Friday, 10 June 2016

My analysis of by-elections from 9 June and why I will be voting to remain after all

The results of yesterday's local by-elections were as follows:

Essex CC, Basildon Laindon Park & Fryerns: UKIP 2034 (42.6%, +8.3%), Labour 1600 (33.5%, -4.4%), Conservative 878 (18.4%, +2.9%), Green 264 (5.5%, +3.3%).

Lambeth LBC, Gipsy Hill: Lab 1220 (43.4%, -24.7%), Green 1184 (+32.4%), Con 210 (7.5%, -5.8%), Liberal Democrats 84 (3.0%, -1.7%), UKIP 73 (2.6%, -1.8%), Independent (Robin Lambert) 24 (0.9%), TUSC 19 (0.7%).

North East Lincolnshire UA, South: Lab 758 (47.4%, +4.9%), UKIP 462 (28.9%, -3.4%), Con 312 (19.5%, +0.8%), Green 40 (2.5%), TUSC 26 (1.6%, -0.5%). All changes are since 2015.

Southwark LBC, Surrey Docks: Lib Dem 1523 (51.7%, +22.8%), Labour 629 (21.1%, -0.9%), Con 380 (12.9%, -6.3%), Green 218 (7.4%, -6.4%), UKIP 187 (6.3%, -9.5%), Independent (John Hellings) 10 (0.3%).

We almost secured a surprise win this week as we actually did last week, but despite achieving a swing of 28.5% against Labour we could not quite win the ward of Gipsy Hill, even with our support of local libraries which Labour-controlled Lambeth council is planning to close. But we are nevertheless continuing to show that our green vision can and will work anywhere in England and Wales.

Labour overall, in the run up to next week's Tooting by-election, the penultimate important poll of 2016 (right before the EU referendum vote), have had a very poor week in by-election terms. This may be due to divisions occurring in Labour over the EU referendum debate, as UKIP's by-election gain in Basildon proved; Basildon is one of the few areas where UKIP have reliable organisation and UKIP have generally done poorly in local by-elections in the last year, especially county council by-elections. And far from making headway in marginal Surrey Docks, the Liberal Democrats held on with a substantially increased margin, almost certainly due to tactical anti-Labour voting. This will be of little comfort to them in the long-term, since the constituency in which Surrey Docks lies, Bermondsey & Old Southwark, will almost certainly not survive the next round of boundary changes and in the absence of Simon Hughes, they will likely fall further behind.

With less than two weeks to go before the EU referendum vote, I will be voting for Britain to remain in the EU after all, having weighed up the facts and potential consequences of both 'Bremain' and 'Brexit'. However, I nevertheless leave it to you to decide whether to vote for Britain to stay in or leave the European Union, and in the run-up to 23rd June I ask you to fact-check all information you receive from both sides before making your decision.

Alan.

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