Friday, 3 February 2017

My by-election analysis of 2/2/17 and MPs for 'Remain' constituencies who nevertheless voted for the Article 50 Bill

Readers, the results from the two local Rotherham by-elections that featured Green candidates were as follows:

Rotherham MBC, Brinsworth & Catcliffe: Liberal Democrats 2000 (66.0%, +48.7%), Labour 519 (17.1%, -20.2%), UKIP 389 (12.8%, -19.5%), Conservative 91 (3.0%, -10.0%), Green 30 (1.0%)

Rotherham MBC, Dinnington: Labour 670 (36.1%, +9.0%), UKIP 303 (16.3%, -10.6%), Conservative 238 (12.8%, -1.7%), Independent (Smith) 232 (12.5%, -7.9%), Independent (Hart) 180 (9.7%), Independent (Scott) 81 (4.4%), Green 78 (4.2%, -7.0%), Liberal Democrats 75 (4.0%).

With UKIP continuing to fall, the Liberal Democrats are once again acting as a protest vote in working-class areas, despite bad memories of the Con-Dem coalition. The Brexit issue, which opinion polls are currently claiming is the #1 issue in British politics today, was also a factor in the Brinsworth & Catcliffe by-election in particular and accounts for the enormous surge in the Liberal Democrats' vote, and in Rotherham, where they had not won any council seats for more than a decade. Meanwhile, a backlash against Brexit is taking place and UKIP continued their poor run in local by-elections in Dinnington with a decisive loss to Labour. We were hit badly in both by-elections as a direct result of such squeezes.

On Brexit itself, the 'Article 50 Bill' which will start the formal process for Britain to leave the EU when it achieves Royal Assent (it is practically certain to do so at present), was yesterday approved by an enormous margin of 498 votes to 114. This represents a margin of more than 4-1 and is far greater in percentage terms than the actual referendum result (51.9% to 48.1%; this vote gives percentage margins of 82% to 18% in Aye-No terms). Surprisingly, only one Conservative MP (which unsurprisingly was Kenneth Clarke) voted against the bill, along with just 47 Labour MPs out of 232 (160 voted for).

It must be noted that overall, a majority of UK constituencies voted Leave overall, but many, particularly metropolitan and affluent constituencies within England (not to mention Scotland as a whole, Welsh-speaking areas in Wales and Catholic-dominated areas of Northern Ireland), voted Remain, even if by small margins. (The constituency I live in, Hertford & Stortford, was split 50-50 on the referendum vote)

Here are a list of MPs who voted Aye to the Article 50 Bill despite representing constituencies with Remain margins of 10% or more:

Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire)
Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley)
James Berry (Kingston & Surbiton)
Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West & Abingdon)
Victoria Borwick (Kensington)

Graham Brady (Altrincham & Sale West)
Steve Brine (Winchester)
David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate)
Maria Caulfield (Lewes)
Alex Chalk (Cheltenham)

Jane Ellison (Battersea)
Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster)

Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire)
Mike Freer (Finchley & Golders Green)
Cheryl Gillian (Chesham & Amersham)
Justine Greening (Putney)
Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon)
Greg Hands (Chelsea & Fulham)
John Howell (Henley)

Ben Howlett (Bath)
Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey)
Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West)
Peter Lilley (Hitchin & Harpenden)

Anne Main (St Albans)
Tania Mathias (Twickenham)
Theresa May (Maidenhead)
Anne Milton (Guildford)
Matthew Offord (Hendon)
Dominic Raab (Esher & Walton)
Julian Sturdy (York Outer)
Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)
Chris White (Warwick & Leamington)
Rob Wilson (Reading East)
Craig Williams (Cardiff North)

Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South)
Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central)
Nick Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne East)
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)

Barry Gardner (Brent North)
Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)

Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham)
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
Clive Lewis (Norwich South)
Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham Ladywood)
Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)
Steve Reed (Croydon North)

Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
Keir Starmer (Holborn & St Pancras)
Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)
Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury)
Chuka Umunna (Streatham)

Meanwhile, two of the 47 Labour rebels, Graham Allen, and Paul Farrelly, represent constituencies that decisively voted Leave by large margins (65-35 and 64-36 i.e. Nottingham North and Newcastle-under-Lyme)

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