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. His career HH? He hasn’t even gone to a meeting yet! This could be the least successful infiltration of the Tory Party ever. I think he plans to play some part in Conservative Future though.

  2. Lots of caveats surrounding Ashcroft’s poll showing Cons 15% ahead. (First is that actually it was 11% as Andy JS pointed out – other pollsters don’t reallocate D/Ks / won’t says’ for by-election polls).

    2nd is that it was done Tuesday-Sunday – either side of the Survation poll not all since as you might think, plus most polling companies avoid polling at weekends as proved to be screwy (could this partly explain the volatility of Ashcroft’s national polls perhaps?).

    3rd, it’s reported that the UKIP full-scale canvassing team only got going with a real vengeance last weekend – so any impact on this poll will be limited.

    4th, a ‘shy UKIP’ effect has shown to be common in all bar Euro polls – and may have increased again after all the negative publicity against them during Euro campaign. The counter to this of course, is that there are more ‘anti-kippers’ now, so they do not automatically unify the ‘anti’ vote any more, even in a 2-horse race.

    There are various other factors in UKIP’s favour, but time fails me!

    Their biggest threat from this poll is if it encourages apathy then it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy – though I suppose the same could be said for Tories.

    Whilst I certainly wouldn’t waste any fortunes betting on UKIP, it’s not clear-cut enough to risk too much on Tories either. All I’d say at the moment is that it could be anything from an 18% Tory win to a 4% UKIP one.

  3. Guido Fawkes reports that Grant Shapps has threatened any on the Tory Candidates’ List who fail to go to Newark by Thursday with removal. Apparently 150 of the 600 failed to turn up on Saturday.

  4. My view is the by-election will be decided on the normally Labour-voting council estates. If most of them continue to vote Labour, the Tories will hold the seat. If large numbers make a last minute decision to support UKIP, Helmer might just win with a small majority.

  5. Information about the count, with the result expected between 2 and 3am:

  6. There aren’t enough council estates nor enough working class people in Newark for them to account for the whole Labour vote.

    Like most fairly nice areas, an element of the Labour vote here is made up of public sector professionals, a good example being my sister who lived in Newark until 2 years ago, taking her solidly Labour vote with her to Grantham.

  7. Is there an unofficial Monster Raving Loony Party (current Lib Dems?)? I like how they went through the trouble of putting up a countdown clock though. So tense.

    My gut says UKIP will get a decent second and perhaps give the Tories a scare. Not a very bold or exciting prediction but I’d be a little surprised if Helmer took this. Unless a larger group of Labour supporters are aware of the polls and make the switch. Though HEMMELIG’s comment doesn’t fill me with much confidence of this happening.

  8. Helmer apparently has attacked the Conservative candidate for having too much money and too many houses, so he may be trying to gun for the Labour vote.

    But I do not like this unmanly line of attack from a candidate so straightforwards as Helmer.

  9. I must say Conservative Central office are behaving appallingly over the candidate issue. It seems such a weirdly blanket way of doing politics, forcing candidates to show up not for any reason of name recognition (I said hello to the Attorney General and didn’t recognise him) but as meat on the ground.

    I guess they need as many people as possible to counter UKIP but that kind of machine politics is very off putting.

  10. Certainly very offputting for attracting normal people into parliament.

    This is just another reason why the system increasingly favours those rich enough to be able to dump their work and family responsibilities at a drop of a hat, and/or those who already work as SPADs, lobbyists or trade union reps.

    As a fairly ordinary 37 year old with a wife, a middle income and two young kids someone like me could never ever give the amount of “commitment” a political party now requires even to be an approved candidate. Instead of ordinary people with families they are restricting their talent pool to those who are rich, single, oddballs or political obsessives.

  11. The only people from the Parliamntary party who need to campaign should ideally be limited to party leaders for an odd visit, a small number of cabinet members, an MP involved with election campaigning/grassroots stuff and of course local MPs from near by seats. The rest of the campaign operation can be carried by the PPC and party activists.

