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. The basis of the so-called 35% strategy is that Labour are focusing all their effort on winning over a third to a half of 2010 Lib Dem voters. They do not appear to prioritise winning over voters from the Tories, given how class conscious their campaign has become. The best recent evidence was that appalling party political broadcast last week.

    Personally I don’t think it is a bad strategy for winning the next election, in the fragmented 4-party environment we are now in. Though I very often agree with Dan Hodges politically, I think he’s wrong with his electoral forecast, and wrong that some kind of New Labour mark 2 would be a better way for Labour to succeed in the current environment. Having nailed his colours so firmly to the wrong mast he will be most likely submerged in ridicule in 2015 and his career as a journalist won’t recover.

    The problem with the 35% strategy is not that it won’t win the election, it is what happens when the election is won. It will be a small overall majority for Miliband, or most likely a coalition or minority administration. He simply won’t be able to do most of what he is promising to do, indeed he will have to cut deeper than Osborne if he spooks the markets and is unlucky enough to coincide with the Bank finally raising interest rates. The next Labour government will have to betray its core supporters on a Ramsey Macdonald like scale.

  2. In answer to Joe, I don’t think this is the sort of constituency Labour would normally expect to win, shorn of Retford as it is now. It has only a tiny coalfield bit, and there really aren’t many remaining working-class areas. It also is small town & rural, and Southwell is certainly not the sort of town one would normally imagine Labour winning (they wouldn’t have done even in 1997). Newark has some Labour bits closer towards the centre in particular but also has some middle-class residents. It really doesn’t look like a Labour seat as it’s currently drawn, and isn’t.

  3. The Monster Raving Loony Party has entered the game..,_2014#Candidates_and_campaign

    Also, Michael Payne sounds a lot like Michael Paine from Harry Enfield & Chums. That could hurt him.

  4. I don’t think there’s any evidence that the 35% strategy really is a strategy. I believe it originated in an off-hand comment that Labour could win with a coalition of current supporters and ex-Lib Dems on 35% of the vote. That’s very likely true. That doesn’t therefore indicate that that is the limit of Miliband’s ambitions.

  5. Thanks Barnaby,
    I should obviously know this.

    Did Retford leave the seat in 2010 then?

    If it was in 1997 (1995 review) then I was under the impression that review didn’t make all that much difference.

  6. Retford left this seat in 2010 – it is now in Bassetlaw.

    On Barnaby’s point – I don’t think any of the current Newark seat was coalfield in the recent past. As I posted upthread, Bevercotes was the last mine in the constituency and it is part of the Retford area which was moved to Bassetlaw in 2010. Most of the Dukeries collieries were relatively new – the mines in North/East Derbyshire and West Notts were much older, and the NCB opened new pits to the east when the old ones were exhausted. Many of the Dukeries pits used immigrant workers displaced from closed Scottish pits. This was the centre of the NUM’s argument in the miners strike – the Dukeries pits were considered modern, cost efficient and had plenty of reserves so the workers didn’t want to strike, wrongly believing they were safe from closure.

  7. I’m convinced Labour will come third in the by-election. The winner is more difficult to forecast.

  8. Joe – many constituencies have Wikipedia articles (sometimes not much more than stubs) about them, but many list the wards which are included in them – that’s certainly the case with most London constituencies for example, and many others too. It’s probably the easiest way to find out which exact areas are in which constituency, though there are some other sites with such information too. Newark lost Retford (which seems to be settling down to be on the Labour side of marginal) in 2010 but gained Bingham which was previously in Rushcliffe and is far more Tory than Labour. Hence, along with Labour’s obvious gradual weakening in Newark town itself, the comfortable-seeming Tory majority.

  9. Incidentally Anthony’s take on the weekend opinion polls is interesting. Last week there was a succession of polls showing Labour with a narrowing majority over the Tories, one with only 1%. But suddenly at the weekend 3 polls appeared which were more favourable, showing Labour leads of 4,6 & 7% (the last one being YouGov) and Anthony has expressed the opinion that these polls, with an average Labour lead of over 5%, are the ones closer to the true picture and the previous ones rather coincidental & showing sample error. It’s an interesting conclusion since some of us Labour chaps were getting a little concerned, thinking our lead was about to disappear here & now rather than in about a year’s time; but there has been very little anecdotal evidence to suggest Labour’s vote weakening & the Tories strengthening in the last few days, so perhaps Anthony is taking that into account. That doesn’t mean that Andy is wrong though – he may well be right about the by-election here.

