Could “Old & Sad” be the parliament’s first by-election?
Tomorrow, unless there’s some last minute change, the judges in the Oldham East & Saddleworth case will give their verdict on Labour’s campaign and whether what was alleged to have been done is sufficient for Labour MP and shadow home office minister, Phil Woolas, to lose his job.
This follows a week long hearing in September when the Lib Dem candidate who lost in the general election by 103 votes, Elwyn Watkins, argued that the vote was swayed by false claims in Labour leaflets.
As I reported a week or so ago I was questioned about one of the pictures which was used by Woolas which had appeared on PB. The claim was that it had been “doctored” to show Watkins in the company of armed police to support a story alleging that the Lib Dem was breaking the law.
Which way is the case going to go? I’ve no idea but I just wonder whether the judges will shy away from getting so involved in politics as to do something that would trigger a by-election.
If action is taken against Woolas and/or his actions are strongly attacked then it could be embarrassing for Ed Miliband who five weeks ago made the MP a shadow minister.
From a political betting perspective I would absolutely love a by election. This a three way marginal and it could go blue, red or yellow.