Boris mania has, understandably, rather crowded out coverage of this Thursday’s Ealing Southall by-election. But the result will be key to the political mood over the summer.
If the Tories get within 3 figures of Labour, it will ease the pressure on David Cameron that has built as Labour’s lead has widened. It will show that his more inclusive, less tribal politics appeals not only to commentators but voters. While if the Tory campaign belly flops, there’ll be much grassroots muttering about how on earth someone who’d been photographed beaming with Blair at a Labour fundraiser just last month got picked as a Tory candidate.
The result, though, will have the most direct impact on Ming Campbell’s future, as Iain Dale argues. If the Lib Dems finish a poor third, then his leadership will be under more pressure than ever before. Even the knife-shy Lib Dems might feel obliged to act in these circumstances.