  10. David Kirwan for the Greens, if an edit by an anonymous IP address citing no sources is to be believed.

  11. I saw the other day that UKIP now claim to have 30-40,000 members. If so they aren’t far off half of the Tory figure – pretty astonishing IMO. I wonder if we’ll eventually see a “crossover”, with UKIP having more members than the Tories, or whether UKIP will drop down again after the euro elections. If they could get all those new members on their zimmer frames and out campaigning it could make a big difference to their election potential.

  12. ‘Though I very often agree with Dan Hodges politically, I think he’s wrong with his electoral forecast’

    Personally I think he’s broadky right – also with what he says about the Lib Dems and UKIP too

    I don’t think the Tories will win an outright majority – as they surely would have had the Lib Dems not voted against the boundary changes – but I do think they will emerge as the largest party, with another coalition with a smaller Lib Dem party the only deal in town

    I thibnk the polls will start to narrow at the end of this year, and expect the Tories to sneak ahead at the start of the next year – as the foreign-owned tabloid press, big business, and pointless celebrities give them their backing

  13. My views of the absurd Dan Hodges are unrepeatable but I am glad it appears we are once again able to refer to him by name on this website – rather than ” a certain DT blogger related to Glenda Jackson!”

  14. “I don’t think the Tories will win an outright majority – as they surely would have had the Lib Dems not voted against the boundary changes”.

    That’s about right. A bunch of Tory MPs scuppered the chances of a Tory majority by helping to vote down Lords reform. Great sense of priorities in evidence there.

    “…as the foreign-owned tabloid press, big business, and pointless celebrities give them their backing”.

    This in contrast is crap. Noam Chomsky type charactersations of the electorate as mere pawns of moneyed, media, elite interests are so full of holes as to resemble a pair of net stockings.

  15. boundaries didn’t make that difference. as smithson always observes, turnout in safe labour seats in much lower generally than in safe tory ones, which means that labour does better on a lower share of the vote.

    the idea that the lib dems would have blithely agreed to boundary changes if the house of lords had been reformed is one of the most naive notions out there.

    the yellows were itching for an excuse not to have to go through with boundary changes.

  16. To support Dok’s post (11.59 am) Dave Kirwan facebook page asserts the same.
    (hopefully not a ‘hack’ job … )

    He is Broxtowe Green PPC for 2015.


  17. UKIP have about a third of the number of members the Tories do, but the point is that a lot of those Tory members will be people who signed up in 1955 and have been on automatic renewal ever since: in other words, they’re not a active members. UKIP’s members, on the other hand, have mostly joined up in recent months and years. And active members are worth a lot more than inactive ones.

  18. ‘Noam Chomsky type charactersations of the electorate as mere pawns of moneyed, media, elite interests are so full of holes as to resemble a pair of net stockings.’

    How are they pawns?

    It’s directly in the interests of the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Gary Barlow, and big businesses to offer the Tories vocal support as it means more money in their own pockets

    And yes – sadly we do live in a country where a great deal of people do believe in what is written in the likes of The Sun and Daily Mail etc and if both papers tell their readers to vote Tory – as surely they will – a great deal will do so

    ‘the idea that the lib dems would have blithely agreed to boundary changes if the house of lords had been reformed is one of the most naive notions out there.’

    I don’t think so

    Whilst I, or the Lib Dems for that matter, might not like the outcome (more seats for the Tories) of the planned changes, it is surely right that constituencies should be of equal size.

    I don’t really see any fair argument against it

    The Lib dems opposed it because not only did Tory MP’s block their attempts to reform the House of Lords – which were undoubtedly flawed – but cued up in Parliament to mock it and made personal attacks on those who came up with it (their supposed allies the Lib dems)

  19. agree with everything hh has said, except that the labour govt. will betray their base. they’ll borrow and borrow and muddle through without upsetting their base. having worked so hard to secure 35%, mili isn’t going to fracture his base so readily as dave did.

  20. Gary Barlow as a sinister political manipulator doesn’t quite cut it, for me.

  21. “but the point is that a lot of those Tory members will be people who signed up in 1955 and have been on automatic renewal ever since”

    I can tell from that statement you’ve never been a Tory party member, AndyJS. You assume a level of modernity and technical ability which isn’t there. Membership doesn’t just automatically renew (or it didn’t when I was last a member 12 years ago), it has to be chased up every year, hence the term “lapsed member”. Most party members are elderly and distrust paying by card, paying by cheque every year is still extremely popular.

  22. The 2 point Tory lead in the new Ashcroft poll done over the weekend is a probably a confidence boost for Cameron. They’re going to hold Newark anyway, but this new lead could prevent a UKIP surge, if it continues onwards.

  23. Tories in the lead with ICM as well today, Labour down to 31%. So perhaps the 35% strategy is looking optimistic.

  24. Did that awful party election broadcast do it for Labour?

    Not sure what’s done it for the Tories, but if this is a trend Labour are in deep shit.

