Chesham and amersham

Why I was so wrong about the Lib Dems

Right, I got that one spectacularly wrong. On Monday, I made a prediction that the Lib Dems were going to get thumped by the Tories in the Chesham and Amersham by-election. In fact, the Lib Dems pulled off a stunning victory, overturning a 16,000 majority in a seat that has always voted Conservative. But while the result surprised me, even as a lifelong Lib Dem, I won’t be celebrating.  This week, for the first time in my political life, I made a faulty prediction of the Lib Dems’ electoral chances because I wanted them to lose. This clouded my judgement as much, if not more, than my previous desire for them to win.

James Forsyth

Can the Tory electoral coalition hold after Chesham and Amersham?

Tory MPs in prosperous southern seats will be feeling rather nervous this morning. The Lib Dem victory in Chesham and Amersham, see Katy’s blog here, is another illustration of how the decline in tribal voting means there are far fewer safe seats than before. One immediate consequence of this result is that it will harden backbench Tory opposition to planning reform One immediate consequence of this result is that it will harden backbench Tory opposition to planning reform. In this campaign, the Lib Dems repeatedly attacked the Tories for wanting to take away local communities’ ability to block developments. This struck a particular chord in a constituency that has HS2

Could the Tories lose the South?

The coming Batley and Spen by-election — triggered by the incumbent MP’s election as the first mayor of West Yorkshire — is currently attracting a lot of attention. It is a northern constituency that Labour won at the last election with less than 50 per cent of the vote and that voted to Leave, which has led people to wonder if the Tories can repeat their by-election success there. (It is, though, worth noting that the 2019 Labour share of the vote in Batley and Spen was 43 per cent compared to 38 per cent in Hartlepool).  But there is a group of Tory MPs who’ll be watching the Chesham and Amersham by-election even more