The Tiverton & Honiton by-election caused by the resignation of Bridgwater old boy Neil Parish MP for looking at tractor porn in the House of Commons is set for Thursday 23rd June and despite media speculation that Labour are soft peddling to let the Lib Dems win so that the ‘deal’ can be reciprocated in Wakefield, so that Labour can win, has been rubbished by Labour candidate Liz Pole. Liz says “There is no deal. At most, a reluctance to get into mud-raking amongst the opposition when what we want is to focus on attacking the Tories on their record. I am campaigning in all 24 of our wards 5-10 hours every day, and am campaigning to win.”
In 2019 Liz was the Labour candidate who won second place in the General election with 11,654 Labour votes easily topping the 8,807 votes of the third place Lib Dems. In this ‘safe Tory seat’ however, Parish got 35,893. A massive mountain for the opposition to climb at best of times, and this time round there’s a host of other candidates to grab spare votes, noticeably 4 right wing parties (even more right wing than the Tories). Reform UK (ex Brexit party), Heritage (Euro-sceptic right wing populists) plus UKIP (exactly the same description fits) and the extreme far right For Britain (who were even described as Nazis and racists by Nigel Farage). Historically Labour have come second in 2 out of the last 3 elections -notably the most recent 2 -although in 2015 UKIP grabbed 2nd place. Lib Dems have been a distant 3rd or 4th and have to go back to 2010 for a 2nd place.
Do NOT concede anything to the Lib Dems
Brian Smedley, Leader of Bridgwater Town Labour Group said “Here in Bridgwater we have again won a major election victory by keeping control of the town council. We are also a second place party in our parliamentary constituency and we fight to win and would not concede ANY ground to the Lib Dems. Our local government base informs our parliamentary vote and in Tiverton & Honiton Labour has been making major gains there in recent work-much of that is down to Liz Pole. They would be crazy to move over for the Lib Dems so I’m really glad to see them debunking this story and I would urge Somerset Labour activists to get down there and help them out.”
Things are looking even rosier for Labour in Bridgwater according to the Boundaries review that is on the horizon as the constituency will be losing it’s West Somerset wards and contracting the area for the Parliamentary vote closer to Bridgwater town. “It’ll be good night from Ian Lidell Grainger sooner than you think” added Cllr S.