Steve Richards of The Independent looks behind the scenes at Westminster this week.

After Labour took the Corby by-election this week, pundits were quick to read significance into the result. But how far do by-elections matter in the long run? Most are quickly forgotten and the euphoria of the victor can evaporate when voters next go to the polls. Here the opinion pollster, Anthony Wells, and the Labour MP, Nick Raynsford - a by-election winner himself - assess the evidence.

The by-election was called after the Conservative incumbent, Louise Mensch, decided to step down to join her family in New York. How did her constituents feel about that? And is it true that the relationship between MPs and constituents is growing ever stronger? The Conservative, Caroline Dineage, and Labour's Kate Hoey agree that a change is taking place.

This week, the Chancellor, George Osborne, went public with his thoughts on how the Conservatives will approach the next general election. His article in The Times newspaper raised eyebrows among his opponents because it seemed to set out an election strategy long in advance of polling day. The former aide to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor, and a former David Cameron adviser, Sean Worth, consider the implications.

Finally, elections were held this week for the new figures of Police and Crime Commissioners. Turnout was low, as expected. Edward Byrne of the think tank, Policy Exchange, thinks elected police chiefs a great idea but the policy was poorly sold to the public.

Editor: Peter Mulligan.

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28 minutes

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Sat 17 Nov 2012 11:00

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