Crewe and Nantwich result

Conservative 20,539 (49.5%, +16.9%)
Labour 12,679 (30.6%, -18.2%)
Liberal Democrat 6,040 (14.6%, -4.0%)
UKIP 922 (2.2%)
Green 359 (0.9%)
English Democrats 275 (0.7%)
Monster Raving Loony Party 236 (0.6%)
Mark Walklake 217 (0.5%)
Cut Tax on Petrol and Diesel 118 (0.3%)
Gemma Garrett 113 (0.3%)

Conservative majority 7,860 (18.9%)

17.6% swing Labour to Conservative
7.1% swing Labour to Liberal Democrats

UPDATE: You can watch Elizabeth’s thank you message in the video box on the right.

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • Oo, oo, a 7.1% swing to the Liberals…. on a vote share down by 4%.



  • Iain Roberts 23rd May '08 - 7:13am

    Congratulations to the Tories for their first by-election gain since Mrs Thatcher was popular and well done to the Lib Dem team for stopping the squeeze being too big in an election where the “give the government a bloody nose” vote was always going to the Tories.

  • “getting a swing from Labour”

    Oh, you poor delusional souls. Time for your medicine, I think.

    Swing measures a clear shift of voters from one party to another. By no measure can one see the LDs having done well here. You have clearly suffered as your vote has leaked to the other minor parties.

  • Iain Roberts 23rd May '08 - 8:19am

    Eagles Man: I agree that talking about a swing to the Lib Dems is a little pointless when the Lib Dem vote fell.

    But the reality of C&N is simple: we’ve a very unpopular Labour government and people voted for the party best placed to give Gordon Brown a kicking.

    I’ve no doubt at all that, had the Lib Dem and Conservative positions from 2005 been reversed, this would have been a Lib Dem victory with the Tory vote probably squeezed more than the Lib Dem vote was this time round.

  • When the Conservatives were losing byelections by even bigger margins (remember David Rendel’s 66% in Newbury?) they dismissed these results as protest votes and insisted they would win the seats back at the next General Election.

    So what is all the excitement about?

  • Sorry folks, but this is a poor result. No excuses please. I thought we were winning in the Midlands and the North now? And didn’t we ditch the local candidate there – for what, exactly!?

  • PW,

    I am perfectly aware of how a swing is calculated – my point is that it is irrelevant in this context.

    I could subtract the number of pens on my desk from the number of paperclips. It would also be an irrelevant number, even though it’s valid as a calculation.

  • Biodiesal-
    I think it is a bit more complicated than that.
    BTW, Tories adding comments to this site using “we and us” doesn’t fool anyone.

  • Disillusioned 23rd May '08 - 10:02am

    I am not Tory, Labour or LibDem, but having seen the antics of all 3 parties, I think this is a good result for the country. The Tories are far from perfect, but at least you can talk to them without having your words twisted against you – normal behaviour for the LibDems.

  • “I am not Tory”

    What, your membership has just lapsed? Try direct debit.

  • I don’t think it is possible to say anything useful about the Lib Dem performance in this byelection. The party was in third place, was not expected to do well, and suffered a moderate squeeze. So what?

    The real test is Henley.

  • Tories are wetting themselves, but would you please not do it on this site.

  • Mark from Wallingford 23rd May '08 - 10:43am

    A poor night for the LibDems, reflecting a badly run campaign (starting with bringing in the new candidate). The Tories had a massive ground campaign in Crewe in particular, with levels of energy in the activists not seen for literally decades. The LibDem advantage of using massive manpower to send out targeted leaflets has now been lost. Pickles is clealry going to be a fearsome opponent for Rennard.

    Oh, and by the way – don’t expect things to improve any in Henley, whenever it is held. There has been a lot of guff talked by people who don’t know the place. The local Conservatives will have the luxury of picking, from the very best, a candidate to follow on in the somewhat wayward steps of Heseltine and Boris. The place is painted a serious shade of blue – and another army of activists will descend to keep it that way.

  • As in Kingston and Surbiton, Mark from Wallingford?

  • Bringing Nick Clegg to Nantwich on a Wednesday afternoon (HALF DAY CLOSING) shows the wisdom of ditching local man for an outsider!!

  • Mark from Wallingford 23rd May '08 - 11:33am

    Jo, the political landscape is now way different from that which delivered the Kingstons and the Surbitons for the LibDems. Gordon’s short grasp on power will mostly be remembered for how he detoxed the Tories. Nick Clegg’s refusal/inability to put the boot into Gordon is not in tune with what people want to hear. In the words of the Randy Newman song “I want you to hurt like I do….”

