News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good night for Conservatives in by-elections

This Thursday's by-elections were generally a good night for the Conservatives. Of course, the biggest election of the night was the Parliamentary by-election in Haltemprice and Howden, which David Davis held comfortable. No surprises there given that Labour, the Lib Dems, UKIP and the BNP all decided not to stand candidates (Labour were too scared, and the others supported David Davis' stand for civil liberties). However, PoliticalBetting.com is suggesting that the fact that the Greens, who came second, did not pick up many votes suggests that there is no longer the level of anti-Tory voting that we evident through tactical voting against Conservative candidates in the last three general elections. That could be down to David Cameron's decontamination strategy, or disatisfaction with Labour. Most likely, it's a combination of the two.

In local government, the Conservatives picked up a couple of extra seats, one each from Labour and the Lib Dems, which is a particularly good sign.

Sadly, the Lib Dems retained Canterbury's Barton ward, by a majority 16 votes larger than last year. I have bloggef previously about the curious habit for Lib Dems in that ward to resign, or not seek re-election. No Lib Dem candidate has contested two consecutive elections since 1999 (which is as far back as Canterbury's website records the results). Moreover, the Lib Dems have won every scheduled elections, and the Conservatives both previous by-elections. That didn't happen this time, which may be partly down to a change in candidate. Both previous victories saw Michael Northey as the victorious Conservative candidate, and he obtained more than 100 votes more than any other Conservative candidate in the 2007 locals.

Interestingly, the Barton Lib Dem vote increase of 9% precisely matches the 9% recorded by Labour last year, and this year they did not field a candidate. Meanwhile, the Conservative share of the vote also increased (by 4%), which came at the expense of the "others".

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