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. I think that’s setting yourself up for disappointment if you want the UKIP vote to be lower. I’d assume the non-voters at the EU elections who will turn out for the general will probably vote in similar proportions to those who did and even if not I think assuming zero UKIP voters among them is pushing it.

  2. I think UKIP are also starting to get the cogs turning on policy matters and shift their position to match that of their electorate. Expect more “tax cuts for the badly off” style stuff coming out of them as they try to outmaneuver the Tories on authoritarianism and anti-Europeanism whilst outmaneuvering Labour on the cost of living. We shouldn’t assume that the EU elections were the cap for UKIP at all, all new parties appear to have a lowish support cap until such time as they breach it and there may be many people who weren’t bothered about the EU but will be tempted by UKIP as a GE/By-Election protest vote.

  3. Interesting to hear a brief report from the constituency on the radio: apparently the Tories are requiring every MP to turn up three times in the campaign, and are using them to leaflet. I guess that is because they are so incompetent on the doorstep that they dare not let them talk to voters (if they were up to talking to voters, that would be a better use for them, surely!). Pity the poor staffers (and I don’t normally pity tory staffers) who have to teach them how to leaflet! Its a bit of a shock to me that the Tories are so short of activists willing to go to Newark that it is worth requiring every MP to turn up three times.

  4. Ben Foley,

    The Tories didn’t look short of activists to me. Obviously they have fewer than Labour but not in this seat and if they’re struggling they hide it well. Not ideal in a general election of course but largely sufficient in a by-election.

  5. Interesting Ben. I doubt if that’s unique to the Tories, though. The number of Labour MPs that I saw in the Feltham & Heston by-election campaign was pretty overwhelming & they must have been strongly encouraged to turn up, in a constituency which has often in the past (less so today) had a reputation for rather shaky party organization – it was particularly dire in the 80s. That being said of course it is a London constituency so it would have been much less troublesome for them to turn up. I saw at least one Tory MP there too though I wasn’t exactly looking for them (Laura Sandys, in a greasy spoon with 2 other party workers). Some very senior figures were getting their hands dirty, such as David Hanson (with whom I went out canvassing), John Spellar & Douglas Alexander.

  6. I wasn’t saying short of activists overall, but “short of activists willing to go to Newark”. It may be that requiring MPs to attend 3 times is plugging the gap, but clearly by the fact that they are being forced to sign in and out, they are not all really “willing to go to Newark”, if they were given a choice in the matter.

    I know that there were times in the past when Rennard’s LibDem by-election machine had to invent things to do to keep volunteers busy, because they had more volunteers than they could use doing things that were really useful. Clearly the Tories don’t have anything like that problem in Newark (In my mind they are clear favourites to win, but clearly they are throwing absolutely everything they _can_ at the election).

  7. Barnaby, I wasn’t saying requiring MPs to turn up at parliamentary by-elections was unique to the tories. Presumably UKIP are retaliating by requiring their non-existent MPs to each turn up an infinite number of times! (just don’t tell the voters that UKIP have no MPs – most of them wont believe you)

  8. There are times when you can have too many party workers. I worked in the council by-election, in Harefield ward, which handed Labour control of Hillingdon council from the Tories in 1993. In terms of electorate it was a tiny ward, and the place was so flooded with party workers that several who rang & offered to help were told thanks, but really there’s no need. (The winner of that by-election ended up losing her seat by just one vote!)

  9. This is the end result of a party that has hardly any active members left – wheeling up the likes of Sir Peter Tapsell from London three times and ordering them to leaflet 500 houses. How pathetic. Churchill must be turning in his grave and would certainly have told Grant Shapps where to get stuffed.

    Busing in outsiders en-masse is cynical and completely counter productive, especially as voters expect local knowledge when they ask questions on the doorstep. We can’t be far away from state funding for political parties now.

