10. It’s a stupid idea for the Greens to stand a candidate since they’ve no hope of even holding their deposit. At best they’ll hurt Labour’s prospects.

    If they don’t have the money to do it already, I can’t see why they’d raise the deposit.

  11. There was a feature on David Cameron going to Newark to campaign for the by-election along with Robert Jenrick. The reporter interviewed Jenrick and he took the classic Ben Swain approach of not answering the questions properly.

  12. UKIP are 5/1 with Ladbrokes.

  13. I’m on.

  14. Better odds than that available elsewhere. They’re 11-2 with Paddy Power.

  15. Other best prices: Conservatives 8-13 (Ladbrokes), Labour 4-1 (Hills).

  16. This would seen to suggest that UKIP would come third.

    If the by election was on the same day as the European elections UKIP would have a chance….However…..In the post Euro things will become more polarised between Con/ Lab and UKIP will be squeezed. Also….so although the UKIP vote will be up in 2015 it will be more like 6 – 8%….and certainly not 14 – 15%.

  17. In the general election that wouldn’t be far off, by the time it occurs. By the time of the Newark by-election however they’ll be much higher in the polls, as Anthony suggests not far off 20% even in Westminster voting intentions.

  18. As much as I’d enjoy Cameron having to react to a UKIP victory, I think this is a highly probable Conservative hold. The Conservatives are well-prepared for this- Michael Crick was saying they’ve got five offices open across the constituency. I dare say the Conservative vote share will be somewhat down on where it was at in 2010 but it’ll be enough.

  19. I’d split the difference between those figures and I’m of the view UKIP will be 10-12% at the GE. So far their voters are surprisingly resilient.

  20. I should also like to note my agreement with H Hemmelig who spoke a lot of sense about Helmer’s candidature. If people think that Helmer is going to be derailed on the basis of his views on green issues or gay marriage, they are living in metropolitan fantasy land. I don’t think he’ll win because the Tories seem well-organised but there is every reason to think that he will poll very respectably indeed.

  21. Bit of cherry-picking there, Tory. I for one never said his views on gay marriage would cause him harm here, or green issues generally. But saying things like, homosexuality is ‘not a lifestyle worthy of valid equal respect’, or that homophobia doesn’t exist but is instead a propaganda term isn’t exactly going to fly with moderate voters. All well and good Helmer appealing to his base, but he has to bring moderate voters onboard if he’s to win. I’m on record as saying the criticism of UKIP candidates these past few weeks has gone overboard, but if I were on a campaign team in Newark I’d be busy printing up leaflets with many of Helmer’s quotes, the two above just being an example.

    I just don’t get why UKIP, who want to prove to moderate voters that the coverage of the past weeks is overboard, would choose a man who is so stereotypically UKIP. And an ex-Tory MEP to boot, which doesn’t exactly help establish their ‘outsider’ credentials, nor help broaden their appeal to Labour voters.

    Would have made far more sense to go with a Diane James-esque figure. I really would have thought that would have been the obvious common sense approach. Get in a reasonable person to help prove the coverage wrong. This, on the other hand, is a barmy approach.

    I think Helmer’s selection has made a victory less likely, and will help cancel out a UKIP boost after the Euros. For now, I still to my initial prediction:

    Conservatives 36
    UKIP 28
    Labour 25
    Liberal Democrats 8
    Others 3

  22. Van Fleet- I don’t even think that those comments will necessarily damage him. A lot of people would disagree with those remarks- me included- but I don’t think that they will play heavily on voters’ minds. As H Hemmelig said on the previous page, people simply don’t care about the issue- and he knows Newark pretty well.

  23. My other quibble with Van Fleet’s post is that hinges on his conception of what is ‘reasonable’ and ‘moderate’, a conception that may not be shared by electors in constituencies like Newark. Politicians like Roger Helmer may can be beyond the pale in certain parts of the country and not in others. I suspect Hemmelig would echo that.

  24. I agree in as so far that the voters won’t be worked up over those issues per se. However, what will be a problem is it legitimises this image that UKIP are a bunch of extreme nutters. Moderate voters won’t be worked up over those quotes in of themselves, but if it all contributes to a gut feeling that maybe UKIP are indeed too extreme, then suddenly UKIP have hit a glass ceiling.

