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. 3am – I can’t stay up that late.
    I’ve got to get some work finished then be off early tomorrow.
    No doubt I’ll hear it when we know.

  2. I was in Newark today and in the town itself only saw posters for UKIP, although admittedly there weren’t many. Also, the parties seem to have regrettably given up on the tradition of putting posters on lampposts, telegraph poles, etc. Maybe something to do with health and safety.

  3. A bookie at Southwell races today took a large bet on UKIP, but Tories remain odds on favourites.

  4. No Lib Dem predictions on here this time – in 2003 or 4 – there would have been.

  5. Originally I thought the LDs would save their deposit comfortably. Now it seems there’s a lot of talk about them getting about 4%.

  6. Actually they would never have featured here – my point is they would have featured in many by-election discussions 10 or 11 year ago

  7. I know I said my prediction earlier was my final one, but looking back I actually can’t really argue Labour will improve on their 2010 performance in this climate. I agree now they’ll fall back.

  8. Although not an exit poll, the final Survation survey indicates UKIP may have “won” with men but come third with women behind Labour.

  9. Sorry Joe, didn’t see you.
    I am hoping to visit the site more regularly as we get towards the general election campaign. Although I’m not sure whether I can make predictions for every seat like I did last time. Compared to the situation today, predicting the 2010 election at seat level was simplicity itself!

  10. On the Lib Dem point, I’m not sure they’d have been in much contention here even in the 1990s. There only real area of support is-was-Southwell. No, this would have been a sure Labour gain before 1997, even on these boundaries (which are worse than the old Newark for Labour).

    The Lib Dems may have fared better in a by-election around 2003, perhaps taking second place if they did really well, but I suspect it would have been a sure Conservative hold when New Labour were in government.

  11. I’ve no doubt that starting at 54-22-20, under the Thatcher/Major govts, the ‘Alliance’ or (Social &) LibDems would have fancied their chances of coming from 3rd place to win, or at least be a near miss (compare Brecon and Radnor won from a close 3rd). A 20% swing was about the limit of what they could turn round in a by-election. BUT the rewards to the LibDems of winning by-elections reduced considerably, the more frequently they did it and the cost has increased. Add to that a declining and demoralised activist base, and they would be less likely to be giving it a really good shot, even if they weren’t the unpopular junior partner in a coalition, quite regardless of UKIP coming onto the scene.

  12. I for one am suffering from abit of insomnia nowadays, hence why I sometimes post rather late comments here, but for once I can exploit it by staying up and watching the by-election coverage. Got my snacks ready!

  13. Tories apparently have a small lead around 4% in Newark town. So the tories will hold this. Ukip only got 9% in Southwell last locals, which is inner london levels of support.

  14. What in Southwell lends it well to the Liberal Democrats and also against UKIP? Does it have an arts scene?

  15. Those figures can only be rough estimates and may not be reliable.

  16. Southwell is just very wealthy and middle class, like Richmond Park, so the LDs do well.

  17. I was going to stay up for the result, but it may be as late as 4am and the Tories have Matthew Hancock on BBC1 who is already telling lies.

  18. Nottingham Post reports that UKIP have conceded the Tories have won.

  19. Farage on Five Live – Tories to win by about 2,500.

  20. Yeah, I think even my insomnia will be tested by how late the result will probably be.

    To be honest, I was mostly concerned about making sure I didn’t sleep through a UKIP upset. Such a breakthrough, I would have been kicking myself if I’d missed it.

    But, since it’s apparently clear they haven’t won, I think I’ll drop off soon.

  21. The special just said the Liberal Democrats might have got just 2% of the vote!

    God-awful. Just God-awful. In a seat like Newark, in particular with its Southwell bit, I was confident they would hold their deposit. In my mind, they’ve hit yet a new low.

  22. I completely agree with Van Fleet. I actually think that 2% for LD is as astonishing as UKIP 30%. It’s awful in a seat like this. Terrible!

  23. Awful :/
    The LD candidate said loads of LDs voted tactically Tory

  24. Tories get 46% of the vote, UKIP on 26%, and 18% for Labour. Lib Dems get 3%.

    Yes, the Tories are down 8% on 2010, but considering the roll UKIP are on it can’t be considered anything other than a disappointing result for Helmer as far as I’m concerned. I was really expecting them to hit, or just miss, the 30s.

  25. Con 17,431
    UKIP 10,028
    Lab 6,842
    Ind Baggaley 1,891
    Green 1,057
    LD 1,004

    Maj 7,403

    Con 45.0%
    UKIP 25.9%
    Lab 17.7%
    Ind Baggaley 4.9%
    Green 2.7%
    LD 2.6%
    Oth 1.2%

  26. Con – 17,431
    UKIP – 10,028
    Lab – 6,842
    LD – 1,000
    Others, 3,400

    Con majority 7,403

    Despite what John Curtice was saying on Beeb, a solid result for Con. Best Con by-election result when in Government for decades.

