Does this sad news make an early election more likely?

Does this sad news make an early election more likely?

Leicester Mercury

Will Labour want to avoid the by election?

My apologies for immediately thinking of the political implications of the death yesterday of Leicester NW, MP, David Taylor, but that is the way politics is especially during a febrile period like that we are going through at the moment.

Fo the last thing that Labour needs just now is a by election in a marginal where the Tories are the main challengers – and this could become a consideration over the timing of the general election.

Apart from the cost (the expenses limit is £100,000) a Tory victory would add to the pre-general election momentum.

The seat was unaffected by boundary changes and in May 2005 the result was LAB: 21449 (45.5%): CON : 16972 (36%): LD:5682 (12.1%): OTH 3037 (6.4%) – a majority of just 9.5% which would go with a swing of 4.75.

This is one of the leading Tory targets for the general election which they absolutely have to win if they are to stand any chance of securing a majority. If there is a by election it’s hard to see this as anything other than an easy Tory gain.

The question is whether Labour would prefer a contest to take place, presumably in February/March and stick with the suggested May 6th election date or whether this makes the possibility of March 25th or April 8th that more likely?

My guess is the latter though they could try to leave the vacancy open.

Mike Smithson

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