Friday, July 24, 2009

Norwich North: Triumph for Chloe Smith

Peter Baggs (Ind) 23
Thomas Burridge (LPUK) 36
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 59
Bill Holden (Ind) 166
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 144
Craig Murray (Ind) 953
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243
April Pond (Lib) 4,803
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350
Chloe Smith (Con) 13,591
Glen Tingle (UKIP) 4,068
Robert West (BNP) 941

Turnout 45%

Majority 7,348

This is a great victory for Chloe Smith. A 16.5 swing is momentous in anybody's language, together with a majority of more than 7,300 fully vindicates the Tory campaign. She didn't quite get 40% of the the vote (she got 39.5%), but in the circumstances that is hardly surprising with the number of fringe candidates taking part.

For Labour it is worse than a disaster. To go from 44% to 18% takes some doing, even in these circumstances. They can explain it away all they like, but it would seem unlikely they can recover their position in the nine months available before the general election. But at least they just clung onto second place.

The result will be a huge disappointment for the LibDems. To only get 14% of the vote having thrown the kitchen sink at the seat will be debilitating indeed. That's 2% less than they got in 2005! One wonders whether April Moat will now stick by her decision to remain in Norwich North for the general election.

UKIP did rather well, beating the Greens into 5th place.

So what now for Chloe Smith? She can't take her seat until October so for three months she will be operating in a political no man's land. She could do worse than spending the next nine months preparing for the next election - spending as much time in the constituency as possible and dealing with casework. She should also take the time to build up the local political infrastructure. Her local association desperately needs an injection of new blood, and hopefully several new activists will have been recruited during the campaign. It's an exciting time for her and I couldn't be more delighted that she has come through her first big political test with such flying colours. It can't have been an easy time, but she really hasn't put a foot wrong. It bodes well for a successful political career.

UPDATE: According to the BBC, Chloe Smith is Britain's "Youngest Labour MP". Wishful thinking?

13.08: Mark Senior, LibDem spinner in chief, thinks it's a bad result for the Tories as they polled 2,000 fewer votes than in 2005. He omits to mention the fact that his beloved LibDems polled nearly 3,000 fewer. Fail.

13.46: Former Blears SPAD Paul Richards waits less than half an hour to stick the boot into the Labour campaign on the Progress Blog. He outlines the five lessons Labour needs to learn. Only 5?

13.54: Nick Robinson offers a very amusing translation service to the post election spin.


vervet said...

Labour spin will now be that it was a fantastic result because they managed not to come third !!!

Auntie Flo' said...

BBC have captioned Zoe Smith's photograph as:

"Zoe Smith will become the youngest Labour MP"!!!

Biased, or what?

Tory Dan said...

The BBC is spinning for its license fee, downplaying the fact its become a Tory safe seat!

Auntie Flo' said...

BBC: "Zoe Sitnh wil become the youngest Labour MP"

Trend Shed said...

Will Nick Robinson be impressed by a 14% swing I wonder.

Good job Chloe and the Conservatives. Please, please keep up the momentum and boot Labour out next year.

pollyowls said...

I make it a 16.5% swing from Lab to Con.
This is just as bad a result for Lab as Crewe & Nantwich - it's interesting how little has changed in the past 6 months.
Time to get the bags packed Gordon!!

Thats News said...

Blimey! What an historic result!

Iain, I am sure you will be able to help Chloe bedtween now and October.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to her, an excellent result. Wonder if Nick Robinson will put on his 'my dog just died' face when reporting on this?

Mark M said...

44.9% -> 18.2% and 33.2% -> 39.5% looks like a 16.5% swing to me Iain. Great result.

Obama Beach said he hoped the people of Norwich would realise which party had the best policies for the recession. Is he now going to tell them they are wrong?

Cjamesk said...

Usual spin from Labour ( Bradshaw ) on SKY;

Not reflective of a GE,
A back drop of an economic downturn,
Not a significant win / low turn out....
Blah blah blah the Moon is made of cheese,
Gordon saved the world and the Tories eat small children.

