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Friday, 6 May 2011

Leicester South by-election Result Announced: Labour Hold

It’s been a long wait, but at last the Leicester South by-election result has been declared. The winning candidate was Jonathan Ashworth of the Labour Party, which is no surprise. Ashworth took 57.8% of the vote, up from the 45.6% won by his predecessor Peter Soulsby last year. Today of course, has seen the Liberal Democrats take a real drubbing nationally, but contrary to an earlier report that I'd seen, their candidate Zuffar Haq (a Muslim this time around unlike the Sikh Parmjit Singh Gill who stood last year) held onto second place, beating the Tory candidate Jane Hunt. Nonetheless, both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates saw their shares of the vote decline by 4.4% and 6.3% respectively.

As for the UKIP candidate, Abhijit Pandya, who incensed the ire of the Leicester Mercury recently because of his blog postings critical of Islam, unfortunately he trailed in fourth, beating only the Monster Raving Loony Candidate, which cannot be adjudged to be much of a consolation. When I last drafted this piece, there was a claim on the Bloggers4UKIP site that Pandya had attracted only 1.11% of the vote, thus managing to propel UKIP downwards from 1.5% last year! However, this proved not to be the case, and he actually slightly increased the share of the vote to 2.9%, although in numerical terms UKIP only took 994 votes, up 274 on 2010. It would thus appear that he did attract some support from those who last year lent their support to the BNP, who had previously taken a 3% share. Given the fact that the BNP did not on this occasion field a candidate, presumably owing to the state of near meltdown in which the party finds itself, UKIP should have been looking to do better than this. That it did not, suggests that something went seriously wrong with their campaign. After all, the Monster Raving Loony candidate took 1.6% of the vote.

The electorate had evidently been convinced that Pandya overdid it with his repatriate unemployed Muslims stance. That said, UKIP also fared badly in Leicester's mayoral election, their candidate trailing some considerable distance in seventh place behind the Greens and an Independent. This poor performance should hold lessons for UKIP and the small nationalist parties in England.

The final figures for the Leicester South by-election are:
  • Labour  19,771 (57.8%)
  • Liberal Democrats  7,693 (22.5%)
  • Conservatives  5,169 (15.1%)
  • UKIP  994  (2.9%)
  • Monster Raving Loony  553 (1.6%)

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