BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Tories become kings of swing

Nick Robinson | 00:41 UK time, Friday, 23 May 2008

We have just heard the turnout - it's 58.2% - that's very high and confirms that the Tory vote has come out in force.

Party number crunchers are predicting a swing from Labour to Tory of around 17% - that's in line with the swing to New Labour in the last by-election before Tony Blair became prime minister and would lead to a majority of 8,000 or more.

There has also been a swing to the Lib Dems of around 8% - enough, their people say, to win around 20 Labour seats. They are putting a brave face on the fact that for the first time in many many years it's the Conservatives not the Lib Dems who are the by-election kings.


  • Comment number 1.

    The number may be high but it's a by product of competition not that people have suddenly discovered a love for democracy. Industry leaders go head to head because it increases market share for both, and less significant players can create the illusion of being more significant players by taking on the big guy. Reading too much into the turnout or the Tory result would be a mistake.

  • Comment number 2.

    It just shows how disconnected people are from the political process and how much disdain their is for the political caste when 58.2% is described as "very high". I seem to recall that during the 1970s and 1980s the turnout for by-elections was north of 70%.

  • Comment number 3.

    Damn, I've always struggled with "there" and "their" - why isn't there (got it right that time, I think) an edit function here?

  • Comment number 4.

    Damn, I've always struggled with "there" and "their" - why isn't there (got it right that time, I think) an edit function here?

    Can you imagine the mayhem if people could go back and edit their comments? The comment was cogent enough and reasonable people can let a typo slide. I wouldn't worry about it.
  • Comment number 5.

    Nick, this government is in serious trouble, make no bones about it. The 2.7 billion pound bribe was ill concieved and to underline the point, each losing vote tonight was at a cost of almost £213,000 , worth more than the national average house price for each and everyone turning up to support them.

    The party as a whole are in denial, if they really are listening, then they should hear this, get a general election going, live or die by the sword Gordon, don't let those you SERVE, live or die by your vision. You never had the mandate to serve us, you went against the Tony Blair promise with the EU vote and you're continuing that mantra - let the people decide...

    Just as a matter of interest, how many of the Cabinet were/are in a more "risky" seats than that this one was (165 on the tory hit list)?

  • Comment number 6.

    The £2.7 billion was a bribe, but not necessarily to win this by-election, which is how it was portrayed to stunning effect. It was a bribe to the parliamentary Labour Party to stop them voting down the Finance Bill.
    It was just another example of the clumsiness of Brown and his political cowardice.

  • Comment number 7.

    Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:
    'Reading too much into the turnout or the Tory result would be a mistake.'
    I'm sure Hazel Blears and Harriet Harman on BBC Breakfast this morning would agree with you but I have a feeling that the majority of The Electorate are more savvy than you give them credit for.

  • Comment number 8.

    58.2% sounds low to me, that means that over 40% of people didn't bother to vote.

    Reading the numbers regarding the turnout in Labour areas vs. the turnout in Tory areas, could this be that former Labour voters are deserting Labour, but can't quite bring themselves to vote Tory?

  • Comment number 9.

    post 8,

    Thats certainly how i'm feeling there's no viable alternative to vote for so why bother voting at all, sad when past generations have given their lives for us to have the right to vote, seems a shame to waste it but whoever I vote for is just going to tighten the screw on minimum wage earners like myself


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.