A win for Labour in the Feltham and Heston by-election as it walks away with an increased majority. Seema Malhotra won with a majority of 6,203 over the Tories, a swing of 8.6%, but the turnout was a disappointing 28.8% according to the BBC.
However, while some votes were no doubt lost to the cold and wet, Christmas shopping, and the fact that the party was expected to win, Labour hoped for much more. With an unpopular government, job losses and the coalition cuts it should have got it too. The low turnout leaves (more) questions for Labour and Ed Miliband.
The poll raises yet more worrying questions about Miliband, whose popularity continues to slump. The latest figures from YouGov’s daily tracker poll for The Sun give the Conservatives a two-point lead, 40%-38%, but as LeftFootForward points out the full data (pdf) shows that the proportion of voters who find him decisive (8%), strong (7%), a natural leader (4%) or good in a crisis (5%) are not pretty.
This follows a LabourList poll that found ratings for Miliband as “Good” or “Excellent” has fallen to just 26% down from 40% last month following his handling of the November 30 protests. The poll also revealed that 41% think that Miliband’s performance has been “Poor” or “Very Poor” while 33% consider his performance “average”.
As Labour comfortably held the Feltham and Heston seat, made vacant after the death last month Alan Keen, and the Tories remained second it was Nick Clegg who had another bad night.
While the Liberal Democrats held third place with 1,364 votes they only just fought off a challenge from the UK Independence Party, who polled 1,276.
- Labour – 12,639 (54.42%, +10.79%)
- Conservatives – 6,436 (27.71%, -6.32%)
- Lib Dems – 1,364 (5.87%, -7.87%)
- UKIP – 1,276 (5.49%, +3.45%)