  25. I think there have been a few examples of Tories doing relatively well (albeit not in the lead) in a couple of polls at various times over the last few months.

    I’m genuinely not trying to be pessimistic for pessimistic’s sake but as a Tory supporter I still believe almost everything is running Labour’s way for next year, and I still believe they’ll end up being comfortably the largest party, if not a small majority.

  26. HH – that’s very true re Tory Party membership. It did rise under Hague and Howard, due to the introduction of national membership online. But I think they abolished that under Cameron as Assocs didn’t like it and membership has since halved.

  27. David Kirwan, current Broxtowe PPC, has been selected by the Greens.

  28. that had already been reported by Doktorb & Blake above.

  29. Just confirming as Natalie Bennett’s tweet confirms him to be the genuine candidate.

  30. I’m coming to the view that if economic conditions remain reasonably pacific, Labour will struggle to poll above the early 30s in the GE.

  31. I’m completely with Runnymede on this one. I don’t see any way around it: David Cameron is popular, Miliband is bumbling, Osborne is increasingly seen as a competent economic manager. I’m sure you all caught the ICM/Guardian poll today? Nick Clegg is more popular than Miliband. (Cue shock.) Honestly, I think the Tories will hold out around 35%, Labour around 32%, the Lib Dems up to 15%, and UKIP not breaking 10%. Seats-wise, though, it should be roughly even between the Tories and Labour.

  32. Miliband is a very weak opposition leader but i still expect him to limp home seats wise.

  33. Todays polls have to be very worrying.

    Of the 4 not a single one with a Lab lead > 1

  34. From the Newark Advertiser

    [quote]The secretary of the Say Yes to Newark Hospital Campaign has announced he is to stand as an independent candidate in the Newark by-election.
    Mr Paul Baggaley, who is also a member of the Newark Sports Association and a Newark town councillor, said he wants to provide people with a candidate who will stand up on local issues.

    He said his five priorities would be local education, Newark Hospital, sports facilities, parliamentary standards and democratic accountability.

    He said: “None of the main candidates are local, which I find absolutely amazing, and there has been a lack of engagement on local issues.

    “I think people have a right to expect that there should be at least a couple of candidates from the constituency on the ballot paper.

    “People wonder if their MP is working for them or the party in London. That is as much as an issue for me as Newark Hospital.”

    He said he hoped to provide a “serious protest vote.”

    “I enter any contest to win, and that is my objective,” he said.

    “How far I get is up to the people of Newark.”[/quote]

  35. I think part of the problem with the economic competence/economic recovery boosting the Tories point is that the recovery seems fairly patchy in geographical terms.

    It’s also worth noting that, during the stagnant growth period during the first 2-3 years, unemployment didn’t climb as many expected, largely due to significant wage restraint and (seemingly, to some extent) employers being reluctant to let people go ahead of an anticipated recovery.

    The problem of course being that there is likely to be some ‘slack’ within many companies and therefore the more rapid growth seen now may not necessarily go hand in hand with further significant falls in unemployment.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think the government has broadly got it right on the economy. But the narrative of “evil Tory cuts” and “attacks on the welfare state” seems to resonate with so many people, and not just those that were never inclined towards the Tories anyway. Plus, I do think some of the reforms to health and education have been botched which has just added ammunition to the arguments above.

    I wrote a couple of years ago on this site that the Tories need a longer-term strategy to remove the “stigma” that surrounds them. Some of that will relate to long-term economic competence, but in reality they do need “game changers” e,g to prove that they are not ideologically hostile to public services, to make a real difference to the perception of law and order etc etc etc.

    They largely have failed to do this but have also avoided being universally incompetent and have fairly successfully argued their narrative on the economy. Which leads me to think that most people who voted for them in 2010 will do so again, save for some who wanted to either give Labour a kicking or who wanted stronger action on things like crime and immigration.

    So I see the Tories drifting down a little to 35%ish, Labour increasingly sharply to around 36-38%, the LDs on around 15% (I don’t think things will be as dire for them as some predict, either in vote share or seats). I see UKIP on around 6% (I had said 4-5% previously but I did think that they would have run out of steam by now when I predicted it) with minor parties sweeping up the rest.

    I don’t know the psephology well enough but if that comes to pass I guess it equates to a small working Labour majority.

  36. I’m expecting something along these lines:-

    Conservative: 42%
    Labour: 20%
    UKIP: 18%
    Liberal Democrat: 11%
    Others: 9%

    Although Roger Helmer MP is an attractive prospect – let’s face it, it’s not going to happen.

  37. Local independent, Paul Baggaley has entered the game. I think today is the deadline so he’s probably the last addition to the ballot.