Well done Chloe Smith and all that campaigned in Norwich, shame the Lib Dems couldn`t push them into third though.

Nicolas Parsons said...

Rather refreshing. For once a politician who comes across as totally charming.
Let's hope she goes far and we see a lot more of her
Norwich isn't looking so bad after all. First Sale of the Century, now this result.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Shame the Loony vote collapsed.

Ted said...

Sky's chap on the spot announced the numbers a minute or two before the returning officer. Amusingly you could also hear it in the background of the BBC reporter. But isn't that a big no no?

JuliaM said...

UKIP did very well indeed!

Anonymous said...

"Zoe" Smith?!

Mirtha Tidville said...

I just cant get out of my mind the thought of that poor little Nokia being sytematically abused somewhere in the Lake District.....Shame

Anonymous said...

The result again shows the bias of the BBC. They had the greens in the big 4 parties. But they came 5th, why didnt they want UKIP to be in on the debates

Iain Dale said...

Mark Senior, LibDem spinner in chief, thinks it's a bad result for the Tories as they polled 2,000 fewer votes than in 2005. He omits to mention the fact that his beloved LibDems polled nearly 3,000 fewer. Fail.

Richard Abbot said...

I think you must be operating in a parallel universe Iain.
I have just watched the esteemed BBC's coverage and it really isn't that bad for Labour, after all people aren't sold on the nasty Tories yet are they?
I never used to believe in privatising the BBC, but now it just seems like 5% news, 95% propaganda to me.

Auntie Flo' said...

Labour humiliated in by-election, massive Conservative win, yet no video report from the BBC.

US corruption case is BBC's top rated video.

Zoe Smith's photo miscaptioned by the BBC to make the result appear to be a Labour victory.

Pleaser sack the lot of them, David Cameron!

Dimoto said...

Don't call me Dave said:
"Shame the Loony vote collapsed".

July 24, 2009 1:08 PM

Presumably you're referring to the Real Raving Looney party (previously known as Labour) ?

Mark Senior said...

I didn't say it was a good result for the LibDems , we should have done better given the effort put in , that does not invalidate my point that for every visit Cameron made to Norwich North the Conservatives lost 300 plus voters .
Voters do not like Labour but are not that keen on the other main parties either .

Anonymous said...

When are we going to get "hasn't sealed the deal"?

RD said...

Let's all laugh at Craig Murray.

Iain Dale said...

Mark Senior, oh for goodness sake don't be so pathetic. How many visits did Clegg make? 4 or 5? So how many votes did he lose. For goodness sake let's have a better level of debate than that. If the LibDems had taken the seat with the result the Conservatives had you;d be crowing from the rooftops. Go on, admit it.

Lola said...

Hmm. Adding up the broadly righty votes, Tory + UKIP = 17,659 Adding up the broadly lefty votes Lab + Lib + Green + BNP (have you read ALL their manifesto?) = 15,337. So a righty majority of about 2,322. There are 1,381 fringe votes, so an o/a majority of 941 for rightyness.

Mirtha Tidville said...

`` Voters do not like Labour but are not that keen on the other main parties either``.....

Well they were`nt keen on the Lub Dums were they!!

C Murray said...

It's all a conspiracy.

I wanna fank my fwends said...

Mark Smith is giving you a taste of your own medicine, Iain.

Anonymous said...

It is a sound defeat for Labour and a humiliating defeat for Clegg. It is not in the nature of the beast, the LibDems, that they accept their humiliation with humility. It is for Cameron and the Tories to lose the GE. Tories need policies not the crap like stuff of maintaining the overseas aid to put money into African dictators' bank accounts and dishing out to countries like India who waste their own resources in white elephant projects while their businessmen
sink their cash as pay packets for the IPL cricketers. No-nonsense immigration policy of stopping all economic migrants coming including students for 10 years, privitising the BBC or converting it to pay to view channel, streamlining the NHS so that the French model is adapted etc.. will bring Cameron tons of votes.

