Mid Bedfordshire by-election win hailed by Labour’s Strathern
The Conservatives’s general election campaign has been thrown into disarray by yet another night of by-election defeats, this time of historic proportions.
Labour clinched Nadine Dorries’ former seat of Mid Bedfordshire for the first time in 92 years, overturning the largest numerical majority in a UK election since 1945 in the process. The Opposition achieved a similarly stellar swing just moments earlier in Tamworth.
Veteran pollster Sir John Curtice deemed the results “extremely bad news” for the ruling party.
They won a landslide 365 seats in the 2019 general election, but much has happened in the four years since, and the Tories’ popularity has plummeted.
With the upcoming vote on everyone’s mind, what would the constituency map of the UK look like if Labour’s by-election performance were replicated nationwide?
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Labour’s Alistair Strathern won 13,872 votes out of 40,720, working out to a 20.5 percent swing from the Conservatives from their December 2019 win.
Sarah Edwards secured a 23.9 percent swing in Tamworth, a result that prompted Sir Keir Starmer to claim his party was “redrawing the political map”.
An analysis of margins in Tory seats nationwide shows that should the Opposition lure 20 percent of last-time-round Conservative voters to their side, they could lose as many as 103 seats to the Labour Party alone.
These include constituencies as far and wide as Kensington in central London, Carlisle in Cumbria and Wrexham in Wales.
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Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said “legacy issues” from the turbulent premierships of Liz Truss and Boris Johnson.
Shortly after the latter took office, in January 2020, 49 percent of UK adults professed to be Tory voters – 20 points ahead of Labour on 29 percent, according to pollster YouGov.
The Partygate scandal, the handling of the record-breaking inflation and the mini-budget fiasco have played their part in handing Labour a 22-point lead as of mid-October.
The biggest problem, Mr Hands added, was “Conservative voters staying at home”, but polling suggests even energising all their supporters would do little to break the slew of poor results.
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