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Share or comment on this article: Nigel Farage boasts that UKIP could defy the odds to win three-horse race in Eastleigh by-election e-mail. More top stories. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Search. We're sadder, poorer Don't blame the public for packed hospitals, urge top doctors after string of medics tell rule-breakers they Proof the Pfizer Covid vaccine works in the real world?
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Trump spends his first weekend as ex-president playing golf at his West Palm Beach club The first point to make is that both front-runners are likely to lose vote shares - the result will be decided by the party whose vote declines the least. On the other hand, if UKIP has truly become the party of protest now that the Liberal Democrats are in government, then it could begin to attract those who voted for Chris Huhne in because he was neither Labour nor a Conservative.
The second point to make about the polling evidence is that it pays to study the fine detail behind the headline figures. The latest Survation poll, for example, surveyed a total of Eastleigh residents but then reduced that number to respondents to take account of likely non-voters. Equally, the polls currently reporting a narrow Liberal Democrat lead could be forecasting the wrong winner and yet still be correct about estimated vote share when accepted margin of error is accounted for.
But the Eastleigh effect will extend much further, making this truly one of the most important by-elections in the post-war era. Watch Live. Eastleigh By-Election Is One Of A Kind Coalition tensions, political defections and party scandals make this one of the most important by elections since the war.
By Michael Thrasher, Elections Analyst. Fill 2 Copy 11 Created with Sketch. Tuesday 26 February , UK.
But activists on the ground report a groundswell of support for UKIP in recent days, taking support from both coalition parties. Mr Farage told LBC I think this is the toughest by-election to call we have ever seen. Bookies reported a surge in bets on a UKIP win. Given the added safety net political punters have never been keener to back Farage's party. Betting records have been smashed many times over. In the Commons today David Cameron urged Tory MP 'who are not there already to make their way to Eastleigh this afternoon and support Maria Hutchings in the by-election campaign'.
The Eastleigh contest has been billed as a must-win for both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, to reassure their party grassroots that they can defeat their coalition partners in a straight fight. An opinion poll by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft suggested that in the Hampshire seat of Eastleigh, where voters go the polls on Thursday, the Lib Dems are clinging on to a five-point lead over their coalition partners.
All the main parties stepped up their campainging efforts today in a last ditch bid to win support. Labour's candidate, comedian John O'Farrell, has trailled in the polls and been dogged by comments about the IRA bomb attack which nearly killed Margaret Thatcher and wishing Britain had lost the Falklands war. Today he was joined by Cherie Blair on the campaign trail, although Labour insiders have given up hope of making any in roads in the crucial southern seat.
During his weekly radio phone, Mr Clegg said it was a 'fair question' to ask why voters would trust his party given its record of scandal. It would mark the first time a prime minister has taken a seat in a by-election since Margaret Thatcher in her Falklands pomp in The Tories must also secure victory to prove Mr Cameron can make electoral gains from his coalition partner, in the hope of landing an overall majority in the election.
I also know that contrary to the defeats inflicted upon Liberal Democrat councillors in recent local elections, those in Eastleigh have bucked the trend - strengthening their grip on a council they have controlled since the late s. Make no mistake, therefore, it was no fluke when the Liberal Democrats inflicted a huge defeat here on the Conservatives at the by-election in that followed the death of Stephen Milligan.
Their chosen candidate, local councillor Mike Thornton, is already an important cog in a formidable and well-entrenched party machine. The first point to make is that both front-runners are likely to lose vote shares - the result will be decided by the party whose vote declines the least. On the other hand, if UKIP has truly become the party of protest now that the Liberal Democrats are in government, then it could begin to attract those who voted for Chris Huhne in because he was neither Labour nor a Conservative.
The second point to make about the polling evidence is that it pays to study the fine detail behind the headline figures. The latest Survation poll, for example, surveyed a total of Eastleigh residents but then reduced that number to respondents to take account of likely non-voters.
Equally, the polls currently reporting a narrow Liberal Democrat lead could be forecasting the wrong winner and yet still be correct about estimated vote share when accepted margin of error is accounted for. But the Eastleigh effect will extend much further, making this truly one of the most important by-elections in the post-war era.
Watch Live. Eastleigh By-Election Is One Of A Kind Coalition tensions, political defections and party scandals make this one of the most important by elections since the war.