The Purpleline said...

Just seen Bradshaw on Sky, he actually said it was Sky’s duty to expose Conservative lack of policies. In addition, this 500,000 jobs would have been lost if they had followed the conservative line.

Why oh why does nobody ask them to explain the logic of this stupid statement. What jobs have they actually saved can they tell us what ones would have been lost. No of course they cannot it is a Brown lie and used daily by the Labour propaganda machine.

Great result for the conservatives.

If this result were repeated at the GE, it will be goodbye to the Labour party forever.

Elby The Beserk said...

The BBC were touting this as a 6% swing to the Tories until it was pointed out to them it was in fact 16%.

So bent they are broken, the Propaganda Arm of New Labour. As for Harman, please, someone, lock her up and throw away the key.

Lee H said...

Is it just me or is the BBC reporting team looking and feeling disapointed?
Obviously the will all go round to Ben Bradshaw's house afterwards to find out what there next task is. That is me not making it up. He has just said on Sky News that it is now up to the Labour Party and the media to attack the Tories. What media do you think he is talking about?

Mark Senior said...

Yes Iain , of course I would but it does not alter the truth of what I said . The Conservatives would win a GE on a turnout of 45% when their supporters are the keenest to turn out but that is as good as it can get . How will they do with a GE level turnout , not as well clearly but by how much not as well .
It is interesting that the result matches pretty well the CC results here ( allowing for the fact that UKIP did not contest every CC seat ) .

Boo said...

A terible result for the Tories, only a majority of 7000.
The mighty Libdems with 4803 votes are right to pour scourn on their efforts

Victor, NW Kent said...

I thought Labour did quite well to beat the LibDems into second place. However, there is no place money as the only prize goes to the first past the post so, by several lengths, we applaud Chloe Smith.

I might advise Mark Senior to try drinking a little wine instead of vinegar - it gives one a different perspective on things.

Anonymous said...

I have just seen yet another example of GROSS BBC BIAS. When they showed the main result on their 24 hour rolling news at 1:30. Showed 4 parties, putting in the Greens and leaving out UKIP. This is yet another example of the BBC being the gov mouth piece as they are afraid of the UKIP vote.


Eckersalld said...

@Mark Senior

Instead of grumbling about Tory numbers, perhaps you and the other Lib Dems would be better investing their time in making their party politically and functionally relevant again?

It'd be nice to have a strong 3rd party actually challenging for seats, and at a time when you should be battling to shift Labour into third place all I'm seeing is a party doing some half-hearted water-treading.

Richard said...


Just wondering why she can't take her seat in Parliament till October?

Anonymous said...

Are you watching Broon/McLabour???.

This is just a taste of what you have coming at the General Election!!!, and dont bother trying to spin it by blaming the 'recession' or the Scotch Ayatolla of 'England' McBean as 'leader', you would have been wiped out with the previous traitorous megalomaniac Bliar anyway!!!.

Anonymous said...


The win nothing Party.

Chris said...

It's fantastic the way the Libs and Labs spin these results. How badly to they have to do before they get it? When I was returning to the 'Sector 4' office at about 5pm after delivering in NN one day last week, the Lib Dums had just got permission from the house next door to the office to put up their 'winning here' signs in the garden. They were cockahoop and did a little victory dance. Sad really. Several LDs have been saying it would be close between Chloe and La Pond. wasn't! Agree with all the comments about the BBC - laughable. At least the presenter on Sky asked Bradshaw a couple of hard questions!

The Purpleline said...

Have I upset you Iain, my posts not appearing as fast as normal.

Chris Paul said...

There are around 20,000 voters who have not uttered a vote this time who will do so in the General Election. There are about 12,000 voters who backed LD, Green and UKIP who now know that this is not the answer for progressives (or nutters).

I think you are being far too bullish about this. Though after the expectation managing of Montgomerie and the lack of tweets I must say that 7,000 majority was quite a surprise.

