â€” Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) April 2, 2013
A key factor, which can be decisive, in by-elections is the party’s choice of candidates.
Looking back to Easleigh only a few weeks ago there can be little doubt that Diane James played a huge part in Ukip’s second place. She was plausible, authentic and engaging – qualities which made it easier for supporters of other parties to make the switch.
It said a lot about where Ukip is now electorally that it chose someone so proficient for that key battle.
The question for South Shields watchers is whether the purples can do it again.
A good candidate able to appeal across the spectrum, particularly to those LAB voters tired of being taken for granted, could make all the difference.
We saw in Bradford West just over a year ago how an apparent rock-solid Labour bastion could fall when the opposition was right.
Unlike Eastleigh Ukip start with an advantage. The party has a councillor on the South Tyneside authority.
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