Is the party preparing for an “Old & Sad” by election?
Word reaches me from the Manchester Labour conference that the party is “furiously phone canvassing” electors in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency (Old & Sad) in case there might be an early by election.
This, apparently, is a precautionary measure following the week-long court hearing there in mid-September over aspects of the Labour general election campaign in May.
The Lib Dem candidate who lost by 103 votes claimed that the election outcome was swayed by Labour leaflets containing false claims. It is the first case of its kind in 99 years.
It was alleged that the Labour aim was to “get white folk angry” in an effort to impede Tory tactical voting for the Lib Dem.
It’s understood that the court’s verdict could be known in the next few weeks and it is possible that a by election, the first of this parliament, could follow.
At the general election the main party split was LAB 31.9%: LD 31.6%: CON 26.4% – so a three way marginal.