2nd is better than widely expected. And it wasn't even that close with the 2 or 3 supposed overtakers.

Prediction: Gordon Brown will apologise for the over egged and at best inconsistent Star Chamber decision to oust Gibson. And Gibson (or hilariously Sir Gibson?!) will agree to stand for Labour in 2010. There are some variants on this. But that's my favourite.

Chloe? Or Zoe? - who would likely have been successful somewhere other in 2010 - will be beaten and join the list of shortest serving MPs with the likes of my old mucker Lord Michael Winstanley, who was a Liberal MP for a short while in somethingly similar circumstances.

Though unlike Zoe/Chloe he was local.

Word ver says it all:

cons up

Keith Elliott said...

This is a very good result for the Tories, awful for Labour and disappointing for the Lib Dems.

I don't see what other take on it can be made...and I'm a committed Lib Dem voter.

Budgie said...

This was good for the Tories, but not that good, and very bad for New Labour and the Lib Dems. Interestingly, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP were all vying for third.

I suspect that a lot of people lent their votes to the Tories in order to dispose of Labour, so the UKIP vote is surprisingly good in the circumstances.

Dave H said...

Re. BBC 'slips'

Nick Robinson's blog has just made a curious use of 'I' and 'we' when reporting this result:

Here's my guide to what the main parties are likely to say about the by-election and what they'll really mean.

Conservatives: "It's a historic victory. Norwich has voted for change. It's time the country had that chance."

Translation: "Phew. We just had to win here..."

Labour: "This was a unique by-election which tells us nothing about the result of the next election."

Translation: "Oh, I do hope that's right..."

Mark Senior said...

Oh for heaven's sake lighten up some of you , putting a gloss on the results good , poor or bad is part of the fun of elections .
Let us be serious for just a minute and look at all yesterday's results .
Conservatives won the big one Norwich North . They did poorly everywhere else losing seats to Labour in Derbyshire , Greens in Brighton and UKIP in Cambs . Labour gained the Derbyshire seat but lost seats to LibDems in Kensington , Redcar/Cleveland and of course the big one . LibDems did poorly in the big one , were squeezed in Brighton and Cambs but gained Redcar & Kensington from Labour and a technical gain from Ind in Brent . Overall mixed for the major parties , worst for Labour but good for UKIP and Greens .

Robin B'stard MP said...

A good result.

Nice to see the resident Lib Dem squirming and spinning his way around, looking for something or anything positive to take from this.....when of course there is not.

A win is a win regardless of the margin. As you rightly say Iain, had the boot been on the other foot he would be crowing from the roof tops.

It's shameful how people have to resort to silly spin in a effort to deflect their party's failings.

Hamish said...

Is this not a humiliating defeat for you?
You predicted a narrow Tory majority.
Remind us of the result now and the result when you stood.

Russell said...

"It's clear that David Cameron has not yet sealed the deal with the voters. His disastrous so-called victory in Norwich and the immediate defection of his candidate to Labour (as exclusively reported by the BBC) shows this clearly."

"Taken together with his previous complete failure to gain control of all the Great Northern Cities, and with the personal success of Gordon Brown's next relaunch scheduled for Tuesday week, this shows that the General Election is still wide open, and only one man can become Prime Minister."

[excerpt from No 10 PR unit press release intended for the BBC but faxed to me in error]

Paul_D said...

The only surprise is that Labour managed to scrape up more than a dozen votes. I have not met anyone this year with anything other than a deep loathing for NuLab.

Chris Paul, take note.

Anonymous said...

Harman now on the Beeb saying that the Tories are "arrogant" and have said that they already have the keys to Number 10. Nice to see the BBC not challenging this. Anyone seen/heard the Tories saying this?

Roger Thornhill said...

Cannot say I am not disappointed about the LPUK showing, but it will only be a "bad" result if no lessons are learned.

BTW, I do not think Chloe won, but the Conservative Party did. Cardboard box with a blue rosette would have secured a majority.