    Corby was so much more vulnerable than rock solid Newark yet they seem to be campaigning here much harder. Its good not to be complacent but compared to 2012, the Tories are currently overseeing an economic recovery and in a seat where Labour can’t do much damage on current boundaries.

  12. My prediction for what it’s worth

    Con 15,000
    UKIP 10,000
    Lab 8,000
    LD 2,500
    Oth 500

  13. HH – that’s sadly true. Neil – the Tories haven’t held a By-election when in Govt since Maggie, so I can understand the worries. However, I’m not certain – as others have said – that having far flung MPs, PPCs and staffers sent up is altogether a positive. It may even backfire. The Times has a piece that 300 young Tory activists were given a free curry and a night at a gay club if they went to Newark with ‘Road Trip 2015.’

  14. Any news on the ground the last couple of days anyone?

  15. Shady, who is in Newark, has made a prediction:

    Con 39%
    UKIP 30%
    Lab 16%
    Paul Baggaley 5%
    LD 4%
    Greens 3%

    Turnout 55%

    What I find interesting is that his Labour figure is 11 points lower than the first of the two opinion polls.

  16. Sorry, Shadsy.

  17. Final prediction:

    Conservatives 35
    UKIP 31
    Labour 25
    Liberal Democrats 6
    Others 3

  18. @Myth11


  19. Con 36 (-18) 13100
    UKIP 29 (+25) 10500
    Lab 24 (+2) 8700
    Other 6 (+6) 2000
    LD 5 1800 (-15) 1800

    Turnout: around 50%

  20. CON 38
    UKIP 33
    LAB 17
    Others 12

  21. Completely agree with H Hemmelig’s comments above. Indeed Jenrick himself is an example of the kind of robotic politician produced by such an authoritarian candidate system.

  22. If Labour were that low, I can’t see why the Tories would still be well ahead of UKIP. I could of course be wrong.

  23. The normally Labour tactical voters I met tended to split pretty evenly between those (tended to be older and poorer) voting UKIP to whack the Tories, and those (younger or wealthier) voting Tory to stop UKIP.

  24. To be honest, if I was a Labour voter in Newark right now, as opposed to a party member, I think I’d have decided to vote Conservative tomorrow, as I couldn’t abide the thought of UKIP – let alone someone like Helmer – representing me, and my town being known as UKIP’s breakthrough.

  25. I can understand Labour members taking that view, but I’m less certain that ordinary Labour voters would see things the same way.

  26. I doubt they would. I was only speaking for myself, Andy.

  27. I’m just saying that if I actually lived in Newark, and wasn’t a party member, this would be my thinking for tomorrow.

  28. I’m just going by the local elections where large numbers of Labour voters in places like Rotherham, Dudley, Stoke, Hull, etc. seemed to be willing to support UKIP, although most of them will presumably come back to Labour for the general election.

  29. Andy, I think you’re getting the wrong end of the stick with my comments. I’m not suggesting my view would be anyone else’s. I’m just saying what I – and I alone – would be thinking. Considering I’m a political anorak, I’d be mighty surprised if my political considerations are representative of everyone else’s.

  30. “I can understand Labour members taking that view, but I’m less certain that ordinary Labour voters would see things the same way.”

    Likewise significant numbers of ordinary Conservative voters must have voted for George Galloway in Bradford just to spite Labour.

  31. “Jenrick himself is an example of the kind of robotic politician produced by such an authoritarian candidate system.”

    And if he wins this chinless wonder will have a job for life.

    And as the chinless wonders become an ever larger proportion of politicians they will see nothing wrong with people like them being politicians. While to them ‘ordinary people’ look like the weird outsiders.

    A very unfortunate feedback loop then develops.

  32. Telegraph reports that 1,000 Tory activists are due in Newark tomorrow. That’s about 1 activist for every likely 14 votes the party will receive tomorrow, assuming so many activists doesn’t put off voters.

  33. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day in Newark…

    That many activists is the definition of overkill. This Jenrick fellow sounds like a professional polished politician in waiting. If Newark elects him or don’t turn out in numbers to vote for an anti-establishment candidate like Helmer, then they shouldn’t complain if they don’t get they result they want.

