Icknield (Luton) result:
LAB: 36.7% (-5.6)
CON: 35.4% (-8.8)
LDEM: 25.6% (+12.1)
GRN: 2.3% (+2.3)
Labour GAIN from Conservative.
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) September 26, 2019
We’ve seen big movements in the polls in recent months with Farage’s and the LDs move forward very strongly the latter often near tripling their GE2017 GB vote share of 7.6%. The local by-election above shows how the LD resurgence is going to make general election predictions that much harder.
Swinson’s party will go into the election with the simplest of all positions on the big issue of the day and in seat after seat could take huge swathes of LAB and more particularly CON votes. The question that is hard to answer under FPTP is how this will impact on seats.
We often forget that between a fifth and a quarter of Tory votes were remainers while two thirds of LAB ones were. A Brexit-dominated general election is surely going to see the unambiguous pro-Remain party attract some of their votes.
The same goes on the other side with Farage’s party and the Leave vote. The latter’s challenge, however, is competing against the Tories given Johnson’s Brexit approach.
A BXP-CON deal is hampered by one very big factor – Dominic Cummings who, it will be recalled, is totally hostile to Farage. While he’s still working for the PM it is hard to see a CON-BXP deal being reached.
Another enormously complicating factor is what happens in the seats of the 21 CON MPs who were booted out of the party earlier in the month for not following the Johnson line on a crucial Commons vote. Some surely will stand again as independents and maybe in their seats the LDs, LAB and the Greens might either stand aside or not campaign hard giving them a clearer run. This has the potential to eat into CON seat totals.
Finally there are the Tory MPs in seats that were strongly for Remain. I plan to look at them in detail in a later post.