  27. That really is an unexpectedly good tory result considering the circumstances, clearly LD voters did indeed vote tory. Ukip will be dissapionted, but a solid result. Labour did poorly as did the Greens.

  28. UKIP probably did okay in Newark itself but must have done rather badly in the affluent villages and Southwell.

  29. Predicted all along that the Tories would hold. And a decent majority too. The UKIP result here reminds me of the one in Wythenshawe & Sale East in that they finish 2nd but don’t make the in-roads that really challenges the main party.

    So a new bland MP has been elected. For the Tories the result itself should be comforting. Mercer’s majority and the general affluence of the seat were always going to be in their favour.

    The result for Labour is disappointing, although expected. They didn’t seem to take Newark seriously and their candidate left a lot to be desired.

  30. Ditto Labour – squeezed in what was seen as a two horse race and without as many campaigners coming in as the others they didn’t really stand a chance.

    Shame for Paul Baggaley to miss holding his deposit by 0.1%. Sixth place for Lib Dems is just abysmal.

  31. Also a poor result for the Lib Dems. I did really expect them to hold their deposit because of their strength in Southwell.

    UKIP surely took a lot of Labour and Lib Dem support to boost their vote. But their low base and sheer Tory strength were just too overwhelming. In a way it’s a shame they didn’t cause the earthquake like a couple of weeks ago.

  32. Had there been a by-election in south Essex the result would have been much much closer.

  33. Lord Ashcroft’s pre-election poll of Con 42%, Lab 20%, UKIP 27% was very close to the actual result of Con 45%, Lab 18%, UKIP 26%. Other than in a handful of constituencies, UKIP’s ceiling seems to be about 30%, which isn’t enough to win a FPTP election.

    As for the LDs, it will be Bye Bye Dems after the GE in 2015, with the exception of a few seats, e.g. O&S. They will be back to where they were 50-60 years ago. IMO, there will be no 3rd party with more than 15 seats after the next GE, so there will be no stable government unless Lab can win an OM.

  34. In 2010 I made my famous description of the general election as ‘private sector voted Conservative, public sector and ethnics (including Scots) voted Labour’.

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

    Middle class private sector = Conservative
    Middle class public sector + ethnics = Labour
    WWC = UKIP

    I suspect that the media will continue to sterotype UKIP as reactionary middle class Conservatives.

  35. daodao
    Careful, if you say things like that (I did), people will ridicule you. Everybody on this site except the two of us seems to think that the LDs will recover from their current 7% or so to over 10% and more (I think there is at least as much chance that they will fall further).

  36. Well as flagged, a poor third for Labour with a very weak swing from the Conservatives. Of course Labour don’t need to win seats like Newark but there are no signs at all of any enthusiasm for them in this result.

    This leaves them in a vulnerable position for next year. Getting 35% nationally is going to be a major struggle given the improved economic backdrop and their leader’s lack of broad appeal. I’ll stick my neck out now and say I think they may struggle to top 30-31%.

  37. Neil,

    Nobody thought UKIP would win the seat…the bookies were generally 6 to 1 against, which is very long odds.

    Newark is a safe tory seat, where Mercer had 54% of the vote at the General Election and a 16k majority.

    If UKIP continue to perform half as well next year, we are looking at a Labour government, I’m afraid.

  38. The 2010 boundary changes only increased the 2005 Conservative majority from 14.1% to a notional 22.1% (the equivalent of a swing from Lab to Con of just 4%).

    While the boundary changes have made this constituency a lesser Labour prospect in a general election they should still have polled strongly in a mid term by election (and should have benefited from UKIP dividing the Tory vote).

    Labour polled 23496 (45.2%) in 1997 so to finish over 10000 votes behind the Conservatives in a constituency that has had Labour traditions seems to be a pretty poor performance.

  39. And notably Labour appear to have written of the seat more or less from the word go, and made minimal effort here. I think that says a lot about how confident they really are for 2015 as well – i.e. not very.

  40. I am not sure its so much a lack of confidence on Labour’s part, more a lack of ambition. They’ve spent the past four years thinking they can basically rock up in 2015 and have a combination of a chunk of the 2010 Lib Dem vote falling into their lap, Tory vote leakage to UKIP and the quirks of the electoral system deliver them back to power.

    Their insipid performance in most of this year’s electoral contests is the natural culmination of this lethargy masquerading as strategy.

  41. James, It just isn’t true that “Nobody thought UKIP would win the seat”. Virtually everyone who impartially examined it over the time since the Euros didn’t think UKIP would win, but clearly the Tories were seriously worried and some UKIP supporters thought they would win.
    And on this site just last night (“June 6th, 2014 at 12:12 am”) Van Fleet posted “I was mostly concerned about making sure I didn’t sleep through a UKIP upset. Such a breakthrough, I would have been kicking myself if I’d missed it.
    But, since it’s apparently clear they haven’t won, I think I’ll drop off soon.”