Well done to UKIP for beating the Authortitarian Greens! BBC exposed as a Fabian cesspool yet again.

Anonymous said...

Richard, please read this.

Labour. Lost. Labour. Lost. Badly. Very. Badly. Indeed.

You seems to have failed to notice this, so I cut it up in to small knowledge sized chunks for you.

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

The really good news for the Tories - and everyone seems to have missed it - is that UKIP did surprisingly well and the result was still an emphatic Conservative win.

Does this mean that the received wisdom of "UKIP voters = disaffected Tory voters" is breaking down? Or that the Tories are now so popular it doesn't matter if UKIP nab a quarter of their potential electorate?

Either way, they should be dead chuffed!

Gordosagonner said...

Predictably Labour are the big losers but why is no one mentioning the LibDems?This is the sort of by election they would have walked a few years ago.Will the not so nice party soon be turning in Nick Clegg?

Anonymous said...

You are wrong, Chris Paul.

There are around 20,000 voters who have not uttered a vote this time...

Then clearly they were NOT voters. Not having voted.

Lee H said...

The BBC are getting "battered" as such on the Nick Robinson blog. No wonder he doesn't read the comments anymore. This just in from the BBC:
BBC political correspondent Carole Walker said it was a "convincing majority" for the Tories, much more than many in the party expected and was a "serious blow" for Labour. I think it was much more than the BBC were expecting too!!

Windsor Tripehound said...

Chris Paul said...
There are around 20,000 voters who have not uttered a vote this time who will do so in the General Election.

To quote one of Mr Paul's heroes, "so what?".

Some research into the potential voting intentions on non-voters (by Bob Worcester I think) indicates that if they were to vote, their votes would be distributed among the parties in roughly the same proportion as those who actually did vote.

So to count on the support of the "stay aways" next time round is, to coin a phrase, Whistling Dixie, of which Mr Paul will have considerable practice in the coming year.

Anonymous said...

Top 3 idiots of the day

1) Ben Bradshaw

2) Mark senior

3) Nick Robinson

Mark Senior said...

Note to Chris Paul , Dr Michael Winstanley was not elected in similar circumstances or for a short period of time . He won Cheadle at the 1966 GE and lost in 1970 . Won Hazel Grove in Feb 1974 and lost in Oct 74 .
So how did we do at forecasting the result .Iain was well out with his forecast of the majority and therefore must be out on his forecast for the Conservative and/or Labour and/or LibDem shares . How did I do ? I was almost spot on with my forecasts for Conservative (38) Labour (18) and Green (11) I was sadly out on LD (21) and UKIP (7) .

Lee H said...

henrymacrory has just tweeted:
Correction: Labour's share at Norwich North was the lowest vote share of an incumbent MP’s party in any UK by-election for at least 40 years

I like Twitter

Anonymous said...

Are you thinking to yourself "What does Chloe Smith have that I don't have?" Besides the obvious...


Peter Thomas said...

The Conservatives had to work bloody hard, though. Well done, UKIP!

moorlandhunter said...

Great result. One more jab in the eye for the lying, sleazy, happy to take us to wars but not happy at funding our troops properly to fight them Labour Party.

Hamish said...

Probably not, since I have no idea what you were thinking.
Give us a clue.
Is it something to do with long legs?
Or perhaps that your picture doesn't do you justice?

Anonymous said...

Great result

Halfwit candidate---Chloe does not impress whatsoever. Comes across as lighter than a feather

Lola said...

Anon at 2:29 ...and anyway today's result is sample of the Norwich North electorate. It is probable that if the turnout had been 100% the same relative proportions would have been maintained.

