A quick round-up of all things Eastleigh — especially for the benefit of those who’ve been in Eastleigh this weekend and as a result have missed out…
Lib Dem candidate selected: congrats Mike Thornton!
First, and most important, the Lib Dems have a candidate: Mike Thornton was selected by the Eastleigh local party on Saturday evening.
I am absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Eastleigh. I have lived here… fb.me/1vSwHY7ed
— Mike Thornton (@Mike4Eastleigh) February 9, 2013
You can read about him and his policy priorities here.
The Tories also have a candidate, Maria Hutchings, who’s had a bumpy start to her campaign as a result of past remarks such as, “I don’t care about refugees”, covered in the New Statesman here. As a result, as Mark Pack reported here, she’s now being assiduously ‘minded’ by Tory HQ.
The Labour party — which has been at surprisingly public pains to write off its chances — has yet to select a candidate, though satirist John O’Farrell is in the frame. John is the author of one of my favourite politics books, Things Can Only Get Better, and is bound to add a bit of celebrity sparkle to the party’s campaign. If he does get the nomination it’ll be interesting to see how voters respond to a parachuted-in candidate: it’s no coincidence the Lib Dems and Tories have both gone for more local names.
Polls show it’s officially neck-and-neck!
We now have two published polls.
First out of the blocks was Lord Ashcroft’s, showing the Tories very narrowly in front of the Lib Dems (not numerically, but because Tory supporters said they were more likely to show up to vote).
The second poll, from Survation, was published yesterday, and showed the Lib Dems narrowly ahead, 36% to 33%.
The obvious point both polls demonstrate is this: it’s neck-and-neck between the Lib Dems and Tories, and victory will hinge on whichever party is best able to motivate those supporters to get out and vote on Thursday 28th February.
A round-up of the Eastleigh media coverage
Here’s some of the weekend news coverage:
The key to the Eastleigh byelection is forget Chris Huhne and think of Crewe (Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian)
How Chris Huhne’s family break-up divides Eastleigh (Elizabeth Day, Observer)
Eastleigh by-election: Tories say there will be no negative campaigning (Peter Dominiczak, Telegraph)
Eastleigh byelection: voters will look beyond Chris Huhne, says Nick Clegg (Nicholas Watt, Guardian)
Labour’s Eastleigh by-election fight (Isabel Hardman, Spectator)
It is too early for Labour to write off its chances in Eastleigh (Andrew Rawnsley, Observer)
Defection mars Lib Dems’ fight for Eastleigh (Brian Brady, Independent)
By-Election: Party Leaders To Join Campaign (Sky News)
* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.