    How would Henley replacing a Tory MP with a LibDem MP help convey the message to Labour that folks want them gone? Not unless Clegg starts becoming more aggressive than Cameron on the issue. Which is not likely when he uses one of his two “PMQ’s” – those are questions to the Prime Minister note – to attack the Tories. Three is no place for equidistance today.

    There’s only one game in town at the moment – and that is Kick Gordon. If Clegg whole-heartedly embraces that, then people in Henley might listen. They won’t vote for the LibDems, but at least they might file it away for another day. But at the moment, the LibDem card is being marked for all the wrong reasons.

  • Richard Ormerod 23rd May '08 - 11:38am

    Not as good a result for the Tories as some people are suggesting. Crewe & Nantwich was never the northern Labour heartland that commentators have made it out to be. Labour’s majority was only 1000 in 1987 and 2600 in 1992. But for Gwyneth Dunwoody’s personal vote the Tories would have won it before now.

  • I agree with Mark. The Tories have truly trounced us here in Tunbridge Wells, and have copied all our old campaigning techniques – GPs surgeries, post office clousres, potholes and pavements etc. They are now even outleafletting us in our target wards. It’s time for some fresh thinking.

  • It was definately a bad night for the Libdems. losing nearly a quarter of your vote share in a labour held by-election is nothing to cheer. The tory rsult can’t really be so easily dismissed either. The turnout was nearly as high as at the general election, so there had to have been some enthusiasm. Shame really as it pretty much cements Cameron’s position

  • “Tory Srategy for Henley
    1) Tax cuts for dead millionnaires”

    That’s enough to win Henley. If you don’t know why, then you haven’t been to Henley.

  • It’s not a good result for the Lib dems and it is more than a bit silly to pretend otherwise – indeed it shows an unwillingness to face up political reality.

    The next big thing that will happen in british politics is not the Henley by-election but the defenestration of Gordon Brown.

    That will happen because without it the country is going to the Tories by default.

    And the battle at the next election will not be to get labour out but to stop the Tories winning a massive majority – saying “me too” to Cameron is the short road to Lib Dem annilihation.

  • “The place is painted a serious shade of blue – and another army of activists will descend to keep it that way.”

    Wasn’t Bromley the same?

  • #1 – 7% to LibDems, 10% away from LibDems

    On pure numbers that would give the tories a 200 majority as we slip from 63 to 55 at a general election.

  • Sorry, Julian, that link is just simply pathetic. Probably posted by a posh public schoolboy from Class War…By the way, my father was a working-class Conservative shoe-repairer…

  • Indeed – can we give up on the class warefare please? The Labour campaign was so utterly hypocritical it’s untrue – Tamsin Dunwoody is rich, she’s from a political dynasty and over 200 miles away and I fully expect to see her inherit a fair fortune once her mother’s will is read out as well. The Tory Toff campaign was sickening.

    There are lots of reasons to attack Edward Timpson. He’s a Tory for crying out loud! He joined a party that has no policies, no principles and did all the bad things we like to remember them doing. Who his parents are/were could not matter less. Michael Howard was the son of asylum seekers who took refuge here from persecution and benefited from our open society to become a cabinet minister – it doesn’t stop him being as selfish, arrogant and nasty as the next Conservative.

  • Mark from Wallingford 23rd May '08 - 3:46pm


    “it doesn’t stop him being as selfish, arrogant and nasty as the next Conservative”

    “The next Conservative” being those folks on the Crewe council estates who deserted Labour but didn’t choose the LibDems. Do you really think that language like this helps win the argument? Can you not concede that it perhaps betrays an attitude that underlies why they didn’t vote LibDem? Your tone is as inappropriate as that of the Labour “Toff” campaign – that also resulted in failure. Where’s the dialogue?

  • Ben,
    it doesn’t stop him from being any of the nasty or vacuous things you associate with tories, but neither does it prove any association is reflected in reality.

    We need to be scrupulously honest either to deserve any mandate or to credibly hold others to account.

  • Dabber,

    Why are you so obsessed that a “local man” was “ditched”, and replaced by an “outsider” ??

    Marc Godwin lives in Buxton … Derbyshire. 25 miles from the constituency. He was replaced (following the party’s rules for by-elections) by Elizabeth Shenton who lives in Newcastle … Staffordshire. 10 miles from the constituency.

    Try following the facts.

  • Unfortunately, New Labour and the Tories (Blue Labour) are singing off exactly the same hymn-sheet. No change there then–

  • And finally... 23rd May '08 - 9:31pm

    You missed out 10.5% swing from LibDem to Conservative.

    You see, that’s the problem when you selectively use swing figures for your own advantage.

    If you had just used the two parties who topped the poll no-one would have bothered mentioning how highlighting just one of the LibDem swing figures looks like clutching at straws.

    The other factor you have to consider is how much of the 2008 LibDem vote is made up of the 2005 LibDem vote.