  42. If this had been between late ’92 and ’97 – Labour would have taken the seat with a five-figure majority

    That they saw their vote drop, with less than a year until the general election, surely shows that 1) UKIP are every bit as a threat to them as they are the Tories and 2) they will not win the 2015 election

    One wonders how much longer the Labour Party will continue to live in denial

  43. A strong Conservative result, and congratulations to the new MP and the team. A 9pc drop in a by-election and vote share of 45.0pc is imprerssive. I strongly disagree with a comment last night that this is nothing special because the Tory vote dropped only slightly more in other by-elections, because here we had more to lose and could well have lost in 1979-07. Now it could well be the country is diverging further between areas which are quite pleased with the Tory record and other marginals such as those in london where we face a real threat, but this is a very strong result.

  44. If Retford was still in this seat Labour probably would have done better, but even there UKIP might have bitten into their vote. It was a lax campaign effort on the whole. If this was a by-election in somewhere like Enfield North or Hastings & Rye you can bet that Labour would’ve thrown absolutely everything at them.

  45. The Tory decrease was certainly a sign of their vote holding up in these parts. Maybe the final drive to pour MPs and campaigners into the area helped, but Cameron should take strength from this result. The majority was no where near enough to cause jitters.

    Had it been a by-election in Lincolnshire, Kent or Essex where UKIP have made strides locally we would have seen a much tighter contest.

  46. Tim,
    Yes, it is quite possible that “If this had been between late ’92 and ’97 – Labour would have taken the seat with a five-figure majority”, but they won the following election with an overwhelming landslide.

    So, we can conclude that Labour are not on their way to an overwhelming landslide under their own steam.

    “That they saw their vote drop, with less than a year until the general election,” shows only that they didn’t think they would win, and didn’t fancy throwing all of £100,000 (plus) at what they felt would be an unsuccessful campaign.

    Why didn’t Labour think they would win, when they would between late ’92 and ’97? 1) Tories have become vastly better at parliamentary by-elections 2) UKIP provide another option (of a party with loads of cash to vote for who might win the by-election) to people wanting to get rid of the Tory in a constituency with a large Tory majority, that such people didn’t have in the early 90s.

    I simply don’t agree that this by-election means UKIP are as much a threat to Labour as the tories, and I think this by-election result is irrelevant to who wins the 2015 GE.

    What we can take from it: 1) the Tories have avoided the distaster that would have befallen them if UKIP had won. 2) LibDems finishing 6th, behind Greens, is further bad publicity for them, which might have a small further adverse impact on their poll ratings.

  47. This by-election has very little significance for the general election in terms of the main event, the Labour v Conservative battle. It is more of a setback to UKIP than anything else – while winning this seat was a very long shot indeed, to lose by as much as 7,000 is quite a poor return for the effort they put in. It does seem that some Labour voters, and many LD ones, have voted Tory to keep UKIP out, and very few Labour voters indeed appear to have voted UKIP to kick the government. Of course it’s possible that the Tories will march on and win, but it doesn’t follow from this by-election. Runnymede’s claim is a rather airy and wild one. To extrapolate from this that Labour will get a certain percentage at a general election is pure guesswork. They could do, of course, but if the economic recovery does not benefit ordinary people then the Tories will derive very little if any benefit from it. Labour’s vote is still obstinately in the high 30s just as it was at the beginning of the year, and a lot now will depend on the conference season and to some extent on the Budget. The Tories have reason to be pleased and relieved, but this result is a by-election result, no more than that, even though a much better one than they have in a long time. Some will lazily say something like “Newark is the sort of middle England seat which Labour needs to win to get into government”, but that isn’t actually true. It’s 10 months until a general election is called, the Tories need to be at least 3%, probably 4%, ahead of Labour to stay in office, but they are 5-6% behind according to almost all current polls. However much some will criticize Labour’s lack of ambition in this by-election – and I would certainly join in this criticism – this result alone does not mean that the Tories are set to stay in government. They COULD be, but it will be tough for them indeed.

  48. I completely agree.

    All that Newark tells us is that Labour aren’t going to achieve a 1997 type of result in 2015. But we knew that already. It certainly doesn’t tell us that Labour couldn’t end up with most seats in a hung parliament.

  49. Well I sense a lot of excuses being aired here for Labour’s performance. The Tories didn’t win by a landslide in 2010 but they got massive swings in Norwich and Crewe in byelections, not the less than 2% swing seen in Newark.

    The size of the swing matters, even if Labour were never likely to actually win the seat.

    And yes, my prediction for the Labour share at the GE is of course guesswork. But it’s not outlandish to expect a poll rating in the mid-30s to translate into a GE share of 30-31% on past form. ‘Swingback’ is a real phenomenon, and it has already been operating to a considerable extent over the last year.

  50. runnymede
    I have no reasons to make excuses for Labour’s performance. It doesn’t make sense to compare Tories in Norwich N or Crewe with here. It was clear that Lab weren’t really trying. If you want to compare, you need to compare with a by-election wehre the Tories weren’t really trying. The closest comparison from the 2005-2010 parliament I can see would be Glenrothes.

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