Monday, November 08, 2010


Coalition to face first Electoral Test in Oldham Byelection

Julian Glover makes a shrewd case regarding the Oldham byelection caused by the defenestratiohn of Phil Woolas MP. Few can doubt that if Labour's campaign approved making racist slurs against the Liberal Democrat opponent then it did not deserve to win the election, which it did by only 103 votes. Harriet Harmon has weighed in to rule Woolas's career is effectively over after the court found in favour of the case brought against him under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act . But what now then? Well, a byelection of course. And it shapes up to be intriguing. For the first time the Coalition will be made subject to an electoral test.

There are some, like the Tory, Nick Boles MP who would wish the coalition to be formalised into an alliance to fight in 2015. Oldham would be an interesting trial run for that idea. Labour lost the election but the majority of votes cast were not for the Conservative candidate. It seems both coalition parties will fight the contest separately but with Lib Dems at only 10% in a recent poll I would imagine they will have little chance.

If Labour 'retain' it there will be much celebration on the left but will voters elect a party which fooled tham last time out? Quite possibly Lib Dems in the constituency will urge voters to vote Tory, but up north after the recent cuts package I'd doubt that has much traction. Mind you, the contest will not be held until Woolas's appeal against disqualification has been heard so we'll have to be patient until then.

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