Analysis of 11 comparable contests over August suggests a projected nationwide Tory lead over Labour of 12.5%, a bleak message for the Prime Minister as he ponders whether to face the voters in the autumn. This week's by-elections saw Tories defend two marginals - against Labour in Newport North, Isle of Wight, and the Green Party at Nailsworth, Stroud District, Gloucestershire. In a third contest at Epping Forest District, Essex, the BNP narrowly defended a seat at Loughton Alderton against a challenge from a residents' candidate. Out of the 11 comparable by-elections this month, only one produced a Labour performance sufficient at a General Election to see it narrowly retain power.
So that's three - two Tories and a BNP. Results via John Hemming.
Epping Forest DC, Loughton Alderton
BNP 393 (32.2; -5.4), Residents 367 (30.1; +1.0), Con 163 (13.3; -3.1), LD
Neil Woollcott 172 (14.1; +10.5), Lab 98 (8.0; -5.2), UKIP 28 (2.3; +2.3).
Majority 26. Turnout 36.7%. BNP hold. Last fought 2006.
Isle of Wight UA, Newport North
Con 207 (35.5; -3.0), LD Liam Verstraeten 189 (32.4; +3.9), Lab 137
(23.5; -9.5), UKIP 25 (4.3; +4.3), Ind 23 (3.9; +3.9), Ind 2 (0.3; +0.3).
Majority 18. Turnout 30.0%. Con hold. Last fought 2005.
Stroud DC, Nailsworth
Con 857 (44.5; +6.1), Green 810 (42.0; +4.1), Lab 261 (13.5; +0.2), [LD
(0.0; -5.1)], [UKIP (0.0; -5.3)].
Majority 47. Turnout 38.0%. Con hold. Last fought 2007
UKIP's absence saved the Tories in Stroud, their presence nearly did for the BNP in Essex. Cliff-hanger in Newport. Two more from John Hemming again :
Suffolk CC, Thedwastre South
LD Penny Otton 927 (41.8; +7.5), Con 833 (37.5; -9.4), Green 287 (12.9;
+12.9), Lab 88 (4.0; -14.8), UKIP 85 (3.8; +3.8).
Majority 94. Turnout 32.4%. LD gain from Con. Last fought 2005
Havering, Squirrels Heath:
Havering Residents Association 310
National Liberal Party, the Third Way 170
No surprise in Havering, but UKIP and Greens take Tory votes, and tactical Labour defections give an LD gain in Suffolk. Four more :
Blaenau Gwent County Borough - Blaina: Ind 381, Lab 315, Ind 310, No description 49. (June 2004 - Three seats Lab 860, Ind 777, Ind 661, Lab 595, Lab 404, Ind 342). Ind hold.
Gloucestershire County - Lansdown, Park and Warden Hill: C 2208, Lib Dem 1605, Lab 226, Green 184. (May 2005 - Two seats C 3812, 2962, Lib Dem 2561, 2343, Lab 998, Green 968, Lab 832). C hold. Swing 1.1% Lib Dem to C.
Portsmouth City - Fratton: Lib Dem 1196, C 496, Lab 144, English Democrats 131, Green 56, Ind 17. (May 2007 - Lib Dem 1391, C 571, Lab 310, English Democrats 212). Lib Dem hold. Swing 0.6% C to Lib Dem.
Ryedale District - Sheriff Hutton: C 348, Ind 299. (May 2007 - C 386, Ind 367). C hold.
Blimey - those old tribal loyalties are sure breaking down. The Blaina and Fratton votes would have Ernie Bevin or Nye Bevan rotating in their graves if they were alive today. Last but by no means least - Shadwell and Elmbridge :
Elmbridge Borough - Walton Ambleside: Con 310, Walton Society 252, Lab 60, Ukip 33, Lib Dem 26. (May 2007 - Con 431, Walton Society 281, Lib Dem 94, Lab 90). Con hold. Swing 0.7% Con to Lab.
Tower Hamlets Borough - Shadwell: Respect 1512, Lab 1415, Con 476, Lib Dem 98. (May 2006 - Three seats Respect 1851, 1789, 1707, Lab 1287, 1141, 1054, C 723, 670, 605, Lib Dem 226). Respect hold. Swing 6.7% Respect to Lab.
Apparently "Delirious party members and supporters then marched down Brick Lane, the heartland of Respect's East End power base, cheering their way to a celebration meal well into the night.
(Nulab candidate) Keith may have been badly damaged by his gaffe earlier this week when he falsely accused the Tories of wanting to 'burn down' Shadwell's Sonali Gardens Asian elders day centre.
For Respect, their victory was crucial. Defeat could have meant disaster, an end to their East End power base.
But having beaten a massive Labour campaigning operation with sheer legwork, the boost to its morale is now huge.
The turnout at Shadwell was almost 40 per cent, well down from 46.2 per cent at last year's local elections, and included 504 postal votes, mostly for Labour."
There was some fuss about an alleged assault on Respect activist Carol Swords. From the bruising in the picture someone has grabbed her by the arms very firmly, as it appears you'd need to if you wanted either to stop her or move her. Lenin's comments say her fingers were broken. Tsk tsk.
As I wrote two years back :
Traditionally Labour has been the party of immigrants, but a point will be reached at which they (Labour) are not needed any more and with a cry of 'so long and thanks for all the outreach workers' the Muslim vote will depart. The divorce will be messy.