The court’s decision that the Oldham East and Saddleworth election must be re-run
because Phil Woolas was guilty of illegal practices under election law presents the coalition with a dilemma. Do both parties campaign
fully in this three-way marginal?
Oldham East and Saddleworth is number 83 on the Tory target seats list, it would require just over a five percent swing
for them to win. But the Lib Dems are even closer, only a hundred odd votes behind Labour.
If both of the coalition parties went all out for it, Labour would have a much better chance of holding on and winning the seat would be a welcome morale boost for the Lib Dems who were down at
nine percent in one poll this week. I expect that the Tories will field a candidate. But just how much support the candidate gets will be fascinating. Certainly from a coalition perspective, a Lib
Dem win would help Nick Clegg soothe the jangled nerves of some in his party.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.