    If it is a case of a large section of the ’05 LibDem vote going to the Tories and the ’08 LibDem vote being given some ballast from defecting Labour voters who wanted to make a protest then a bigger problem may be on the horizon. It’s more than probable that in a general election the LibDems that went Tory last night do so again but the Labour voters that went LibDem return to Labour.

    Result? A disastrous squeeze..

  • A byelection none of the Tories trolling in this thread has mentioned is Romsey. And why is that? Is it because their party has failed to win the seat back? Well, that is a possibility. But there is a deeper reason, and one that fills them with dread.

    The Lib Dems won Romsey from the Conservatives during a Labour government. Sandra Gidley’s victory cannot be put down to a protest vote, because the Tories were in opposition. It was a positive vote for the Lib Dems which has endured.

    Henley is closely analogous. It is a Tory seat where the Lib Dems are a fairly distant challenger, but where there is potential. Johnson overperformed in 2005, giving a false appearance of invincibility. Much of the constituency is comprised of small, socially mixed towns with a fair bit of new housing. The town of Henley is one small part of it, and not all of that is “posh”.

    Cameron has the effrontery to claim that his party is “green”. Well, perhaps we will shortly be reminding Henley voters that it was a Tory government that tried to relax the Green Belt to make way for commuter towns outside Oxford. And it was a Tory government that tried to build the M40 across Ot Moor. Given half a chance, Cameron would let his big business friends do the same and worse.

  • The initial Crewe and N’wich post contained some on the following quotes:

    …”Bear in mind that ICM survey was conducted May 7 and 8 (Wednesday and Thursday) – and I don’t think we started putting literature out in any great volumes until this weekend.

    Yes, as a baseline it’s rubbish – but we’ve started with worse and won before!

    I’d expect us to be doing a lot better than this by polling day. That Labour % still has a long way to fall, believe me!”

    …”Interesting result as a baseline – not sure taht its as good for the Tories as they hoped. Expect all of those votes are very soft and all to play for – looks like a three way fight to me.”


    “Local” polls are notoriously unreliable – so I shouldn’t get too hung up about this one.

    I might just as well point you to a poll on the blog, which has us in … er … the lead!

    Or some anecdotal feedback from Tory phone canvassing which (allegedly) has us a close second, with Labour third!”

    … “I disagree about “Compasionate Conservatism”; the Tories simply don’t have any policies at all, let alone any that support this.

    For the right or the wrong reasons, I think you’re over-egging the pudding about the Conservative’s theme and our apparent lack”

    Seriously folks it is time to put an END to this misplaced optimism and start taking the Tory revival for the serious risk to us that it our vote. Particularly Cameron’s message of “liberal, compassionate Conservatism”. There was a time when a majority of people who voted Labour at the last three general elections would never have considered voting Conservative but Cameron is articulating Liberal themes more effectively than we are and is luring a vote that instead of naturally going to the Lib Dems is passing by us to the Tories.

    Enough of finding comfort and rays of light in bad defeats and more creating a well defined “Liberal” narrative for today’s political landscape. If we’re going to lure Labour (and Conservative) voters at the next general election we must have a clear purpose. To limply protest that “we’re Liberals” and fight plucky local campaigns is not going to wash at the next election.

  • @Sesenco. If stories about the last Tory Government are going in Lib leaflets I imagine Eric Pickles will be rubbing his hands in glee.

    Perhaps the Tory leaflets should lay into the so-called People’s Budget?

    Interest in what Thatcher did is declining, and sharp. As the party has moved on, it becomes irrelevant. It’s as desperate as Tories still talking about the Winter of Discontent in 1997.

  • Grammar Police 24th May '08 - 7:37pm

    It was me who said:

    “I disagree about “Compasionate Conservatism”; the Tories simply don’t have any policies at all, let alone any that support this.”

    It is a fact that the Conservatives don’t really have any policies. People voted in this by-election *despite* the Conservatives’ policy-free zone.

    People want to kick Labour, and after 11 years people are starting to forget how much they hated the Tories.

    Whilst I’m sure it’s part of Cameron’s cunning plan, I don’t think the Tories can pull off a compassionate Conservative narrative without any policies. And I don’t think people voted Tory this time because they believed in compassionate Conservatism.

  • Anonymous, presumably you take Tory posturing on the environment at face value? Cameron’s “vote blue, get green” nonsense, in case I have to remind anyone, is nothing more than a gimmick to win over wavering middle-class voters in small towns and villages. The Conservative Party is, always has been and always will be the political instrument of the rich and privileged. If Cameron’s puppet-masters in the construction industry tell him they want commuter towns on the M40, that is what Cameron will give them. He doesn’t give a monkey’s for the mugs who vote for him – only for the plutocrats who hire him.

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