  38. Official list

    Paul BAGGALEY (Independent)
    David BISHOP (Bus Pass Elvis)
    Nick The Flying BRICK (Monster Raving Loony)
    Andy HAYES (Independent)
    Roger HELMER (UK Independence Party ( UKIP))
    Robert JENRICK (Conservative)
    David KIRWAN (Green)
    Michael PAYNE (Labour)
    Dick RODGERS (Stop Commercial Banks Owning Britian’s Money)
    David WATTS (Liberal Democrat)
    Lee WOODS. (Patriotic Socialist)

  39. According to the Indy, Labour has basically thrown in the towel in Newark, deciding it isn’t worth the effort.

    Of course this would be a massive boost to UKIP, but it seems like an odd decision from Labour because the reason they’ve just lost their lead in the polls is not so much because of a rise in the Tory vote as a seeming loss of support to UKIP.

  40. I wouldn’t have thought they’d admit to throwing in the towel
    because an increase in vote share is still important
    even if this isn’t the seat it was before 2010 (or in 1979).

  41. It would be madness for Labour to throw in the towel in a seat like this, which still contains a fair slice of ex-mining, ex-industrial territory as well as some very strongly Tory areas. Labour should be pushing at 30% here which would be a very respectable vote share. Additionally, if the Conservatives and UKIP cancel each other out by both getting about 30% each, there is a chance (very slim I know) that Labour could come through the middle. In any case, surely no major party could ever ‘throw in the towel’ in a by-election. It’s not as if they are fighting on 600-odd other fronts and have to ration their efforts, as in a GE.

  42. They want to focus on the European and local elections according to the article. A leaflet campaign in Newark would be very expensive.

  43. We went through this in Eastleigh too I recall; first Labour talked of regaining its lost ‘natural’ support there, then they selected a joke candidate and the talk soon shifted to getting a decent vote share rise without trying to hard as they ‘weren’t going to win anyway’. In the event the share rose minimally and remained derisory.

    I wonder where the sequence will finish this time.

  44. I have a query about Andy Hayes, whose name has just come up for this by-election. Does this article from the Newark Advetiser explain why he has decided to stand?

  45. I can sort of see what Dr John is saying. Labour is at least in second place, which you can’t say of all that many Conservative seats which are currently held with 30%+ majorities. But on the whole, Newark is not a serious prospect for Labour- not in ordinary circumstances and probably not even in these circumstances either.

  46. The present constituency has never had any mining villages and only one former pit- Bevercotes which opened in 1962 on a greenfield site without the attendant housing estates. It does have the largest known deep mine coal reserve in the UK.

    The industrial base is greatly diminished, the ball bearing manufacturer formerly RHP [ once known locally as roughly half pay ] is a shadow of its former self in terms of employment.

    With regard to a comment on my previous post I agree that the Bridge ward is in the county Collingham ward and that Yorke Drive within it includes a good proportion of the Newark underclass. This ward has a relatively low turnout certainly at county elections.

    When the LD’s won a seat in the early 1990’s it may have been called East Markham but it was markedly different to the present ward of the same name and was centered on Askham.

    That C Lab & LD have young non-local candidates will count against them.

    If political party membership was in the public domain I would expect it to show in Newark that C had more members than the other parties combined.

    The multiplicity of candidates will probably help C and make it more difficult for LD to retain their deposit.

    To date I have received one C leaflet.

    For the avoidance of doubt I will not be/have not been involved in any way in the campaign of any candidate and will endeavour to provide the occasional disinterested local view.

  47. I think that’s right actually, Tory. However, Newark is not like Eastleigh in the deep south where they had last come close 45+ years ago. To give up in a seat close to their heartlands, which they have won well within the last 20 years would be unconscionable and would really mark a retreat from any notion that they are serious about winning the next GE.

  48. I think for some in labour its a case of looking at a blue map of Newark and not seeing what could be. Lets look at Devon ward a “old labour stronghold” that cons took in 2007 and labour regained by not a lot in 2011.
    owners 19%
    mort owners 35.5%
    p renters 9%
    s renters and council 38.2%
    AB 15.7
    C1C2 24.4
    DE 54.5 with the rest students
    30 miles to the north labour wins this ward with 60%+ not mid 40s as the case is here.

  49. @BERIA the lib dems won the current east Markham in 2002 but lost it in 2003.

  50. But they haven’t ‘won it’. These boundaries wouldn’t have returned a Labour MP even in 1997.

    Certainly there is a reasonably solid Labour vote here, but it isn’t a seat which is a likely prospect for us.

    Also, geography is becoming more and more important in terms of political support so supposedly similar wards have very different political outcomes. There are wards in Merseyside with Labour councillors which are much more affluent than Tory held wards in my home town of High Wycombe

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