The former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has admitted his party is suffering the "excruciating" pain of being found wanting in its support for women's rights. Writing in the Guardian, Ashdown said the party has suffered a perfect storm in which the rightwing press has held all the thunderbolts, but he urged Lib Dems not to panic under fire. Ashdown writes:. Even if we had achieved presentational perfection in the face of the most ravenous media feeding frenzy I have ever experienced as a Lib Dem in 40 years of politics, it would have made no more than the merest scrap of difference to the outcome.
Like Clegg's office, he does not attach any blame for the crisis to "Conservative dirty tricks". Many Lib Dems instead suspect some of the detailed stories came not just from the aggrieved women, but from elsewhere within the party, my colleagues Patrick Wintour and Robert Booth report. Disappointingly, that headline is derived not from an opinion poll asking voters which political party they would be most likely to run away from a question inexplicable un-asked in most major surveys — so far , but from the following quote, from Sally Thorne of Eastleigh:.
I have seen people going up to Ukip instead of avoiding them, whereas you see the other politicians and people run. The Standard piece also includes a memorable quote about Chris Huhne from another voter, Janet Blackwood:. Updated at 6. Privately Labour is preparing for fourth place — but believes it has learned valuable lessons about which messages work in the south of England, writes Steven Morris.
I'm in two minds about whether to keep publishing these photos, but I think they do say something interesting about the gulf between the political class's view of today's byelection — basically a gleeful rubbing together of hands at the prospect of Tory discomfort and increased coalition tensions — and that of the Eastleigh electorate, who, it seems, are as mad as hell and not going to take this any more.
RT rossengland : An Encouraging notice from an Eastleigh resident. Thank You! He is not very good at it and the results are poor, but he carries on anyway. Which is strangely familiar. The meltdown in Tory circles would be a sight to behold. But somehow I don't think Labour's failure to win this seat will be the biggest political story in town tomorrow morning.
Let's see how they actually do in Eastleigh. Doubt it translates. John Prescott has called the Tories' use of Ukip colours on an election leaflet "desperate" and "remarkable". Tory leaflet using UKIP colours to get votes! Getty Images have filed some brilliantly prosaic photos of Eastleigh, which remind me of postcards of British cities from the s. Mike Smithson, who runs the PoliticalBetting website, has got the latest probability figures on who is likely to win, based on bookmakers' odds.
The figures at 9am today were Lib Dems The 4. Updated at 4. My colleague Steven Morris has noticed something interesting about the latest Conservative campaign leaflet: it looks like a Ukip campaign leaflet. Latest Tory leaflet in eastleigh.
In UKIP colours. Interesting tactic. My colleague Steven Morris reports a febrile atmosphere in Eastleigh town centre:. The first person I found talking politics after touching down in the Swan shopping centre car park was Lee Mead, year-old salesman.
He was talking to a Ukip campaigner, Ann Murray, who had come here all the way from Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands. Mead says he's not racist — he's got a girlfriend from Latvia and Asian friends. We can't keep on letting everyone in.
He believes that if the coalition announced a referendum on the EU today people would flock to the polling stations. Marsh claimed he was getting a good response, too. That's why Ukip is doing so well here. They are benefiting from anger against the mainstream parties. Eastleigh is an old railway town, the centre ringed by terraced streets of workers' cottages. The party's candidate, Daz Proctor, is actually out of the area, in the north-west of England taking part in a protest against the so-called bedroom tax.
Marsh says Proctor will be back later — and the party will be back come the next set of local elections to take on the main parties again. Campaigners for the National Health Action party are also trying to secure last-minute voters. This battle has been a steep learning curve for Green's party. It is planning to field 50 candidates at the next general election.
There is not much evidence of the Lib Dems and the Tories in the town centre, Steven reports; they are out in the suburbs, getting their voters out. The Lib Dems, who dominate the borough council, have a super-slick machine. They are confident they'll hang on to Chris Huhne's former seat. Labour's John O'Farrell was out campaigning near the town centre and was lunching in the very nice Artisan cafe on High Street.
Ukip candidate Diane James continues to glad-hand voters on Market Street. I'm not going to give an absolute commitment that you are talking to the first Ukip MP because that's for the voters to decide. They believe turn-out is good, which is good for them — the bigger parties are likely to do better on postal votes so there is catching up to be done.
One strategist said they had phoned everyone who had said they would vote for them once; they were planning to do it once more later. That's not happening this time. Alison Smith, the Oxford politics lecturer who led complaints of sexual harassment against Lord Rennard, has contacted the Metropolitan police about her allegations and has urged other victims to do the same.