  10. I managed to hold my own competently on local issues by being from the East Midlands and having read up on local issues. While Labour activists were relatively few they tended to be from Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Nottingham or Rushcliffe so knew the area fairly well and sounded local.

    I admire the effort of any campaigner willing to help out in a far flung by election but do try to read up on it first – getting caught short on the doorstep feels bad. It might have done the Tories as much harm as good to have dozens of teenagers from London door knocking with scant knowledge and stripy shirts.

  11. Mr Nameless – very true. There were gripes on social media from Tories who said organisation was woeful and they were sent to a village all day on Saturday and 90% were out. Although their main gripe was lack of hospitality/food from the local Assoc.

  12. YouGov poll shows immigration is now the top concern with UK voters (56%), putting the economy (53%) into 2nd place.

  13. Labour is a bit different as their activists are usually more down to earth, and of course they have union boots on the ground as well.

    Clueless Hooray Henries from Made in Chelsea knocking on doors in Newark will not go down well.

    “Although their main gripe was lack of hospitality/food from the local Assoc.”

    When I stood as a council candidate in 2002 my running mate (now sadly deceased) had allowed his house to be used for “hospitality provision” in the 1997 Beckenham by-election. They ended up having some valuable heirlooms stolen. I’m told this is a common story these days and is another downside of having so many strangers campaigning in a by-election. People are very reluctant to allow their houses to be used these days.

  14. A lack of grass roots organisation doesn’t just affect political parties. Churches, trade unions, civic groups etc are all struggling. It’s a sign of the times that people are less prepared to become actively involved with mass membership organisations these days. Although some groups like charismatic churches are managing to buck the trend.

  15. My mother in law was staying with us for a few weeks recently and being an observant catholic she insisted on going to church on Sundays….I was most astonished to hear that the church was practically standing room only. You do not expect Mid Sussex to be a hotbed of Catholicism.

  16. HH – perhaps it is the only RC church around? Catholics make up 9% of the UK, but a majority in a dozen seats such as Bootle, West Belfast and a couple in Glasgow and Manchester. Sefton C, W Lancs have a plurality and many are English RCs unlike those in other seats.

  17. I forgot to say that I caught the Tory PPC on the BBC briefly. He was a camp, chubby guy in his 30s. It reminded me that Tory candidates at Counts are always 25-35 or 75-85. What happened to the middle? I realise many may have been David Davis supporters who lapsed and many have families. But in the Manc, Oldham by-elections the Tory PPCs were also chubby camp guys in their 30s. A piece in the Telegraph on Newark also had a quote from a Tory staffer who said all of their guys fancied each other. Is the Tory HQ/activist base really that gay?

  18. Same thing within Labour – alot of candidates can either be very young or retired. Fact is if you’re middle-aged, you’re probably at the height of your professional career, at the height of managing a family, and it’s very hard to then find the time to run as a candidate as well.

  19. But there are a lot fewer Catholic Churches than there are CofE/Methodist/other non-conformist ones. As a result whatever Catholic congregation still exists, is much more concentrated in its attendance.

    I also think it’s true that the Catholic Church is becoming more and more like the CofE in it’s membership. Whenever a catholic diocese conducts a review of its parishes and churches, it is always buildings in traditional working class areas, particularly the huge peripheral coucil housing estates of midland and northern cities and towns, where observanace has tended to have fallen the most, that always end up closing, perhaps another contributor to the alienation of the population seen in many such communities. The only exceptions to this tend to be inner city working class areas where immigrants from around the world have tended to replenish the congregation.

    However catholics who have moved from urban areas to more desirous locales, seem to be more observant than those that have been left in urban areas. Often what was once a catholic church serving a relatively small congregation in small towns/ large villages, now appears to have grown its congregation, but my guess is that many of them are incomers to those areas from more urban communities.

