10 October 2014

Clacton and Heywood

UKIP has gained its first elected MP; the party switcher Douglas Carswell getting elected by a five-figure majority for the Eurosceptic party.

In addition, Labour got its majority in Heywood and Middleton slashed to 617, but did manage to retain the seat.

One is always in danger of drawing too much from a by-election, especially in a place like Clacton; very white, in coastal Essex; a high-profile by-election of an ex-Tory defector. A big blow to the Conservatives sure, but how big was Carswell's personal vote?

Heywood is of a bit more concern to Labour... but the close result's impact is diminished by the fact that only 36% of the electorate turned out - it was 57% at the 2010 general election. The casual Labour supporters assumed it was safe and didn't turn up.

Not a reason to panic, but we do need to focus on GOTV efforts next year; UKIP are the beneficiaries of apathy.

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