By-election battle: Conservatives to expect a double blow

Douglas Carswell

Today, voters in Clacton, and voters in Heywood and Middleton have gone to the polls. The result is expected to be beneficial for UKIP and Labour.

The Heywood and Middleton by-election is occurring due to the passing of Labour’s Jim Dobbin.

The five candidates to stand are as follows:

John Bickley for the UK Independence Party.

Iain Gartside for The Conservative Party.

Abi Jackson for the Green Party.

Liz McInnes for the Labour Party.

Anthony Smith for The Liberal Democrats.

Labour are expected to hold onto the seat. A Survation poll gave them 50% of the vote, whilst Lord Ashcroft’s poll gave them 47%. In both cases, UKIP are predicted to come second with 31% and 28% of the vote, respectively.

Both polls put the Conservatives third, the Liberal Democrats fourth and the Greens in last place.

The seat is a pretty safe one for Labour and anything short of a strong win for the party would be an embarrassment for Ed Miliband. UKIP are also expected to do well, which they will use to show that they can appeal to Labour voters just as much as Conservatives.

If UKIP do, as the polls predict, push the Conservatives into third place it will be a bad night for David Cameron, but such a blow could be the lesser of two bad events for the party.

The more publicised, and discussed, by-election is the Clacton one, which is happening due to Douglas Carswell’s resignation as an MP. The former representative has defected from the Conservatives and is standing under the UKIP banner.

The candidates standing in Clacton are as follows:

Douglas Carswell for the UK Independence Party.

Andy Graham for the Liberal Democrats.

Howling Laud Hope for The Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

Charlotte Rose as an Independent.

Bruce Francis Sizer as an Independent.

Chris Southall for the Green Party.

Giles Watling for the Conservatives.

Tim Young for Labour.

The Clacton results are expected in at half one in the morning.

Douglas Carswell is likely to become UKIP’s first MP, having defected from the Conservatives two months ago.

A Survation poll, following Carswell’s defection gave UKIP an impressive 64% of the vote, ahead of the Conservatives on 20%, Labour on 13% and the Liberal Democrats on just 2%.

Such a victory would be an impressive feat for UKIP and the party would attempt to build on that momentum up until May next year.

A defeat for the Conservatives, by the percentage predicted in Survation’s poll, would be an utter embarrassment for the party. If the result is tighter, however, then damage will be minimised, but a UKIP win could pave the way for more defections - something David Cameron definitely will not want.

If Labour edge ahead of the Conservatives in Clacton, as Tories flock to UKIP then that will be seen as an impressive result for Labour.

Overall, it is expected to be a gruesome night for the Conservatives with a win each for Labour and UKIP. But of course polls have known to be wrong, so the there could be some unexpected outcomes.

Either way, this could be a turning point in British politics: the election of UKIP’s first MP.