UK By-elections thread, 2021-
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c r a b c a k e
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« on: March 16, 2021, 09:21:22 AM »

Thought a new thread would be worth it, given the last by-election we had was in 2019 (Brecon and Radnorshire, how time flies). This time Mike Hill (Lab) has stepped down in Hartlepool for sexual harassment. Hartlepool is a big piece of the supposed Red Wall, that probably only didn't fall in 2019 due the fact the Brexit Party leader was standing, recieving 25% of the vote. Hartlepool in general has been given to electing novelty candidates: their first elected mayor was one of those guys who dressed like a gorilla or whatever and they apparently came to actually like longtime MP Peter Mandelson.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2021, 09:28:43 AM »

The main problem for Labour would be the reason for the vacancy: Hill has been accused of sexual harassment and faces an Employment Tribunal relating to the allegations later this year. Given that the accusations were known at the time of the last election he really should not have been allowed to stand again.

Anyway, this is a very odd town with very odd and not always entirely predictable politics. Labour have the biggest base and are the best organised party locally and will benefit from the fact that opposition voters are more likely to turn out in by-elections. Assumptions that you can just add up the Conservative and Brexit Party votes from the last GE and project onto a by-election are... silly... but I presume the Conservatives will make an effort (or at least run a noisy campaign to the effect) and hope that the oddities of the constituency break their way. Quite what to expect from the artists formerly known as UKIP/the Brexit Party I'm not entirely sure, but, again, presumably some effort just because of past performances and local government strength.* Which is the other issue: there might (although this isn't certain) be various independent runs from various egotistical local players that might be worth a few thousand votes, or not.

*What isn't good for them is that their issues are either dead (Brexit) or don't poll particularly well (lockdown scepticism), which doesn't seem like good news from a motivating-your-electorate perspective. But we shall see.
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Benjamin Frank
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 04:38:26 PM »

Thought a new thread would be worth it, given the last by-election we had was in 2019 (Brecon and Radnorshire, how time flies). This time Mike Hill (Lab) has stepped down in Hartlepool for sexual harassment. Hartlepool is a big piece of the supposed Red Wall, that probably only didn't fall in 2019 due the fact the Brexit Party leader was standing, recieving 25% of the vote. Hartlepool in general has been given to electing novelty candidates: their first elected mayor was one of those guys who dressed like a gorilla or whatever and they apparently came to actually like longtime MP Peter Mandelson.

Morrissey should run.
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Starmerite2024
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2021, 06:42:23 AM »

Hartlepool is an absolute tossup as to who will win
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rc18
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2021, 07:06:31 AM »
« Edited: March 17, 2021, 09:41:05 AM by rc18 »

Hartlepool is an absolute tossup as to who will win

Talk about expectations management.

This seat was easily won by Corbyn even in 2019, and when allegations against the Labour candidate were already known IIRC. BXP voters, who couldn't even bring themselves to vote Tory with that party running on a "Get Brexit Done" ticket, are very unlikely to vote Tory now; in this part of the world they are by and large ex-Labour. Add to that government by-election gains being rarer than hen's teeth.

This seat by all rights should be a Labour hold, even if they have troubles at local level. I doubt it would be fatal to Starmer's leadership, but failure to hold Hartlepool when a more toxic leader managed it would seriously undermine his position. You can imagine the crowing from the nuttiest parts of Labour.
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rc18
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2021, 12:04:02 PM »

Having said all that it appears the Labour Party is maneuvering its current Cleveland PCC candidate Paul Williams into position as their prospective parliamentary candidate. Being a rabid remainer in one of the most leave-voting constituencies in the country, perhaps Labour are being sporting and trying to make it a closer race than it should be.
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Starmerite2024
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2021, 04:53:01 PM »

Having said all that it appears the Labour Party is maneuvering its current Cleveland PCC candidate Paul Williams into position as their prospective parliamentary candidate. Being a rabid remainer in one of the most leave-voting constituencies in the country, perhaps Labour are being sporting and trying to make it a closer race than it should be.