  20. Just by looking at the twitter account of the candidate also Labour had lots of MPs down in the last 7 days: Balls, Coaker, Harman, Reeves, Healey, Skinner, Cooper, Leslie, Lillian Greenwood from Nottingham South, Nik Dukin from Scunthorpe, Lyn Brown from West Ham, Andy Sawford from Corby, Kevan Jones from Durham, Mary Glindon from North Tyneside, Tom Blekinsop from Middlesbrough, Ashworth from Leicester South, Chris Bryant, Rosie Winterton, the PPCs from Linconln, Sherwood, Ilford North.

    Obviously some of those people “had” to go and pay a visit (the Shadow Cabinet members and the neighbouring MPs) regardless of the efforts done and the orders imposed.

    As for party staffers and acivists being imported for by-election campaigns, I was told that South Shields was a very “organizers run campaign” with party staff being imported from London (hence the high accomodation expenditures) because the local activists willing to take part to the campaign couldn’t be trusted in anything more than serving tea.

  21. Ashcroft poll has tories 42 ukip 27 lab 20 so Labour heading for a poor third on that basis

  22. I don’t believe the Tories will do that well. As valid as it is to dissect these polls in the absence of more of them, they are still just two polls that have come out, and I’m not going to stake any predictions on them other than as them being a very general idea of the political mood in the constituency. The last poll Ashcroft did had them all the way down to 36, and I don’t believe the Tories have suddenly jumped 6 points.

    My guess is Labour will register a slight improvement on 2010.

  23. Incidentally, usually with important by-elections, I receive emails from Labour HQ asking how I might be able to help. The fact I haven’t received anything is pretty indicative of how my party is treating this.

  24. The Ashcroft national poll shows a whopping 9% lead for Labour which also looks over-generous. However, FWIW the last 5 national polls show Labour leads of 7,4,3, 9 & 5% which does seem to suggest that Labour has at least for the moment got back to where it was at the beginning of the year. If this holds it will be very frustrating for the Tories and they will need to campaign more strongly against UKIP. But returning to Ashcroft his polls do seem rather all-over-the-place – some seem too Tory-inclined, some too Labour-inclined – and we will need to keep an eye out to see if they settle down. I suspect that the Tory lead in this constituency is indeed unlikely to be as high as shown in this poll, though it does show that they are the front-runners.

  25. The Ashcroft poll also showed that 91% of Tory voters in Newark have received contact from the Party (phone mainly), including 80% who have received a leaflet. 81% of UKIP voters had received contact by UKIP when the poll was conducted last week.

  26. ‘The fact I haven’t received anything is pretty indicative of how my party is treating this.’

    You mean Labour isn’t trying, as it was suggested they might not on here a few weeks ago? That would rather suggest the 35% (or 30%) strategy is indeed alive and well.

  27. Ashcroft poll:

    Before the spiral of silence adjustment, the figures were

    Con 40%
    UKIP 29%
    Lab 19%
    LD 5%

  28. They are spot on for me both adj and unadjusted

    Newark town which everyone seems to be fixed on will be a 3 way tie but most of rest of the seat will be con 1st with ukip some way back in 2nd as the recent result in Tuxford ward which is labours best ward outside of newark showed.

  29. @H Hemmelig

    Seem to remember from history that the local aristocratic family (Fitzalan-Howard – the Dukes of Norfolk) were and are strongly Catholic.

  30. It feels to me from reading the above posts that there is a chance that the Labour vote will collapse as people increasingly see this as a two-horse race between UKIP and the Tories. After a strong drink and a prayer of propitiation to the Gods, some Labour voters may just hold their noses and vote Tory to keep UKIP out.

  31. @ wolf
    The dukes of Norfolk were based at Worksop manor in Bassetlaw until 1838. The anti-Catholic duke of Newcastle who bought the place blew the main house up with gunpowder .