    Hence my bafflement that they didn’t opt for a Diane James-esque figure who would help prove the stereotypes wrong. And remember, this by-election isn’t just about Newark, but it’s about presenting an image of the party to the rest of the country as well via the national coverage. Seriously, what advantages did they think Helmer would bring? High-profile? Not as if MEPs have a high-profile. Helmer, I wager, is going to turn out to be a polarising figure in this by-election. Excite the base, but turns off a fair few moderates. The kind needed to turn second-places into first-places.

  25. I think the problem is your definition of ‘moderate’ may not be relevant for a constituency like Newark.

    I think Helmer’s bigger problem may be that a large chunk of the Tory vote in places like this is a habitual vote that can prove very hard to shift. That will have nothing to do with his views/comments on gays.

  26. As I said, this isn’t about his views on homosexuality as such. More that those views, and his quotes on other issues, just encourage a view among some swing voters that really the party is just too extreme for them.

    And as I also said, I struggle to understand why UKIP didn’t just go for a candidate along the lines of Eastleigh and Wythenshawe. Why not go for a reasonable candidate who can claim to be an outsider, instead of taking the risk with someone like Helmer? I think that’s what most amazes me with all this – what benefits can Helmer bring apart from just exciting the base?

  27. It’s always a risk when opening up candidate selection to members. They are often liable to choose the candidate who most closely fits their views with no regard to their potential electability.

    Of course the only alternatives to this are centralised selection (which gives you the Blaenau Gwent scenario) or open primaries (which mostly produce the most “centre-ground” candidate and keep radical reformers out of politics. So I suppose it’s just a case of ensuring the members select a sensible choice. In Wythenshawe and Eastleigh they did, in Newark they may not have.

  28. I don’t agree with all of Roger Helmer’s views – on the environment and I hope we can renegotiate terms of EU. But he is not an extremist. Quite level headed and knowledgeable, and able to get it across clearly. But we need to get behind official Conservative candidates. David Cameron has done very well to achieve so much, despite no majority and a coalition, and the financial mess imherited.

  29. AW’s been rather clear that we’re not supposed to be little party spokespeople.

  30. Diane James if she joined us would be very welcome, i’m sure.

  31. I should add that my last comment is my view about what i would like, and what I think quite likely. I do not know what the official party view is on these individuals and that is rightly up to the party.

  32. ‘But we need to get behind official Conservative candidates.’

    You can. I’ll pass, thanks. 😛

    ‘Diane James if she joined us would be very welcome, i’m sure.’

    She was definitely a star find for UKIP. Sign of how interesting a by-election Eastleigh was, that UKIP had the very articulate and well-polished candidate, and the Conservatives didn’t.

  33. Mr nameless, are you referring to my post or several of the ones above it. I was just providing a little balance.

  34. Not really, you seem to have assumed that everyone is a Tory here, which as you know is not the case, and given the standard line about how Cameron’s done well. That isn’t relevant & isn’t necessary whether for balance or imbalance.
    That being said, how’s your campaign going Joe? This must be your best chance to date of being elected, surely.

  35. @BERIA sorry to nit pick
    1. Collingham contains the ward of Bridge which one of newark,s poorer wards and should have a decent labour vote as they got 30% in 2005 the last time they put some effort in to this seat but have done nothing in recent years.
    2. The ward in bassetlaw that had a lib dem dc is east Markham.

  36. So who do i think going to win in order of most likely
    lots of AB class/rural voters/55+ voters and they have been the only real players in seat since 2005 so as long they put the work in they should hold with a reduced maj.
    the high number of 55+ will help but outside of Newark there been little eu immigration which along the high number of ab voters will hold us back also this is weak area in terms of the ukip party.
    labour have a working class problem in Newark partly because they have not put much effort into the seat lately and partly because the party because of labour move to the middle. So what have been effects of this mainly a increase in the numbers staying at home and votes for Independents at a local level. They are going to pick up lib dem votes in newark but also suffer lost votes to ukip.
    4. lib dems
    should hold their money thanks to the small town ABs of southwell but it could be close

  37. I see that the Green Party are using “for the Common Good” as their slogan on the top of their European freepost election communication. The Common Good Party aren’t standing in many places, so it shouldn’t confuse many. The Pirate Party leaflet is interesting.

