Remember what happened here in the run up to the 1979 election?
With suggestions going the rounds that that Geoff Hoon might replace Peter Mandelson as Britain’s EU commissioner in Brussels should we be preparing ourselves for a by election in his constituency at Ashfield in Nottinghamshire some time next year?
The 2005 result is reproduced above and certainly with current polling and by election performances the Tories would fancy their chances. In fact a failure to win here would not bode well for the general election.
There would also be a uncomfortable historical parallel for Labour. Back in 1977, just two years before Mrs Thatcher came to power in the 1979 general election, there was a by election in the seat that was caused by the sitting Labour MP being given a Brussels job. The Tories took it on a 20% swing.
This time Cameron’s party would require just a 12% swing to scoop up the seat which is well below the 17% that was achieved in Crewe & Nantwich three months ago. However you look at it the omens don’t look good for Labour.
Hoon – who went to the same Â£10,000 a year public school as Ed Balls – is no stranger to Brussels and was an MEP for ten years.
Maybe letting Peter Mandelson have another five years would be a better option but given what we know of Brown’s relationship with Mandy that probably won’t happen.