‘Shock’ result in Curborough by-election as Labour wins big in Tory heartland

Labour took a seat in the epitome of a Tory heartland on Thursday evening, in a council by-election win that was treated as a ‘shock’ by election pundits – but to those who remember the ‘Corbyn surge‘ last year against Establishment expectations, the only mild surprise is the scale of the win.

Labour made a huge twenty-seven point gain in Curborough while the Tories, who had previously held the seat with over forty percent, lost a significant 8.4 points:

be curb

The result suggests that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligent handling of the Brexit issue, keeping options open while the Tories implode, is still working as it did last year – as it seems Labour took a lion’s share of the former UKIP vote as well as eating the Tories’ lunch.

This impression is strengthened even further by the fact that Labour’s surge in the Kingsmead by-election on the same evening –  in the south-west of England where the Tories and LibDems traditionally share the spoils – was the biggest, while the Tories lost heavily again:


The LibDems, as might be expected, took the seat from the Tories – but Labour’s gain of almost twelve points beat the LibDems’ ten-point claw-back, suggesting that Corbyn’s savvy stance is working in remain heartlands too.

The Curborough result will have have put fear on faces in Downing Street and Tory HQ, as it shows Labour’s ability to take ground even in the bluest of Conservative strongholds, as this tweet by Election Maps UK showed succinctly:


Local factors and personality issues can of course play a major role in local election results, especially in by-elections. But there will be frowns in Tory offices for the weekend while Labour activists will be heartened – and anti-Labour smears will of course be redoubled.

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  1. Not wanting to dampen the celebrations but just for some perspective, the following is easily findable on the web (i.e. a very low turnout and very small number of votes) …

    Lichfield District Council result (turnout 15.6%):

    Colin Ball (Labour) – 309
    Lee Cadwallader-Allan (Lib Dem) – 34
    Jayne Marks (Cons) – 169

    Lichfield City Council result (turnout 15.5%):

    Colin Ball (Lab) – 323
    Paul Jones (Cons) – 160
    Richard Rathbone (Lib Dem) – 26

  2. A low turnout of Tory voters in a Tory heartland – how is that not a good sign? 🙂

  3. I have always held the view that you rarely win die-hard Tory voters over, but the second best thing is to make it obvious to them to put them off voting at all, it is what happened to Labour voters over decades, until they got out of the habit of voting.

    In truth though, there is a trend appearing, Labour are increasing the size of their results which puts lots of marginal constituencies into the frame and we are winning seats in Tory strongholds that have never ever been won before.

    The south west is an indication of that, true blue Cornwall is a case in point. Percentages do matter because that indicates trends, why have we witnessed decades of BBC interviewers stating that winning a seat in a safe Labour area where the vote has dropped is bad, when conversely if it happens to Tories becomes irrelevant.

    This is steady progress, and the remainers in Labour and Libdem have got it all wrong, large swathes of Tories want to come out of Europe, which is why they migrated to UKIP, but they also see that economic harikari doesn’t make sense either, which is where we are headed under a Tory Brexit. After all they are usually the ones who claim – ‘only if we win Tory votes will we be able to form a government’. That of course being the case, then surely a Labour Brexit is the answer. One that leaves with all the advantages of Europe without suffering the
    economic constraints that has strangled our economy over decades now.

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