  38. Well there is this metropolitan view on here that seems to assumes
    that of course we nearly all agree that Helmer is an extremist
    which is what I was dealing with.

    I am not going into detail on here about local campaigns in my own situation
    other than to say that we now have an opportunity,
    with the LDs slumped opinion poll ratings, to finish the job in SW London.

  39. Independent carrying a story today suggesting minimal Labour effort here

  40. That’s extremely unlikely to be true for the most part. Obviously the local & Euro elections are the initial priority but I think you’ll find Labour really piling in here before too long unless it becomes obvious it isn’t going to be a good result.

  41. Well to be fair the story is pretty thin, but I can see the logic behind not trying too hard in Newark, especially in the light of the ‘35% strategy’. We will just have to wait and see what emerges on the ground in the coming weeks.

  42. I don’t buy this idea of the 35% strategy. Every party wants to attract as many voters as possible to it, that’s sort of the point. While I’ve no doubt Labour will be happy to be in power on 35% of the vote, I hardly think that’s the limit of their ambitions. My skepticism also comes from the fact that I only ever hear about it from people hostile to Labour, like the Spectator and a certain relative of Glenda Jackson.

  43. ‘It’s a stupid idea for the Greens to stand a candidate since they’ve no hope of even holding their deposit. At best they’ll hurt Labour’s prospects.

    If they don’t have the money to do it already, I can’t see why they’d raise the deposit.’

    I never understand that attitude. Of course a party would try to put up a candidate for a by-election! Quite apart from the fact a failure to stand would rob their supporters of someone to vote for, for a by-election with a national profile it would look terrible not to put someone forward. By your logic, UKIP should never have put forward candidates for many a by-election in the past twenty years – but it all helped build up their profile, and look at them now.

  44. My thinking was not that they shouldn’t stand a candidate, but that if they don’t have the cash to do so, it seems a waste to raise it. Better to raise the money and use it for a GE deposit, or campaign materials and canvasser transport for their best-hope seats in the region.

  45. I concede they obviously ought not to do this if they’re breaking the bank, but unless they’re really hard-up they ought to be finding the money for this.

  46. As for the idea that Labour won’t put much effort into this, there’s little to gain from not doing so, and potentially much to from fighting this. Most of us are predicting UKIP will come second, but few of us have them leading by a big margin. I myself have UKIP down as ahead of Labour by 3 points. It’s worth campaigning if only for the chance Labour could pip them to second place. Otherwise, Labour are just doomed to coming third, and no protestations by the party on how they didn’t actually focus on this by-election will counteract the impression of UKIP’s ascendancy.

  47. It still isn’t quite clear to me why Labour don’t do better in this constituency – and there does seem to be agreement on that.
    I think the area must have changed a bit
    as even if their organisation is weak since the 1999-01 situation,
    the national swing would give them an increase anyway.

    Of course they may be doing something under the radar, or are happy to let UKIP damage the Tories as a second best option, but I don’t think so – they genuinely don’t seem to think they can go the whole way.


    Agree with you re the ridiculous 35% strategy nonsense – any party must accept the possibility they will fall short of their goal so to aim for 40% and end up in the high 30s is better than aiming for 35% and ending up in the low 30s.

    Also, even if Labour could scrape in with 35% they would have such a lack of legitimacy that it would make governing and actually doing anything meaningful in government very difficult.

    I think some paranoid right-wing commentators (especially the man who claims to be Glenda Jackson’s son ) are secretly afraid that Labour will pursue this strategy and Britain will end up with a government “left of Lenin” under Comrade Miliband and they’re hoping to discredit the strategy by banging on about what a bad idea it is!

  49. Mr Nameless – the point is that none of the Parties are actually making an effort to secure as many votes as possible. The Tories have a 40:40 strategy of defending 40 marginals and targeting 40. Labour (well some in the Shadow Cabinet) have a 35% or core vote strategy ie just get out the vote which includes left wing LDs from 2010. Paul A – the Blairite is Glenda’s son.

  50. Well I think the difference is that the 40:40 strategy (unlikely as it is to succeed) is official – it’s printed on party material sent to members. The “35% Strategy” I’ve never seen mentioned except by certain people hostile to Labour. Maybe I’m being hoodwinked.

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