Thursday, 5 May 2011

Don’t forget about Leicester South!

A Parliamentary by-election is usually a relatively rare and exciting (well, I speak for myself!) event but the one taking place today in Leicester South is unlikely to live long in the memory. Not only is it buried in a night with along with the English local elections, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Irish Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, the AV referendum and Northern Ireland locals(!) Labour are sure to win with ease. Those lucky ducks in Leicester South have 4 ballots to put in the box between the AV referendum, the locals, their first elected mayor and this by-election.

The by-election was called when Sir Peter Soulsby MP announced he was standing down to campaign for the Leicester mayoral election, for which he is the Labour Party candidate (and clear favourite).

Labour selected Jonathan Ashworth for the seat. Ashworth is Ed Miliband's 'head of party relations' and he became the immediate favourite. The Lib Dems initial candidate Parmjit Singh Gill then resigned in mysterious circumstances and was replaced by Zaffur Haq. A recent Survation poll has reaffirmed Ashworth's favourite status, showing him on 61% to 20% for Hunt (Con) and 14% for Haq (LD).

The big news late in the campaign is a mysterious fake Liberal Democrat leaflet outlining the party's policy on homosexuality. The leaflet was distributed in Muslim areas with the clear intent to incite homophobic voters within the community.

According to Political Scrapbook, this isn't the first time this dirty trick has been tried in Leicester South as a similar incident occurred during the 2004 by-election campaign, which the Liberal Democrats won. The most baffling part of this sorry episode is that the Lib Dems have no realistic chance of winning this time, so why employ such underhand tactics?

Anyway, here's the 2010 result and the key articles we have written on the by-election:

By-Election Candidate


Jonathan Ashworth (LAB)


Zaffur Huq (LD)


Jane Hunt (CON)






Abhijit Pandya (UKIP)


Howling Laud Hope (OMRL)



1. Soulsby resigns

2. Labour and Liberal Democrats select their candidates

3. Lib Dem candidate resigns and UKIP select

4. Conservatives select their candidate

5. Survation poll shows Labour miles ahead and UKIP candidate in a spot of bother


Post a Comment