UK By-elections thread, 2021-
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Estrella
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« Reply #1550 on: August 05, 2022, 07:46:25 PM »

Two most recent by-elections caused by an MP being kicked upstairs to the Lords were Ribble Valley in 1991 and before that Penrith and the Border in 1983. The former took place in the middle of the poll tax battle and Tories obviously lost. The latter happened just weeks after the 1983 landslide and Tories still nearly managed to lose it, only holding on by 600 votes. Apparently it made Thatcher swear to never elevate another MP again.

All of this doesn't necessarily mean anything, of course, but there's a good reason why we haven't seen this type of by-election for a long time. Boris knows the history of his party well; he knows what he's doing.
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YL
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« Reply #1551 on: August 06, 2022, 01:55:50 AM »

Mid Bedfordshire had a similar result last time to North Shropshire and Tiverton & Honiton, but I think it's a rather different sort of constituency, with more outer commuter belt characteristics, though there are obviously non-commuter aspects too.  The last two intermediate stations, Harlington and Flitwick, on the Thameslink rail service to Bedford are both in the constituency.

Its 2011 census profile reflects that: it's 49th out of 650 on "Managers, directors and senior officials", for example, and generally looks more middle class and educated than N Shrops or T & H.  However, and at the risk of mentioning coloured walls, it's not really like Chesham & Amersham either, and it's estimated as having voted narrowly Leave.  And nearly 60% of its voters at the last election voted Tory in spite of the name next to that box being "Nadine Dorries".
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CumbrianLefty
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« Reply #1552 on: August 06, 2022, 04:41:13 AM »
« Edited: August 06, 2022, 11:20:27 AM by CumbrianLefty »

Its a much more intrinsically holdable seat for the Tories in a byelection than either NS or T&H, even before any boost for a new Tory leader is taken into account* - more Old Bexley/Sidcup vibes really.

(*though let's not forget Johnson lost Brecon/Radnor just weeks into his tenure as PM)
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Cassius
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« Reply #1553 on: August 06, 2022, 06:20:08 AM »

Its a much more intrinsically holdable seat for the Tories in a byelection than either NS or T&H - even before any boost for a new Tory leader is taken into account* - more Old Bexley/Sidcup vibes really.

(*though let's not forget Johnson lost Brecon/Radnor just weeks into his tenure as PM)

That was in a seat with a historically very strong Liberal (not Democrat) presence though - the kind of seat where the Liberal Democrats’ mendacious bar charts could actually be reasonably placed in their election literature.
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Pericles
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« Reply #1554 on: August 06, 2022, 06:27:45 AM »

Does the speculation that Boris is using this by-election to move seats have any merit? It would be hard for the party to let him do that and then for him to win a by-election. Problem is if he wants to come back as PM he needs to have a safer seat than Uxbridge, coming back in this term would be too big of an ask. He always would have been a better Leader of the Opposition than Prime Minister anyway. In any case, the easier and more comfortable career path for him is to be another media commentator sniping on the sidelines.
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Torrain
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« Reply #1555 on: August 06, 2022, 07:49:39 AM »

Does the speculation that Boris is using this by-election to move seats have any merit? It would be hard for the party to let him do that and then for him to win a by-election. Problem is if he wants to come back as PM he needs to have a safer seat than Uxbridge, coming back in this term would be too big of an ask. He always would have been a better Leader of the Opposition than Prime Minister anyway. In any case, the easier and more comfortable career path for him is to be another media commentator sniping on the sidelines.

If Johnson really is planning a comeback, I'd imagine it would look more like the career strategy he took when becoming London Mayor. Vacate the Commons for a job elsewhere, (although probably on the international stage, rather than in the capital this time), build some good publicity, and come racing back to the Commons, when a safe seat opens up.

In the early Blair years, the Kensington and Chelsea constituency was basically used as a rental for Conservative grandees who lost their seats in 1997. Michael Portillo and Malcolm Rifkind both used it for a few terms while they sought to revive their careers. I guess something similar could happen in a seat like Dorries' but it could be more controversial with Johnson. If he does come back - it definitely won't be to Kensington, which is now one of the most marginal seats in the country...
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MaxQue
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« Reply #1556 on: August 06, 2022, 08:10:25 AM »

Does the speculation that Boris is using this by-election to move seats have any merit? It would be hard for the party to let him do that and then for him to win a by-election. Problem is if he wants to come back as PM he needs to have a safer seat than Uxbridge, coming back in this term would be too big of an ask. He always would have been a better Leader of the Opposition than Prime Minister anyway. In any case, the easier and more comfortable career path for him is to be another media commentator sniping on the sidelines.

If Johnson really is planning a comeback, I'd imagine it would look more like the career strategy he took when becoming London Mayor. Vacate the Commons for a job elsewhere, (although probably on the international stage, rather than in the capital this time), build some good publicity, and come racing back to the Commons, when a safe seat opens up.

In the early Blair years, the Kensington and Chelsea constituency was basically used as a rental for Conservative grandees who lost their seats in 1997. Michael Portillo and Malcolm Rifkind both used it for a few terms while they sought to revive their careers. I guess something similar could happen in a seat like Dorries' but it could be more controversial with Johnson. If he does come back - it definitely won't be to Kensington, which is now one of the most marginal seats in the country...

