Monday, 9 May 2011

Labour comfortably hold Leicester South

In amongst the many elections taking place last Thursday there was the small matter of a new Member of Parliament to find. The by-election to replace Sir Peter Soulsby as the MP for Leicester South was easily won by Labour as Jon Ashworth received almost 60% of the vote; an 8.3% swing from last year's General Election.

By-Election Candidate


Vote %


Jonathan Ashworth (LAB)




Zaffur Huq (LD)




Jane Hunt (CON)




Abhijit Pandya (UKIP)




Howling Laud Hope (OMRL)




The Labour hold was hardly a surprise, but rather less expected was the resilience of the Liberal Democrat vote. Given their performance in the Barnsley Central by-election most were expecting the Lib Dems to slip into third place, but they stayed comfortably ahead of the Conservatives. Of course, this is scant consolation given the party's other poor results last week but their candidate Zaffur Huq should be pleased with himself. He received more votes in Leicester South than the Liberal Democrats' mayoral candidate managed across the whole city. The Lib Dems could do worse than look at this result, along with others that bucked the trend, as they regroup from this round of elections.

The Conservatives doing poorly in a Westminster by-election is hardly news but it is interesting that UKIP did not profit. The anti-EU party surprised everyone as they snatched second place in Barnsley and although they doubled their vote share from last May here they still lost their deposit by some way. The fact this by-election took place in conjunction with local council elections was sure to favour the more established parties in the city but UKIP's PR disasters during the campaign can't have helped their chances. I think we'll need to wait until the next Parliamentary by-election to see if Barnsley was a flash in the pan for Nigel Farage's party or the start of something a little more substantial.

As for forthcoming Westminster by-elections the only one confirmed is Belfast West, for which the writ has yet to be moved.


  1. trevor sharkey9 May 2011 at 18:04

    Look you people let's get this straight once and for all. Where the Lib Dems are in 2nd place to labour their vote will hold up because tories will vote for them. Here tories dropped by 6.2% and i would think at least half of that went to prop up the Lib Dems. Add that on to their actual drop of 4.4% then probably 7.5% was the true drop in Lib Dem support!

  2. Oldham East: Con -13% Lab +10% Lib Dem unchanged
    Barnsley Cen: Con -9% Lab +14% Lib Dem -13%
    Leicester S: Con -6% Lab +12% Lib Dem -4%
    Average: Con -10% Lab -14% Lib Dem -5%

  3. @ Trevor

    I think the Barnsley result, along with many Council wards last Thursday, would indicate otherwise.

    When they are defending the seat in a by-election we see a different story.