  32. Not sure the Labour vote will collapse. Very, very few Labour supporters will be able to bring themselves to vote Conservative to keep UKIP out, or vice versa, not if they are committed to any degree to Labour. There will perhaps be some switchers from Labour to not voting at all though, which would obviously depress the party’s share of the vote. It’s different when Labour voters vote tactically for the LDs – they tend to see the LDs as an anti-Tory party, or at least have done until recently. If anything there would probably be more Labour sympathizers who would vote for UKIP against a Tory though I don’t think there will be many of those.

  33. These polls are a bit of a roller coaster ride.
    A Tory lead, another poll showing Labour losing vote share in marginal – contradicting an poll around the turn of the year – now one showing the Tories 5% below what they managed even in a set of local elections, but on the other hand an almost Plopwell range for the by-election.

  34. My final prediction

    Con 33%
    Helmer 30%
    Labour 25%
    LD 6%
    Green 3%
    Others 3%

  35. Con 39
    Ukip 29
    Lab 19
    Ld 6
    Oth 7

  36. I’m thinking along the same lines as JJB. I had the Tories on 36 and UKIP on 28 awhile back, but I’m minded to narrow the gap. Will have abit more of a think before I put up a final prediction of my own.

  37. By-election polls are notoriously unreliable. 2 of the 5 polls for the Eastleigh by-election but the Conservatives in first place and of course they actually came third.

  38. It’ll be funny if the majority is 56 and they have to count over the weekend
    with everyone coming back with bags under their eyes.

  39. Unusually for these days the BBC have a special by-election programme scheduled. But I think it finishes at about 3:30am and Sod’s Law dictates that the result won’t have come through by then for whatever reason. The LDs trying to save their deposit, for example.

  40. I agree with JJB’s prediction. The Tories haven’t held a By-Election in Govt since Maggie was PM, but equally UKIP have never elected an MP.

  41. I did say final prediction, but having thought further I think the Tories will hold by a larger majority but a very close result is a distinct possibility.

  42. The Tories should poll at least 35% and the only way they can lose is if large numbers of Labour voters decide to switch to UKIP at the last minute.

  43. Andrea – that’s interesting re South Shields. I recall a piece on Labour List saying there was no canvass data for 98% of the seat and whatever D Miliband had been doing over the past decade, it certainly wasn’t talking to his electorate.

  44. It is strange how volatile the Ashcroft National Polls are but hopefully they will settle down soon.

    I truly appreciate the Ashcroft Polls however as he often asks the second question about voting in your particular constituency (just like PoliticsHome did in 2008 and 2009).

    With regard to this byelection my prediction is :

    Tories 39%
    UKIP 30%
    Lab 21%
    LD 5%
    Others 5%

  45. “Clueless Hooray Henries from Made in Chelsea knocking on doors in Newark will not go down well”

    H.Hemmelig – Haha! You really make me laugh!!

    I wonder if students from the Nottingham University Conservative Association will be campaigning as I read on the Nottingham South forum is extremely active?

    You’d probably put them in the same catergory as the “Clueless Hooray Henries from Made in Chelsea”! Haha

  46. They held a big Conservative Future party in Nottingham after campaigning finished, I’m told. Can’t think of anything I’d enjoy less, but seems they have been involved.

  47. Well at least Nottingham is pretty local and the people studying there vaguely know the part of the world the by-election is taking place in. It makes sense for nearby university associations to help out. What doesn’t make sense is busing people in from Notting Hill who have never set foot north of Watford.

  48. they may have gone hunting in Leicestershire perhaps.

  49. Doubt it. As Lancs Observer notes, the stereotypical young Tory activist or staffer these days is too camp to be interested in hunting (your son excepted of course) How’s his career in the Tory party going by the way?

  50. Re students, I expect most are now home or away on holiday. Tory MPs will also now be at Westminster for the Queen’s Speech in the morning and then the Debate. Although ConHome reports that all Tories on the Candidates’ List are mandated to attend Newark by Polling Day. Paul Nuttall MEP said UKIP matched the Tories on the ground at the weekend.

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