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Eastleigh shows how difficult the 2015 Tory/Lib Dem fight will be

21 February 2013

12:31 PM

21 February 2013

12:31 PM

The good news for Nick Clegg—and the bad news for David Cameron—is that the Liberal Democrats are racing certainties to hold Eastleigh in the by-election next Thursday. As I say in the magazine this week, the Liberal Democrats’ base in the constituency – they hold every ward in the seat – has given them an insuperable advantage. This victory means that Clegg will be spared the Spring conference crisis that would have followed a defeat there; for if the Lib Dems could lose Eastleigh where they are so well dug in, they could lose anywhere.

Cameron, by contrast, will have to deal with an intensely restless party. The Tories’ failure to take Eastleigh in these circumstances highlights just how difficult it is going to be for the Tories to take seats off the Lib Dems in 2015. Post-Eastleigh, Cameron’s MPs will be even more aware that if the party is in government again after 2015, it’ll be as part of another coalition.

But I suspect that another story next Thursday night will be how well UKIP does. They are surging there and I’d be surprised if they didn’t come a strong third. When I was down earlier in the week, I found it picking up voters off all three parties. It is getting disillusioned working class votes in Eastleigh town itself, which is a bit of the de-industralised north in Hampshire. While out in the more prosperous parts of the constituency it is picking up protest votes off the Lib Dems as well as playing on concerns among Tory voters about how sound Cameron is on Europe, immigration and tax.

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Show comments
  • AlexanderGalt

    Another Tory candidate who suffers from telling the truth.

    What the Coservatives need is another Claire Perry. Incidentally
    there’s a great story by a journalist infatuated with her in: “My Evil
    Temptress” at:

  • 2trueblue

    I think the numbers may be a bit tighter than you think. I’ll wait and see.

  • Davey12

    The end for the Tory party.

    I will never vote Tory again, actually Labour or Lib Dems. Do not care what happens. Add the demographic changes Cameron should be the last Tory prime minister ever.

    The sooner it all goes pear shaped the better.

    • Makroon

      Oh well, if you are stamping your little tootsie and refusing to vote Tory again, then obviously, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

      • Davey12

        Not stamping my tootsie… 2 ways to get our country back.

        1) Vote for a party that will do something. I cannot see that party.

        2) Let the money run out.

        It will mean that the Tories will have a lot of trouble winning when their own core vote in the south will not vote for them. So UKIP or anyone else will get my vote or I will spoil it or I will sit at home. Never ever vote Tory, Labour or Lib Dems.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    “But I suspect that another story next Thursday night will be how well UKIP does”
    You don’t say. And I’m sure the MSM will throw up its hands in collective horror and say that it couldn’t possibly have been foreseen and must be an abberation.
    The Pollsters will continue to lump UKIP in with “others” and pretend that the LibLabCON will continue unchanged in perpetuity.
    Meanwhile, the UKIP “barmy army” of loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists will quietly soldier on…. gathering more and more support all the time …. until the British Establishment gets the message that their cosy CONsensus on the EU and mass immigration has been broken by the PEOPLE.
    I’ll be back in Eastleigh on Saturday – getting the message out again.

  • Archimedes

    “they hold every ward in the seat”

    In my day, we use to have seats in wards, but what would you expect from a LibDem council? This just shows how the whole country is going down the drain. Decline is inevitable.

  • telemachus

    OK the LibDems have it
    Good that will get the Tory right wing blubbering again
    A further plunge to the right
    And a bigger majority for the forces of reason in 2015

    • CharlietheChump

      Forces who lack reason and, especially, policies.

      • telemachus

        The major policy that could be taken up by the coalition now is to build for growth

        • CharlietheChump

          All Labour (and Libs) offer is increased state and local government payrolls, pay levels and pensions. No growth there.

          • telemachus

            Invest in building and on the back of that more private sector jobs will spring up
            It is a mindset thing