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The Batley and Spen result can’t paper over the cracks for Labour | Paula Surridge

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It is clear that voters’ differing views on religion, immigration and national identity are still a problem for the party

Expecting the unexpected has become part of the brief when covering British politics, and Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater’s win in the Batley and Spen byelection was no exception.

One of the factors in these surprise results is the volatility of an electorate that has, since 2010, been willing to cast their votes for a wider range of parties. It is impossible to understand British electoral politics over the past decade without paying close attention to the “smaller” parties. In Batley and Spen, the Liberal Democrats won 17.2% in 2010, and Ukip 18% in 2015. In 2019, this role was filled by the local Heavy Woollen District Independents, who have their roots in Ukip and won 12.2% of the vote. With this group standing down for the byelection, it was widely assumed that its votes would largely transfer to the Conservatives. With the addition of George Galloway to the mix with the intent of splitting the left vote, it seemed that holding the seat would prove impossible for Labour. But, despite Galloway getting more than 8,000 votes, Labour did hold on – albeit with a wafer-thin majority.

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from The Guardian https://ift.tt/3h8tJWm
via Google News

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Author: Naijamerit

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