Six council by-elections took place last night in England. The results in two are not yet available but the four results that have been announced will terrify the Tories and devastate UKIP.
Because they show that even the Tories’ most desperate nonsense is failing to stick to Jeremy Corbyn – and that the Labour leader is still playing a difficult Brexit hand exactly right.
The worst result that Labour achieved in the four announced results was in the Kent ward of Penshurst, Fordcombe and Chiddingstone – and that was a seven point two percent gain. Labour came last in that election, well behind the Tories and LibDems, but PF&C is a seat where the Tories and LibDems have usually carved up the votes between them untroubled by Labour.
However, in neighbouring Margate Central, formerly a UKIP stronghold, Labour blew away both UKIP and the previously-second placed Tories with an incredible 23.7 gain:
The UKIP loss of 25.2 points shows that Labour ate up the vast majority of the former UKIP vote, with the Tories picking up only a tiny share. Yet another old media assumption – that UKIP voters would only turn toward the Tories even in areas where Labour has traditional strength – shown to be nonsense. Again.
But that astonishing result wasn’t the only one where Labour ate a formerly dominant opponent’s lunch.
It wasn’t even the biggest shock – or gain – of the night. In the Marine by-election in Worthing, Labour’s share rocketed by almost 28 percent – giving Labour its first councillor anywhere in Worthing in more than four decades:
Labour’s surge took them from more than twelve points behind the Tories to almost nine in front – and no doubt sent shockwaves through the local Conservative association.
In the remaining result, Labour and the Tories took a seat each in the multi-seat Selthorpe (Charnwood) by-election in Loughborough – but Labour gained 5.8 points to surge past the Tories into first place.
At the beginning of 2017, the SKWAWKBOX said that Jeremy Corbyn was playing a very difficult Brexit hand exactly right – and in June, election pundits had to concede the point as Labour gained share in both leave and remain areas. Last night’s results, especially in Margate and Worthing, show that he continues to do so – and that recent, ridiculous, fake-news smears over non-existent u-turns, Venezuela and others have failed to tarnish Corbyn’s outstanding integrity. ‘Centrist’ saboteurs would do well to take note and get in line.
The two as-yet unannounced results are a Labour defence in St Margaret’s & St Nicholas in Norfolk and a UKIP defence in the Kent seat of Milton Regis. The results there are awaited eagerly – or possibly with dread by some.
But those already announced with have sent a chill down the spine of Tories whose desperate throwing of the mud from the very bottom of their smear-barrel is failing abysmally – and of what little remains of UKIP’s infrastructure as they realise they’re on the precipice of oblivion.
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