Protest vote expected in Peterborough by-election – ITV News

Protest vote expected in Peterborough by-election - ITV News

With Labour on the rocks, anti-Trump ranting is Jeremy Corbyns safe space

Former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was removed from her position as MP on May 1 after she was convicted of perverting the course of justice. Ms Onasanya was found guilty of lying to police to avoid being prosecuted for speeding and a by-election was prompted in Peterborough to elect her replacement. The vote will take place on Thursday June 6 and it looks as if the Brexit Party could clinch its first seat in Parliament, ousting the Labour opposition.

In the European elections Peterborough voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Brexit party, securing 16,106 votes – more than twice that of runners up Labour.

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said voters remained “hampered by a binary, out-dated voting system” with small changes in support likely to mean the difference between parties winning dozens or seats and none at the next election, given the state of electoral fragmentation.

The Brexit Party’s success in the EU polls has made Mr Farage’s party the clear favourites to win the upcoming by-election with bookmakers Ladbrokes having them in front with odds of 1-5.

READ MORE: How Scottish Labour found itself in a death spiralOne recent poll put Labour and the Conservatives in third and fourth place with less than 40% of the vote. The ERS said there was a “clear, long-term trend” that politics was moving away from two main parties.

Mike Greene, a local businessman who has switched support from the Conservatives, is the Brexit party’s candidate in the Peterborough vote, hoping to be the first party member to get to Westminster.

It argues it is time for Westminster to join Scotland, Wales and local elections in Northern Ireland and Ireland in introducing a fair, proportional voting system where seats in Parliament accurately match how people vote.

Following the Brexit Party winning 29 seats in the European elections Mr Farage has claimed he could win the next general election if the Conservative leadership candidates fail to deliver Brexit by the end of October.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If we don’t leave on October 31, then we can expect to see the Brexit party’s success continue into the next general election.”

But the nature of the First Past the Post (FPP) voting system used at Westminster elections means Labour and the Conservatives could still cling on to hundreds of seats even if their support continues to plummet.

Mr Farage’s prediction has since been bolstered by the latest general election voting poll, where his party topped the vote for the first time.

Since Labour became the second largest party in terms of MPs at the 1922 general election, the lowest combined Conservative and Labour vote share seen in Great Britain in a general election is 67% in 2010.

The Opinium poll asked voters how they would cast their ballots at the next Westminster election, and 26 percent said they would back the Brexit Party.

Labour were second with 22 percent, with the Tories set to come in third with just 17 percent of the votes.

Conservative Sir Brian Mawhinney held the seat from 1979 until 1997. Helen Clark was the Labour MP from 1997 until 2005 and Tory Stewart Jackson held the seat from 2005 until 2017.

Despite Mr Farage’s vocal ambitions to win big at the next general election, an aide close to the outspoken Brexiteer understated their chances in the Peterborough by-election.

In the recent local elections at the start of May, the Conservative lost their slender overall majority on Peterborough City Council but continue to run a minority administration.

They said: “We do not have the data that you need to get your vote out, but we’ll give it a shot.”

In contrast, Labour and the Conservatives have been canvassing since Ms Onasanya was found guilty in December in the expectation that a by-election would be held.

His detractors might see his presence among the placards and blimps as a sign of fatigue on the part of the 70-year-old Leader of the Opposition following one of the most gruelling weeks of his career. It would be perfectly natural for Corbyn to return to his radical roots, to seek solace in the perfunctory and obligatory response of the crowd to his (for want of a better word) oratory.

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