Another two Conservative flops in London by-elections

This week’s London by-elections brought a good pair of Liberal Democrat results – retaining a seat in Brent with a much increased majority and moving up into second place in Harrow.

They also brought another two poor results for the Conservatives, results which look worse the more you know about their campaign in each of the by-elections. In Harrow, they fell from second to third with an 11% fall in their vote, despite having called the by-election and then fought a keen campaign. In Brent their vote fell by 3% after having fought an intensive election campaign with the local Liberal Democrat team spotting at least seven different Conservative leaflets and also seeing the Conservatives out canvassing most nights.

This followed last week’s similarly hyped and then failing Conservative campaign in Highgate ward, Haringey. That saw a large increase in the Liberal Democrat majority, though having the sort of candidate in Peter Forrest who posts comments on the internet calling their opponent “spineless” and “lobotomised” probably did not help the Conservative cause. (This was, though, rather mild compared to some of his previous comments including a written threat in 2002 to publish personal details about a Liberal Democrat candidate if the party stood against him in his ward. We did. We won.)

Across all sorts of parts of London, and in areas with all sorts of political contests, the Conservatives have now consistently done poorly in by-elections with their vote falling in five out of the last six, the one exception being a small 2% rise. (For more details see my previous posting.)

All in all, this is not the sort of run in that Boris Johnson’s campaign can have been hoping for.

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