Another hard-fought by-election is due to take place next month, after the Conservatives won the Hartlepool contest in May.
Labour will again be forced to defend a seat in the North of England which they stand a high chance of losing, though this time some believe they have even worse chances of holding it.
The by-election will take place in the Batley and Spen constituency, in West Yorkshire, which Labour has held since 1997.
Why will there be a by-election?
There will be a by-election in Batley and Spen because the constituency’s current MP has to step down from her current role to take on the job of West Yorkshire metro mayor.
Tracy Brabin won the first West Yorkshire Mayoral election with 310,923 votes, it was announced yesterday.
The West Yorkshire mayoral role includes the powers of Police and Crime Commissioner, which cannot be held by a sitting MP.
This is unlike the role of South Yorkshire mayor, held by Brabin’s Labour colleague Dan Jarvis, who retains his Barnsley seat as well as the mayoral office in a dual role.
Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham both had to step down from their seats as MPs to take on their current roles as mayors of Greater London and Greater Manchester, respectively.
When will the by-election take place?
The Batley and Spen by-election will take place on 1 July.
The by-election process is formally started when the chief whip from the party of the MP stepping down moves a motion in parliament, this is then generally accepted by the house.
Who is the favourite to win?
According to the most recent polling, we are set for a third shock by-election result since May, following on from Chesham and Amersham earlier this month, and Hartlepool last month.
The Tories look set to recover after the recent setback though, with Labour at risk of another shock-loss in a once relatively safe seat.
Labour’s candidate Kim Leadbeater was drafted in to fight the by-election, but despite a strong campaign seems to be falling behind.
A new poll by Survation puts the Conservatives on 47 per cent in Batley and Spen, with Labour on 41.
Here are the results of the poll:
– Ryan Stephenson, Conservative - 47%
– Kim Leadbeater, Labour - 41%
– George Galloway, Workers Party - 6%
– Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrats - 3%
– Other - 2%
Concerns expressed by many in the Labour party seem to be baring out, as the Conservative candidate, Ryan Stephenson, takes a fairly strong lead in this first poll.
Unlike the recent Hartlepool by-election though, the poll shows that smaller parties pulling voters away from Labour could be the deciding factor here.
Unlike in 2019, when the pro-Brexit vote was split between Conservatives, Brexit Party and a local independent party, now the ‘left’ vote is split.
The poll puts George Galloway’s Workers Party on 6 per cent, after the former MP and reality show contestant has waged a highly visible campaign centered around supporting Palestinian rights.
The Liberal Democrats, who have elected councillors in one of the constituency’s wards, are polling just 3 per cent.
None of the numerous smaller party candidates, including a number of far-right extremist Jayda Fransen, had enough support to be picked up in the polling.
What were the 2019 general election results?
Judging by the results at the last general election in 2019, Batley and Spen will be a difficult hold for Labour.
Like many places in the North of England, Labour managed to hold on in Batley and Spen in 2019, but this might only have been because another party attracted a significant number of votes which might otherwise have gone to the Conservatives.
Unlike many of these places though, like Hartlepool and Hull, it wasn’t the Brexit Party who split the vote to keep the Tories out, but a local party, the Heavy Woolen District.
Here are the results from the 2019 general election
Labour, Tracy Brabin – 22,594, 42.7 per cent Conservative, Mark Brooks – 19,069, 36.0 per cent Heavy Woollen District Independents, Paul Halloran – 6,432 12.2 per cent Liberal Democrats, John Lawson – 2,462, 4.7 per cent Brexit Party, Clive Minihan – 1,678, 3.2 per cent Green, Ty Akram – 692, 1.3 per cent