If they run him and he's openly pro EU during the campaign then I would probably be inclined to change my prediction to tilt/lean Tory
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rc18
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2021, 04:57:51 PM »

Having said all that it appears the Labour Party is maneuvering its current Cleveland PCC candidate Paul Williams into position as their prospective parliamentary candidate. Being a rabid remainer in one of the most leave-voting constituencies in the country, perhaps Labour are being sporting and trying to make it a closer race than it should be.

If they run him and he's openly pro EU during the campaign then I would probably be inclined to change my prediction to tilt/lean Tory

Well he's been deleting all his second referendum-supporting tweets, so seems like he'll try and avoid the subject as much as possible.

It's possible it won't be as salient an issue now to be fair.
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Pericles
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2021, 01:10:44 AM »

My guess, and it really is a guess, is that Labour have better odds of winning Hartlepool than the Tories. Betting against a government gain in a by-election is usually pretty safe. Labour's 2019 win there wasn't that close, so the split of Brexit Party voters would have to go pretty strongly to the Tories. Even if we assume that Labour is down by as much nationally as they were in the 2019 election, they may still be in a better position in Hartlepool because the Brexit divide is fading, and the polling shows that the Remain/Leave divide in voting patterns has reduced slightly. Starmer is a less toxic leader than Corbyn though, even though it's unclear whether he has enough appeal to form a government.
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Conservatopia
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2021, 08:03:27 AM »

I think there is far more chance of a popular localist politician winning as an independent than either the Tories or Reform winning in Hartlepool.

That being said I think 2019 was a low water mark for Labour so they should fairly comfortably hold on.
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TheTide
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2021, 08:58:19 AM »

I know someone from Hartlepool who insists that there are no Tories in Hartlepool.
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Geoffrey Howe
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2021, 10:23:42 AM »

Hartlepool is an absolute tossup as to who will win

Talk about expectations management.

This seat was easily won by Corbyn even in 2019, and when allegations against the Labour candidate were already known IIRC. BXP voters, who couldn't even bring themselves to vote Tory with that party running on a "Get Brexit Done" ticket, are very unlikely to vote Tory now; in this part of the world they are by and large ex-Labour. Add to that government by-election gains being rarer than hen's teeth.

This seat by all rights should be a Labour hold, even if they have troubles at local level. I doubt it would be fatal to Starmer's leadership, but failure to hold Hartlepool when a more toxic leader managed it would seriously undermine his position. You can imagine the crowing from the nuttiest parts of Labour.

The vaccine rollout has helped the Tories in the polls, and assuming it continues smoothly, not a given since there seem to be impending problems with AstraZeneca, it may convince some people to give them a chance, or depress opposition turnout. I shouldn't be surprised if Mr Johnson opened up the country a few days before all the local elections.
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Blair
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2021, 12:28:56 PM »
« Edited: March 18, 2021, 02:26:55 PM by Blair »

Having said all that it appears the Labour Party is maneuvering its current Cleveland PCC candidate Paul Williams into position as their prospective parliamentary candidate. Being a rabid remainer in one of the most leave-voting constituencies in the country, perhaps Labour are being sporting and trying to make it a closer race than it should be.

He’s hardly a rabid remainer- he isn’t an Adonis type. His position was pretty much the same as the other pro peoples vote MPs in the NE & while a GE is different there wasn’t really a difference between how individual MPs did based on whether they were pro PV.

Brexit also doesn’t really antimate voters in the same way it did in 2019; see the rather muted response to Labour supporting the Brexit deal.

I feel Brexit will become the Tories ‘break glass in case of emergency’ tactic, in the same way Labour revert back to the NHS when they’re struggling... which itself ties into what the theme of this by-election will be for Labour!

However- I should add that if he existed without his voting record (and twitter handle- when will MPs learn?) he would be a much stronger candidate.

