Wednesday, 10 November 2021

By The Byes

Rory Stewart is said to be eyeing up the North Shropshire by-election. Yet was he not one of Owen Paterson's character witnesses? Anyway, the Conservatives are going to be having a good run of by-elections. They are going to hold North Shropshire, Southend West, and Old Bexley and Sidcup. They would hold also Windsor, Torridge and West Devon, and Chingford and Woodford Green.

Their majority at the last would return to pre-Corbyn levels, which would be a devastating indictment of Keir Starmer. And after Leicester East, Boris Johnson could either ask Starmer why he was happy to have Keith Vaz back, or how he felt at having joined Tony Blair and Ed Miliband in having lost a seat to George Galloway.

If Iain Duncan Smith fell, then the Conservatives would go back to the kind of majority at Chingford that he and Norman Tebbit had had before Jeremy Corbyn had twice come within an inch of taking the seat; in 2019, that was in the person of Faiza Shaheen. That would be as good a night for Boris Johnson as it would be a very, very, very bad night for Starmer. At Leicester East, meanwhile, the only thing worse for Starmer than losing it would be holding it.

If IDS held out, then it would be because the Geoffrey Cox story had broken sooner, it centred on a larger than life character, and it involved an exotic location. Meaning that he probably will. But what he did was arguably worse. It is a great pity, because he once resigned from the Cabinet rather than implement benefit cuts that the pre-Corbyn Labour Party, now restored, had refused to oppose.


  1. Reform is expected to contest most or all of these.