Local By-Election Review : November 17th 2017

November 17th, 2017

Kirkley on Waveney (Lab defence)
Result: Con 217 (28% +7% on last time), Lab 374 (48% +12% on last time), Lib Dem 84 (11% no candidate last time), UKIP 78 (10% -10% on last time), Green 30 (4% -5% on last time) (No Independent candidate this time -15%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 157 (20%) on a swing of 2.5% from Con to Lab

St. Margaret’s on Waveney (Lab defence)
Result: Con 487 (42% +12% on last time), Lab 410 (35% -1% on last time), Lib Dem 88 (8% no candidate last time), UKIP 119 (10% -16% on last time), Green 65 (6% -2% on last time)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 77 (7%) on a swing of 6.5% from Lab to Con

Penn and Coleshill on Chiltern (Con defence)
Result: Con 697 (81%), Lib Dem 168 (19%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 529 (62%). No swing calculation due to unopposed return last time.

Sudbrooke on West Lindsey (Con defence)
Result: Con 391 (70% +1% on last time), Lab 171 (30% +10% on last time) (No Liberal Democrat candidate this time (-11%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 220 (40%) on a swing of 4.5% from Con to Lab

Whaplode and Holbeach St. John’s on South Holland (Con defence)
Result: Con 541 (78% +21% on last time), Lab 153 (22% no candidate last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -43%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 388 (56%) on a notional swing of 0.5% from Con to Lab (Actual swing: 32% from UKIP to Con)

Staining and Weeton on Flyde (Con defence)
Result: Con 401 (73% +8% on last time, Lab 111 (20% -15% on last time), Lib Dem 37 (7% no candidate last time)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 290 (53%) on a swing of 11.5% from Lab to Con

Penrith North on Eden (Lib Dem defence)
Result: Con 291 (31% -1% on last time), Lab 155 (17% -8% on last time), Lib Dem 422 (45% +2% on last time), Green 65 (7% no candidate last time)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 131 (14%) on a swing of 1.5% from Con to Lib Dem

Mowden on Darlington (Con defence)
Result: Con 652 (61% +15% on last time), Lab 285 (27% -5% on last time), Lib Dem 111 (10% no candidate last time), Green 26 (2% -5% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -15%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 367 (34%) on a swing of 11% from Lab to Con

Red Hall and Lingfield on Darlington (Lab defence)
Result: Con 230 (41% +12% on last time), Lab 249 (45% -2% on last time), Lib Dem 11 (2% -10% on last time), Green 20 (4% -8% on last time), Ind 46 (8% no candidate last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 19 (4%) on a swing of 7% from Lab to Con

Victoria on Hartlepool (Lab defence)
Result: Con 98 (11% -1% on last time), Lab 479 (53% +12% on last time), UKIP 325 (36% (+13% on last time) (No Green candidate this time -7%, No Hartlepool First candidate this time -15%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 154 (17%) on a swing of 0.5% from Lab to UKIP


Jacob Rees-Mogg now clear betting favourite to be next CON leader

November 17th, 2017

The history of the Tory party is that favourites rarely make it

The latest betting chart from Betdata.io is above and shows Jacob Rees-Mogg now clear favourite to succeed TMay but a 14% chance is not that strong. He’s the third Tory to have been favourite since the general election and who knows others could follow.

My first ever bet as a 16 year old (I went into a bookie wearing my school blazer and yes I was breaking the law) was on the 1963 CON contest when there was no electoral process within the party and even MPs didn’t get a vote. The system involved a new leader “emerging” in an apparently mystical process. The hot favourite had been Rab Butler but Earl Home, who later became a commoner and fought a by-election to become an MP, was the winner. My first ever political bet was a loser but that did not stop me.

After the party’s defeat in 1964 the Tories introduced a new system with MPs making the choice. The first to benefit was Edward Heath, who wasn’t favourite, who went on to lead his party to a majority in 1970.

We are in a very strange position at the moment. It is widely acknowledged that Mrs. May will step down after Brexit if not before so the person who will lead the party into the next election is not yet known.

My guess is that we’ll see others move into the favourite slot before a successor is chosen.

