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My New Year wish: Some interesting by-elections in NON LAB seats

January 1st, 2014

A decade of by-electons on PB

In March PB will be celebrating its tenth anniversary and in looking back over the decade it’s worth reflecting how important Westminster by-elections have been to the site’s development and growth.

It first began to establish itself and get noticed in July 2004 with two fiercely fought contests in the LAB seats of Leicester South which went to the Lib Dems and Birmingham Hodge Hill which brought Labour’s Liam Byrne into the Commons.

Two months later there was one of the roughest campaigns of all in Hartlepool to find a replacement for Peter Mandelson on his appointment as EU Commissioner.

As support moved away from Labour in the 2005-2010 parliament we had high profile contests in Crewe & Nantwich where the Tories made their first by election gain in 33 years. The period also saw some fine Labour defences most notably in the constituency next to Gordon Brown’s, Glenrothes.

    What’s extraordinary, looking at the chart above, is just how many of the contests have been in LAB seats and how few have been in CON and LD ones.

At the moment a LAB defence, like in last May’s South Shields contest, is just boring. What we need are interesting finely balanced contests in non-LAB seats

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble