Not sure whether to laugh or cry about the Henley by-election result. Labour crashing to fifth place certainly isn't a reflection on the campaign run by Labour candidate Richard McKenzie and Regional Director Malcolm Powers. I'm told they worked their socks off. Unfortunately I don't remember receiving anything from the national party encouraging people to go there and help. If we decide we are going to get a catastrophic result and don't try to put in resources then guess what, we end up with a self-fulfilling prophesy. I'm not saying we could have done well, given the territory and the national polls, but it would have been nice to save our deposit and beat the Greens and BNP. Interesting that Lib Dem whispers that they were running a close second turned out to be a total fantasy.
Also out last night was a YouGov poll that was at least moving in the right direction - Con 46% (-1%), Lab 28% (+5%), LD 15% (-3%). This may sound academic but the narrowing of the Tory lead by 6% represents an extra 44 Labour MPs, and 44 fewer gloating Tory newbie MPs elected by surprise in heartland Labour seats.
There were some council by-elections last night as well:
Park Ward, Blackpool UA. Con gain from Lab. Con 977 (55.1%, +28%), Lab 448 (25.3%, -8.4%), BNP 218 (12.3%, -4.8%), LD 97 (5.5%, -9.5%), UKIP 30 (1.7%, -6.7%). Swing 18.2% Lab to Con since 2007. Stunning result for the Tories at expense of all other parties in a ward in a parliamentary marginal.
Hatfield C Ward, Welwyn & Hatfield DC. Lab gain from Con! Lab 425 (33.2%, -7.5%), LD 329 (25.7%, +8.9%), Con 319 (24.9%, -17.6%), BNP 138 (10.8%, +10.8%), Ind 69 (5.4%, +5.4%). Swing 8.2% Lab to LD since 1 May. Labour picks up 3rd seat in a split ward on a council where we only got 5 councillors on 1 May.
Diss Ward, S Norfolk DC voted on Friday. Con hold. Con 1041 (55.6%, -3.2%), LD 768 (41%, -0.2%), Lab 63 (3.4%, did not stand last time). Swing of 1.5% from Con to LD since 2007.