Mike Smithson


TMay’s plan to enshrine the Brexit date in law looks set to fail

November 17th, 2017

The big Brexit bill showdown at Westminster looks set to be TMay’s plan to enshrine the precise date and time of the exit in the Bill that’s going through Parliament at the moment.

The Times is reporting that there was a stormy meeting with rebel Tory MPs earlier in the week and that this might have to be toned down even though perhaps 7 Labour MPs could back it.

Those against say it would tie the Government’s hand in negotiations. Downing Street is now saying that it will listen to views of those in the House.

Meanwhile it is being reported that Sir Michael Fallon has not taken part in any Commons vote since his cabinet departure more than two weeks ago. In such a tight parliamentary situation this is adding to the problems of the government whips.

There is of course a betting market on whether Britain will be out of the EU on March 29 2019. The current odds point to a 43% chance of this happening.

Mike Smithson


New “media trust” polling finds the BBC top and the Sun bottom

November 16th, 2017

I’m sure people will correct meif I’m wrong but I think this polling is a first. We see from time to time several different forms of “trust” polling but as far as I can recall these latest findings from Ipsos MORI covering broadcast, the press and the internet is new.

For those who follow politics closely the close relationship between media and politicians is something that is raised all the time especially the way the former can have a huge impact on the what we term the “narrative”.

The question is set out in the chart above and as can be seen Twitter and Facebook fare badly which I find reassuring. The two popular red tops, the Star and the Sun are the least trusted.

As a former BBC newsman I’d expect the Corporation to be fairly reassured by this polling given the intensity with which it is attacked by left and right.

I find the approach to the BBC of many within the Corbyn clan an indictment of them and it was surely a disgrace that the BBC Political Editor had to be accompanied by a bodyguard at the Labour conference.

It’s interesting as well how Huffington Post is establishing itself.

Of the heavies, what used to be called the broadsheets, the Telegraph seems to, in comparative terms, fared worse.

We live in very polarised times which make things very challenging for all who are trying report what is going on in the world.

Mike Smithson


So far so good. We might just get to the end of the week without a Cabinet exit

November 16th, 2017


This is unlike each of the previous two weeks

As BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show has observed TMay’s Cabinet had begun to look like Strictly with a much publicised departure in the previous two weeks.

Well so far this week, and I know it is only Thursday, it looks as though TMay’s cabinet will remain intact. Her deputy and long-standing friend from her Oxford days, Damien Green, hangs on and my guess is that TMay will fight tooth and nail to keep him.

The former London Mayor is still there probably because it is far better to have him inside the tent p***ing out than outside p***ing in that wonderfully phrase credited to LBJ. He is joint second favourite with PaddyPower alongside DDavis and the PM herself.

But these are very difficult to predict. Remember the weekend after the general election when the widespread assumption was that she, in that memorable GOsborne phrase, “a dead woman walking”.

What there could always be is a confidence move against the PM herself. My sense is that she is finding her mojo again, her confidence is coming back and this might deter a move for now.

Mike Smithson


NEW PB/Polling Matters podcast: Why aren’t the polls moving?

November 16th, 2017

The PB / Polling Matters podcast returns! Keiran is joined by Leo Barasi and Matt Singh to discuss the latest developments in Westminster (and beyond) and what the numbers tell us about what is going on.

On this week’s show the team discuss why the polls are not moving despite the government’s struggles, what the public really think about Brexit and whether the Democrats might be on course to take Alabama in the upcoming U.S. Senate race.

Follow this week’s guests:




Listen to the show below


The Telegraph front page that has been making the political weather all day

November 15th, 2017

PB’s David Herdson hit the nail on the head


Marf on the dramatic events in Harare

November 15th, 2017

A coup or not a coup?

Dr Julia Gallagher, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, said:

“This has all the hallmarks of a military coup. It looks like this is direct consequence of President Mugabe’s sacking of his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week. Mnangagwa is an unpopular figure, widely associated with brutal repressions in Matabeland in the 1980s, and with election violence more recently. However, he is supported by Zimbabwe’s military, who want him to succeed Mugabe.”

Mike Smithson