Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first time I have watched an election count live, albeit on BBC iPlayer. It took until 3.45 am to declare the result, as the returning officer kept needing to talk to the 11 candidates taking part for one reason or another.
Anyway, the votes cast in the Newark by-election of 2014 were as follows:
Paul Baggaley, Independent, 1,891 (4.8%)
David Bishop, Buss-Pass Elvis Party, 87 (0.2%)
Nick The Flying Brick, Official Monster Raving Loony Party, 168 (0.4%)
Andrew Hayes, Independent, 117 (0.3%)
Roger Helmer, UKIP, 10,028 (25.9%, +22.1%)
Robert Jenrick, Conservative, 17,431 (45.0%, -8.9%)
David Kirwan, Green Party, 1,057 (2.7%)
Michael Payne, Labour, 6,842 (17.7%, -4.7%)
Dick Rodgers, Stop Banks Owning Britain's Money, 64 (0.2%)
David Watts, Liberal Democrats, 1,004 (2.6%, -17.4%)
Lee Woods, Patriotic Socialist Party, 18 (0.05%)
I was worried for some time that recently re-elected UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, notorious for his anti-LGBT comments before and during the campaign, would score a surprise victory given the circumstances surrounding the Newark by-election and Labour's decision not to try to win Newark. However, in the end, it was Robert Jenrick who was celebrating, because the last time the Conservatives won a by-election whilst in government was back in 1989-and in an even safer seat, Richmond (the one in Yorkshire). Roger meanwhile did not even have the dignity of achieving the highest increase in vote share or highest vote share for UKIP; Diane James MEP (who was interviewed in the final hours leading to the official result) still holds both records which she set at Eastleigh. Nonetheless, Robert still saw the Conservative vote share drop from 54% to 45%. Michael Payne for Labour was pushed into third place with only 17.7%, showing that Labour's decision to not hot-pedal Newark was not a very good decision in the end.
It was the Liberal Democrats who took the real beating in this by-election, though. They lost their deposit for the third by-election in a row, and their vote share loss of 17.4% was as bad as that in Wythenshawe and Sale East. More importantly, we, the Green Party, have come ahead of them-the first time we have beaten the Liberal Democrats in a by-election since 1989, and the first time in six years we have beaten one of the three establishment parties in a by-election. Given the lack of a Green base in Newark, and the lack of good media coverage, our 2.7% can be considered an acceptable by-election result.
One disappointment in this by-election is independent hospital campaigner Paul Baggaley, who with 1,891 votes did not quite manage to save his deposit, despite coming a good fourth out of the eleven candidates who took part.
In the coverage of the by-election result, right-wing pro-establishment BBC bias showed its ugly face again-even though it had accepted that the Liberal Democrats had finished sixth, it showed their result separately (and also showed the Labour, Conservative, and UKIP results separately), whilst the Greens' result and Paul's result were lumped in with 'others'. Also, BBC This Week did not interview our candidate, David Kirwan, once, whilst it gave a large amount of interviewing time to Diane James, and even to the unfortunate Liberal Democrat candidate, David Watts.
As for the other five candidates who took part, Nick 'The Flying Brick' did surprisingly well for a joke candidate, even though he is from Derbyshire and not Nottinghamshire. Lack of media coverage was to blame for the poor result of disability rights campaigner Andy Hayes, who did actually try his best. David Bishop was quite far behind the Lib Dems despite bets being taken on him to beat them in the last days of the campaign, on the grounds he beat them in a local by-election in Nottingham earlier this year. One-man band Dick Rodgers' return to by-election campaigns has not gone well at all-he achieved his worst ever election result. It was the Patriotic Socialist Party, a renamed United People's Party, that got the by-election wooden spoon-in fact their candidate, Lee Woods, did so badly that the 18 votes he polled is the lowest of any candidate in any of the parliamentary by-elections that have taken place since the Con-Dems took office in 2010.
I hope you find this to be a good by-election analysis.