Farage’s favourite pollster, Survation, has already been active
At 5pm today the six recall petition centres across the B&R constituency will close their doors and late tomorrow morning the sitting CON MP will learn whether or not 10% of those on the electoral roll have signed the petition demanding his recall. If the total tops the required number then the Speaker will be informed formally and a vacancy will be declared.
The petition follows the conviction of the CON MP for expenses fraud – one of the three stated factors in the recall legislation that bring one into effect.
It is expected that the by-election will take place on July 25th or a week later on August 1st. The result of the Tory leadership election is due in the week of July 22nd so Johnson’s first by-election test be shortly afterwards.
We do know that Survation, which has carried out a lot of constituency polling in the past for Farage, has been running a survey in B&R no doubt to test the water. The seat was broadly in line with the overall UK result at the Referendum so not as clear cut a leave seat as Peterborough.
Given BXP’s strong Westminster polling position it clearly will want to contest the seat a move that could split the Tory vote and could make the task of LDs, who have been campaigning hard for weeks, a bit easier.
But will Farage want to do something that would undermine arch-Brexiteer Boris so early on in his new job? My guess is that he’s no alternative. BXP needs to fight battles like this and do well in order to keep the momentum going.
The result of the petition is expected tomorrow. The by-election campaigning will start immediately afterwards.