And Chelsea is safe enough, but Greg Hands doesn't look like he wants to retire yet.
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YL
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« Reply #1557 on: August 06, 2022, 09:40:20 AM »

Does the speculation that Boris is using this by-election to move seats have any merit? It would be hard for the party to let him do that and then for him to win a by-election. Problem is if he wants to come back as PM he needs to have a safer seat than Uxbridge, coming back in this term would be too big of an ask. He always would have been a better Leader of the Opposition than Prime Minister anyway. In any case, the easier and more comfortable career path for him is to be another media commentator sniping on the sidelines.

It's a crazy idea.  If he wants to move seat to somewhere safer then he can surely find somewhere at the General Election, whereas if he does it this way he creates another difficult by-election in his current seat and, safe as Mid Beds may be in normal circumstances, I don't think it's that safe in an unnecessary by-election; Johnson standing down from Uxbridge and losing a Mid Beds by-election to the Lib Dems while Labour take his old seat would be hilarious.

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« Reply #1558 on: August 06, 2022, 09:57:47 AM »

Boris standing for a new seat would probably make it a much easier flip.
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Blair
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« Reply #1559 on: August 06, 2022, 11:08:23 AM »

I know the Mid Bedfordshire seat vaguely in a non-political sense as a family friend nearby.

I don't even know where you would base a campaign HQ as it's a very large seat which seemed based around a series of villages- the larger villages/towns I know are actually in the Milton Keynes constituency.

It should be a safe hold with a new Prime Minister however... the current MP wasn't exactly loved or know as a devout constituency MP. If the party are sensible they will find someone local and run the usual low key campaign.
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YL
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« Reply #1560 on: August 07, 2022, 04:08:08 AM »
« Edited: August 07, 2022, 04:24:35 AM by YL »

There's also talk that Nigel Adams, MP for Selby & Ainsty, will get a peerage, causing another by-election.

Selby & Ainsty is the successor to the Selby constituency which was a Labour gain in 1997, held in 2001 and narrowly in 2005.  There's some mining history around Selby, in the late developed (1970s or so) Selby Coalfield.  That might suggest a Labour target, but the Selby constituency which Labour won was based on Selby district as it existed before the expansion of the City of York in the 1990s, so it included a considerable area of York suburbs and fringe, including the York University campus at Heslington.

In the most recently implemented review the expanded York got a second constituency, the "doughnut" York Outer, and that took on that territory from Selby.  Selby had to take on other areas to replace it, and given the awkward shape of the North Yorkshire council area the only real option was to take on areas in the south-east of Harrogate district including the Civil War battlefield of Marston Moor, creating a constituency whose shape recalls some strange bird.  "Ainsty" was added to the name, referring to a historic territory associated with the city of York and containing some of the extension to the constituency (but also some areas already in it, and also quite a chunk of York Outer).  This area has usually been very Tory, and so the new constituency was already notionally Tory in 2005, and it must be doubtful whether Labour would ever have won it on the current boundaries.

As a result of those changes the seat now looks essentially out of reach for Labour in a General Election context, and the swing needed in a by-election would be bigger than the one they achieved in Wakefield.  I think the Labour history would make it hard for the Lib Dems to establish themselves as challengers.  So I think the Tories must be favourites unless they're in complete meltdown when the by-election happens, but Labour should be at least able to give them a challenge.

Results of the North Yorkshire 2022 election in the Selby area plus the two wards from Harrogate which best approximate the extension to the constituency:

Con 11021 (42%) 7 seats
Lab 8415 (32%) 5 seats
Green 3391 (13%) 1 seat
Yorkshire Party 158 (1%)
various Independents 3371 (13%) 3 seats

(There were no Lib Dem candidates at all.  There were also no Labour candidates in the Harrogate wards, one of which was actually won by the Greens.)
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CumbrianLefty
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« Reply #1561 on: August 07, 2022, 05:56:28 AM »

So you can knock the Labour score in a Westminster context up by a point or two, to take account of the absence in the Harrogate wards. That makes it a bit more interesting still, though I agree Tories are still favourites barring things getting really bad really quickly for the new PM.

(and yes, that could actually happen)
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Oryxslayer
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« Reply #1562 on: August 07, 2022, 07:26:09 AM »
« Edited: August 07, 2022, 08:33:03 AM by Oryxslayer »

So you can knock the Labour score in a Westminster context up by a point or two, to take account of the absence in the Harrogate wards. That makes it a bit more interesting still, though I agree Tories are still favourites barring things getting really bad really quickly for the new PM.

(and yes, that could actually happen)

Something else to note about this seat, which might lead to Labour interest, is that the currently proposed lines from that boundary commission pretty radically change this seat. So getting an incumbent in there won't be the worst thing. The northern 'arm' towards Harrogate is lost and instead it reaches into West Yorkshire. This change in territory swapped the name back to Selby - since the new seat kinda lacks a secondary identity - and notionally moves about 4.5-5% of the vote from the Tories to Labour. When looking at the 2022 locals the seat might be in contention, but Labour did have a environment in North Yorkshire that was even better than the national one.
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