  34. Andy JS – thanks for the link. Sending Matthew Hancock and Esther McVey there today may not help. I have to say if anyone rattled my letterbox at 4.45am, I might call the police. Richard – that is a depressing thought. I hadn’t realised the Tory PPC, aged 32, was worth millions.

  35. It’s interesting that the Cons are throwing the entire fitted kitchen at this. I’m sure they’ll claim it was a walk in the park when they presumably win but, in truth, they may have just eked out a victory.

    Part of me even wonders whether UKIP would be best served by their sole representation in Parliament being a controversial figure like Roger Helmer. There’s probably a silver lining to him finishing second. Though perhaps not a huge one.

  36. Lancs, sending perpetually smug ministers like Hancock and McVey could make plenty of Newark residents cringe.

    At this stage (i.e. the DAY of the by-election) surely all it needs are the Tory MPs in Notts itself for a final push. Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Mark Spencer.

  37. It really should have been something like “All MPs, PPCs and members within a two-constituency radius should attend, but we won’t make you”. Much less authoritarian and probably fairly effective.

  38. Here is the official Ladbrokes’ prediction:

    39% Conservatives
    30% UKIP
    16% Labour
    5% Paul Baggaley (Ind)
    4% Liberal Democrats
    3% Greens

    55% Turnout

  39. Assuming the electorate is about 74,000 that would be a Tory lead over UKIP of about 3,650 votes.

  40. Live webcast of count from 10 pm tonight. Info & link on this page of Newark & Sherwood Cncl site :-

    They claim ‘live from the election count . . . ‘ .
    Must look out my anorak and get settled in for the night.


  41. BR – BBC1 has coverage til 3am too.

  42. I’m not sure what happened to purdah during by-elections. Although I realise most conventions have been breached by the Coalition Govt and the Govt had already changed the date of the Queen’s Speech twice.

  43. Obviously we don’t know what the result will be for certain yet, but I think its just worth taking a few moments to reflect upon the fact that if this by-election had been taking place during 1992-97 (the last time Labour were on course for office) Labour would be WINNING it quite handsomely.

    I thought that Labour might just about be in with a shot of winning the seat at the start of the campaign. Its amazing how rapidly they fell away though. Since in my view it looks like it will be a Tory hold tonight, I should say that I think it is the Labour Party with most difficult questions to answer in the morning.

    Because if Ed Miliband were getting anywhere near to Downing Street, he’d be winning here tonight. And he isn’t going to!

  44. Are you there Shaun? Good to hear from you.

  45. Labour didn’t have the money to pour thousands of activists into the seat in the way the Tories did, nor an ability to focus on only one seat for weeks as UKIP did. Yes their candidate could have been better but to say Miliband can’t win the election if he doesn’t win Newark is ludicrous.

    Momentum in the press and public opinion is with UKIP, which meant all eyes were on them here and consequently that it’s been very difficult for Labour to get a look in.

  46. Nobody is claiming Labour need to win this by-election in order to win the election,
    but the contrast with 1992-7 is still significant.

    Your point is an interesting one as we tend to worry Labour does actually have quite an activist and maybe even cash advantage.

  47. MrNameless – to be fair to the broadcast media, Miliband has had plenty of coverage, it’s just that it backfired over his gaffes re Swindon, the cost of a weekly shop or just looking odd.

  48. I think the tories will scrape home here with maj1000

    I make it 15 straight by-election losses for the tories in government, they have in fact hardly won a government by-election since the birth of the SDP. Also hardly a week seems to go by without a shock tory loss in some safe local seat. (not as much in last few months though)

    So what is it about tories and by-elections?

  49. The most likely scenario IMO is UKIP carrying the town of Newark itself by 1-2,000 votes and the Tories being ahead in the rest of the constituency by 3-4,000. So the Tories ahead by about 2,000 overall.

  50. Don’t do too badly in council by-elections although it can be a bit patchy even in a good period.
    Even in 2007-9 the odd seat was being lost to Labour or the LDs.
    Provided we have a good organised set up and do the work we can usually do quite well where we should.

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