Robert Booth has the full story here. It feels like a case of musical chairs and he is the only one standing when the music stopped. So many people have questions to answer. Smith made her complaint under the leadership of Menzies Campbell and she said Rennard exerted extraordinary power over the Lib Dem leadership and that may have made it harder for them to tackle the issue. Asked if that may have informed the limited way in which Clegg and his then chief of staff, Danny Alexander, handled the allegations in , she said: "He [Rennard] has been instrumental in making and breaking Clegg's career so far.
A slightly gentler way of dealing with unwanted campaign literature than the ones we saw earlier:. That leaflet fatigue I mentioned yesterday mike4eastleigh twitter. Just a reminder of how the main parties lined up at the general election. Here's a quick round-up of bookies' odds on the Eastleigh byelection.
As we enter last few days of the Eastleigh campaign, local voters are really loving all the attention. The 'A' Team is on it : twitter. Updated at 2. Poor Nick Clegg has been forced perhaps by self-appointed detectives to continue the running commentary on the Lord Rennard allegations that he wanted to avoid. The Lib Dem leader, visiting the Aston Martin car factory in Warwickshire, told reporters that he wanted the investigations into Rennard's alleged behaviour carried out "as quickly as possible".
The key thing, not least for the women involved, is that the investigations get their work done as quickly as possible. The important thing is that the two investigations I announced last week are allowed to get on with their work, and that the police investigation is allowed to get on with its work. Martin argues:. Excoriating Tony Blair is easy.
But in the end it is both scurrilous and stupid. He got some things wrong and a lot of things right. To pretend that he was and is essentially beyond the pale turns politics into grandstanding. It makes the political dilemmas which face any centre-left leader into a permanent self-fulfilling narrative of failure and betrayal.
Telegraph and New Statesman journalist Dan Hodges is taking a stand against byelection-day cliches:. Is there any chance we could come up with a description of activity at polling stations that is not a "Brisk" or b "Sluggish"? I'm happy to report turn-out in Eastleigh is officially "serene" or "sensual". Mike Smithson, who runs the PoliticalBetting website, has some good news for Ukip.
Here's David Cameron on the EU's plans to cap bankers' bonuses. The prime minister said:. Britain wants to have effective bank regulation. One of the failures under the last government was the failure of having effective bank regulation. We are absolutely clear that we must be able to implement the Vickers plan in the UK, which in some ways is tougher than regulations that are being put in place in other European countries. We want to have this proper ringfence between retail banks and investment banks, and the rules must allow that to happen We have major international banks that are based in the UK but have branches and activities all over all the world.
We need to make sure that legislation put in place in Brussels is flexible enough to allow those banks to continue competing and succeeding while being located in the UK. Updated at 1. Like UK Polling Report , pollsters Survation have analysed and summarised the five polls taken during the Eastleigh campaign. He writes:.
This has enabled them to bring a larger number of activists to the campaign and to reach more voters in more ways than the other parties have been able to. He also claims the expected large number of postal votes favours the Lib Dems, and dismisses the idea that the Chris Huhne or Lord Rennard controversies will damage the party:.
He adds:. Ukip are within touching distance of second place, and with reports from Eastleigh suggesting their ground game has been surprisingly organised, it is conceivable that they will pass at least one of the two main parties by polling day … [and] the possibility that they could pull off a surprise outside victory, as George Galloway did in Bradford West a year ago, should not be entirely discounted.
The polls will stay open until 10pm, and the result is expected before 2am tomorrow. I'll be covering the count on a separate live blog which will launch this evening. The proposal was agreed at an EU meeting last night. David Cameron said the government would look carefully at what had been agreed before deciding what action to take at next week's meeting of EU finance ministers. But Britain cannot veto the plan as the issue is subject to qualified majority voting. See I'm handing over to my colleague Paul Owen now.
He will be writing this blog for the rest of the day. Updated at In the UK we don't have Nate Silver to tell us who's going to win an election. But, I learnt today because he contacted me on Twitter , we've got Chris Prosser, an Oxford University politics lecturer who has developed a statistical model for trying to predict byelection results.
Tories are down five points since the election and Labour and Ukip both up nine. Lord Ashcroft, a major Tory donor who was deputy chairman of the party until , said the poll suggested both coalition parties have ''everything to play for''. But there were indications that Nick Clegg's party may gain votes through their performance locally.
The Deputy Prime Minister yesterday said Huhne had been a good constituency MP, and two-thirds of those taking part in the poll agreed that ''the Lib Dems do a good job locally in my area''. Huhne was a popular and, by all accounts, assiduous MP, and many in Eastleigh will be sad to see him go and circumstances of his departure.