This is a vote for the Tories, well it's a vote for rightyness if you add UKIP to the Tory vote. That is it's a vote against leftyness. The difference is not large, I grant you, but the swing - 16% wasn't it - tells you which way the voter is heading, and it ain't towards the proto totalitarians in New Labour and the fascistic Greens, or the limp lefty Libdems. It's towards the worryingly oligarchical, Eurtofederalist and policy lite (or policy fairly bloody awful when it comes to Osborne's ideas for retail financial services, scrapping the FSA apart) Tories. If Cameron had been more definite about genuine reform of the bureaucratic state he'd have done a Hell of a lot better, if my local straw polling is of any indication.

Anonymous said...

Hamish, the question was directed at Iain.


Anonymous said...

Conservatives didn't even manage to get their whole vote out but Labour have been given a kicking by their supporters.

However, come the election when the choice is between a Labour govt or a Conservative govt, Labour will win the seat back.

The simple fact is that Conservatives didn't do well enough in these circumstances to form the next govt, as no doubt Tory number crunchers will be well aware, despite the brave face they're putting on it.

DespairingLiberal said...

Maybe the Greens did badly because the Tories went Green. Check out the colour scheme on Chloe Smith's website. For a while I thought I was actually on the Green Party website. Almost no blue at all - even the Tory logo seems to have almost disappeared!

Anonymous said...

farage not happy with the BBC iain

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

"There are around 20,000 voters who have not uttered a vote this time who will do so in the General Election"

Telepathic savant, are we? You actually don't know that, do you? The very best you could hope for is 'may do so'. But it no doubt suits your convictions.


Anonymous said...


'This is the sort of by election they would have walked a few years ago.Will the not so nice party soon be turning in Nick Clegg?'

The Lib Dems were never going to walk this one, and they knew it from the beginning. It's disappointing that we didn't push Labour closer, but we've always been 3rd in Norwich North, so it was unrealistic to expect a win. The important thing was to hold off the Greens/UKIP and make sure we kept 3rd place, and we did. Just.

As for throwing the kitchen sink at it, that simply isn't true. The effort on the part of the Lib Dems was nowhere near that seen in Brent East, for example, because it was known from the beginning that it wasn't winnable. We had about 45 people there yesterday, which I'd say represented a modest collection of cutlery being thrown, rather than the aforementioned sink.

Richard said...

OK guys I think you have misunderstood me. In the post Iain says that Chloe cannot take her seat until October; I just want to know why she can't take it now

Iain Dale said...

Because Parliament isn't sitting.

Anonymous said...

Though it is nice to see the Nulaborites loose (again), there are a couple of flies in the ointment.

For one thing, the Tory vote, while OK, is hardly sensational considering the disaster that Blair/Brown have brought down on us.

I suspect that the Laborites will be quietly pleased that their policy of building up a constituency based on welfare and government jobs seems to be paying dividends in shoring up their vote.

For another, if Smith represents the new face of conservatism, then we can only look forward to years of tinkering with the same statist, authoritarian policies favoured by Nulabor.

Ultimately these will fail - as they always do.

niconoclast said...

It's a triumph for Left wing politics with a Tory tint.Winning is everything,principles can go hang is the Tory default position now.

Andrew said...

Another stunning victory...

While we're on a by-election theme, the good burghers of Glasgow North East are being denied parliamentary representation until November. Even the parliamentary website has its previous Member down as 'Lab':

Says it all, really. You couldn't make it up. You just couldn't...

Unsworth said...

@ Ninoclast

What? So you would prefer that the Tories lost 'on principle'?


The Jackson Four said...

Unfortunately all of the major parties scored far fewer individual votes than they did in 2005 (something like a combined total of 40,000 in 2005 down to 20,000 or so this time around)

%ages sound good but numbers of votes tells a different story. Only the Greens and UKIP actually polled more votes than in 2005.

Sadly, the turnout was only 45%, which perhaps should be of much more concern for all those profesional politicos, than who got the greatest % of those who were arsed to vote.

JimmyGiro said...

The last rat gets all the cheese.

The previous representative of Norwich North was sacked for effectively representing the people rather than the party.

If Chloe Smith represents the Tories, and the Tories support Chloe, who will represent Norwich North?