Friday, 14 January 2011

Oldham East: Labour hold

The Oldham East results are in. They are as follows:

As you can see it's been a good night for Labour. They had a tiny majority of 103 which they've increased to 3,558 - a very healthy majority. The LibDems have been treading water, and the Conservative vote has collapsed.

It has to be said Labour worked very hard to achieve this result. They had shadow cabinet ministers out knocking on doors and pulling the vote out. When a face you've only seen on television before asks you to come out and vote it can be quite motivating.

The Tories were expecting their drop in the polls. Their hope was that the LibDems might take the seat.

The BNP result is unfortunate. They've dropped from 4th place to 5th, with UKIP taking over at 4th. This is mainly due to UKIP comprehensively outspending the BNP and luring away a thousand or so voters. However, this was always going to be a big party spat, starting with the previous MP's lies in his literature, proceeding in the High Court and ending yesterday at the election count.

It seems the real losers here are the LibDems. Although their share of the vote has held up, in fact increased by three tenths, it's likely there was a lot of Tory tactical voting to keep Labour out. Strip out the Tory assistance and the LibDem core vote seems to have been decimated. This is the price they are paying for being in coalition with the Tories; they get to share the blame for unpopular policies such as the hikes in tuition fees and the VAT rise.

The longer term effect then will be to strengthen the hand of those in the LibDems who don't want to be in coalition with the Conservatives.

Somewhere this morning LibDem "rebel leader" Simon Hughes will be smiling a grim little smile to himself.

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