And to add the circumstances of his selection are likely to ruffle some feathers... which at best will just mean a few less hands to deliver leaflets, but at worse could theoretically lead to some pissed off members voting for a some quasi independent bid.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2021, 02:28:58 PM »

And to add the circumstances of his selection are likely to ruffle some feathers... which at best will just mean a few less hands to deliver leaflets, but at worse could theoretically lead to some pissed off members voting for a some quasi independent bid.

We shall see and all that, but as far as contentious selections go, this one doesn't seem to register that high on the scale - it tends to be impositions and exclusions that rankle, and here it looks as if Nick Brown and the CLP Exec came to an arrangement.
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The Thinking Man's Orangewoman
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2021, 02:32:11 PM »

Given Hartlepool's famously... odd local politics, one has to suspect the CLP executive getting someone in from the seat next door might actually help.
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YL
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2021, 04:52:06 PM »

Labour have indeed selected former Stockton South MP Paul Williams.
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2021, 05:23:56 PM »

It makes a lot of sense to be cautious but given that Labour is starting from a higher point and the fact that by-elections tend to favour opposition parties, I'd be surprised if Labour loses. Brexit Party voters will probably split both ways - or atleast I don't think they'll break overwhelmingly one way or another and change the balance.
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c r a b c a k e
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2021, 07:11:53 PM »



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The Thinking Man's Orangewoman
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2021, 07:13:44 PM »


Between this and the 'progressive Saudi Arabia blows my mind' tweet, he, er, certainly seems like a nice fellow.
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CumbrianLefty
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2021, 06:59:23 AM »

I feel Brexit will become the Tories ‘break glass in case of emergency’ tactic, in the same way Labour revert back to the NHS when they’re struggling... which itself ties into what the theme of this by-election will be for Labour!

Might also make it harder for the Tories to make vaccines a major part of their campaign.
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Crane
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2021, 02:20:41 PM »

Williams is not an inspiring choice. Very potent possibility for a Tory pickup.
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Estrella
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2021, 04:20:26 PM »

I want to have some of what Ladbrokes punters are smoking.

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Crane
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2021, 05:08:27 PM »

I want to have some of what Ladbrokes punters are smoking.



It would be awesome if they gained traction in this race, but I don't see them getting much of anything.
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vileplume
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2021, 06:19:25 PM »

Hartlepool is an absolute tossup as to who will win

Talk about expectations management.

This seat was easily won by Corbyn even in 2019, and when allegations against the Labour candidate were already known IIRC. BXP voters, who couldn't even bring themselves to vote Tory with that party running on a "Get Brexit Done" ticket, are very unlikely to vote Tory now; in this part of the world they are by and large ex-Labour. Add to that government by-election gains being rarer than hen's teeth.

This seat by all rights should be a Labour hold, even if they have troubles at local level. I doubt it would be fatal to Starmer's leadership, but failure to hold Hartlepool when a more toxic leader managed it would seriously undermine his position. You can imagine the crowing from the nuttiest parts of Labour.

One potential huge issue for Labour is that the by-election is likely to be held on local election day (6th May) where the extremely popular Tory mayor of the Tees Valley (which includes Hartlepool), Ben Houchen, is expected to cruise to a landslide re-election. It's likely that he will have at least some coat tails which will significantly boost the Tory candidate's chances of gaining the seat.

Whilst it is true that Corbyn's Labour held the seat in 2019, that was only really because of a split in the right/leave vote. Had the Brexit Party instead stood down, or not made an effort, Hartlepool would've fallen to the Tories like much of the rest of the fabled 'Red Wall'. Labour's choice of candidate is not great either and he gives the Tories plenty of ammunition, particularly due to his stance on Brexit (he's been frantically deleting Tweets, which is never a good look) but also on supposed sexism (Shami Chakrabarti has already said he should be replaced).

Personally I would put my money on a Tory gain, Labour isn't out of it, but this has Copeland redux written all over it.
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StateBoiler
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2021, 08:45:20 PM »





Written 10 years ago.
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