Mid Bedfordshire by election odds: Who will take Nadine Dorries' Mid Beds constituency in 2023 - polling date
Central Bedfordshire Council has set the date for the Mid Bedford by-election following Nadine Dorries' resignation
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Central Bedfordshire Council has set a date for the by-election as a result of the resignation of former Conservative culture secretary Nadine Dorries.
Since 2005, Dorries has won five elections in the traditionally safe seat, each time with a sizeable majority. But she said she would resign with “immediate effect” on 9 June after she failed to get the peerage she expected in her ally Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.
But it was only on 29 August that she formally quit after facing pressure from councils in her constituency and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who suggested her voters “aren’t being properly represented”.
When is the Mid Bedford by-election?
Central Bedfordshire Council has set Thursday 19 October as the date for the Mid Bedford by-election.
There is no legal requirement mandating that elections must always be held on Thursdays, but UK elections, including by-elections, are traditionally held on that day for historical and practical reasons, a practice that dates back to the 19th century.
The timing of the vote means the outcome won't affect the Conservative party conference, which is taking place at the beginning of that month. Given that the party is currently performing significantly worse than Labour in national polls, the Conservatives are wary of any electoral test.
Who will be standing for the seat?
Labour and the Lib Dems are both vying to flip the 24,664-strong majority in the Mid Bedfordshire seat of Dorries.
Labour – placed second in the 2019 election, 24,664 behind the Tories – is hopeful of snatching the seat held mostly by the Conservatives since 1931. But the Liberal Democrats also believe they have a chance to continue their run of delivering by-election shocks to the Tories.
Seven candidates have so far declared their intention to run for the seat. They are:
- Festus Akinbusoye - Conservative
- Dave Holland - Reform UK
- Emma Holland-Lindsay - Liberal Democrats
- Gareth Mackey - independent
- Cade Sibley - Green Party
- Alistair Strathern - Labour
- Alan Victor - True and Fair Party
Holland has said he spent a lot of time as a child in Ampthill Park while growing up in the Ampthill constituency. Reform was first established in 2018 as the Brexit Party, and says that it will defend democratic values, civil liberties and freedom of speech.
Holland-Lindsay, who was born and raised in the county, represents Leighton Buzzard on the Central Bedfordshire Council, having recently ousted the Conservatives from the seat. She is the National Federation of Women's Institutes' head of public affairs and is in charge of the group's campaigning and influencing efforts.
Since 2019, Mackey has served as an independent Central Beds councillor for Flitwick. As a result of the local elections held in May, he is now a member of the unitary authority's executive team.
Sibley has described himself as the "Green Party candidate for Mid Beds in the campaign for real change" on social media. He works in adult social care, looking after disabled people, and resides in Toddington.
In addition to serving as a cabinet member on Waltham Forest Council in east London, Strathern, a former teacher, now works for the Bank of England.
Victor has lived in Bedfordshire for 32 years. A retired car company executive, he decided to take a political path because he was "tired of the current state of UK politics and mainstream political parties hijacking our democracy, promising the world and failing to deliver."
What are the Mid Bedfordshire by election odds?
According to Oddschecker, which compares a wide variety of betting odds from various online bookmakers, the Liberal Democrats are currently the most likely party to claim the seat come the Mid Bedfordshire by election, with odds of around 11/8.
The least likely to do so are the Monster Raving Loony Party (500/1) - though the tongue-in-cheek party is yet to formally field a candidate for the vote at the time of writing. The Conservatives currently sit in second (9/4), with Labour in third (5/2).
The full list of odds is as follows (correct as of 5/9/2023):
- Liberal Democrats - 11/8
- Conservatives - (9/4)
- Labour - (5/2)
- Greens - 250/1
- Reform UK - 250/1
- Monster Raving Loony Party - 500/1