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Suddenly a by-election possibility in CON-held Newark comes into the frame. A chance for UKIP or LAB gain?

April 27th, 2014

After a spate of boring LAB heartland contests this could be mega

The Sunday Times is reporting this morning that the CON MP for Newark, Patrick Mercer could be on the point of quitting which would force a by-election over a cash for questions scandal.

    The story states that “the Commons standards committee will meet on Tuesday to ban him from parliament for six months. The MP for Newark, a winnable seat for UKIP, has told friends that if he is suspended for more than a month he will have to stand down.”

One thing we’ve commented on many times is the rarity of by-elections in CON held seats. There’s only been one in this parliament – Corby in 2012 caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch, a seat that was lost to LAB.

Now, with UKIP surging and threatening a breakthrough on May 22nd the East Midlands town could be the ideal platform for the purples to get the prize that has so far eluded them – a Westminster seat.

The chart above has the core data about the seat which on the face of it looks pretty safe. But back in Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide it was taken by LAB on slightly different boundaries. There are a lot of 2010 LD voters to squeeze and Labour would compete hard in what would be a fierce three party battle.

A big question could be timing. The last thing the Tories would want is to have to defend the seat in the aftermath of the May 22nd elections.

Remember the CON record of defending by-elections while in office is pretty appalling.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble