Parliamentary by-elections

Yes, the Tories will hold on to Newark – but it’ll still be a historic win

This time next week the citizens of Newark will be spending their first day represented by a brand new MP.

Here’s the constituency result at the 2010 general election:

Newark 2010 resultAnd here’s what the latest (and so far only) opinion poll is suggesting will be the outcome of the by-election on 5 June:

Newark opinion poll

I’m amazed it’s taken this long for someone to commission and carry out a poll. This one was done by Survation for the Sun. Hopefully there’ll be others between now and election day, so we’ll be able to get a sense of any trends.

I shouldn’t think the results of this particular opinion poll will come as a surprise. Newark is one of the safest Tory seats in the country. It’s being well-documented that the party is mounting a huge campaign to see off any notional Ukip threat. I’m fully expecting the Conservative candidate to win next Thursday, albeit with a reduced majority (and pending any legal challenges).

But a Tory victory, though expected, will still be somewhat historic. For it would be the first time a Tory government has successfully defended a by-election seat since February 1989 – a gap of over 25 years.

That symbolic last stand took place in the constituency of Richmond. The winner? None other than the current foreign secretary, William Hague.

(As a sidenote, look how close the fight for second place could be between Ukip and Labour. More evidence of Ed Miliband’s party benefiting from the Lib Dem collapse, perhaps. Were Ukip to end up third, expect all the cliched talk about a “surge” to be replaced with similarly predictable talk of a “bubble burst”.)

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