— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) May 9, 2018
It is not often that opportunities come up between general elections to be selected as candidate for a party that won the seat with a 21k majority.
Lewisham East is a plum target and no doubt there are dozens of aspiring LAB hopefuls who fancy their chances. Unless there is a massive upheaval then the winner of the by-election will surely be the person chosen by the party to succeed Heidi Alexander who has resigned.
The betting on which party will win hasn’t moved since yesterday afternoon. LAB 1/25, LD 12/1, CON 33/1. I don’t have any insight into the candidate betting.
The LDs point out that at GE2010 the party was in second place there 14.9% behind LAB. Maybe. But there’s a lot of water that’s gone under the bridge since then. Their main hope is that the referendum saw Remain with 64.5% of the votes in the seat and just possibly there’s the potential to make this about Brexit and particularly Corbyn’s apparent equivocation.
I’m expecting the LDs to suggest that this is the opportunity for Lewisham voters to send a message to the Labour leadership that they need to listen more to party voters and be more forthright in their opposition to Brexit.
Whether that would be potent I don’t know but by-elections can become about single issues.