Labour troubles in Stoke

The BBC reports:

The Labour Party secretary in Stoke-on-Trent has said he is going to stand as an independent candidate in the forthcoming general election.

Gary Elsby said he would stand against his party in protest at the selection of television historian Tristram Hunt as the city’s Labour candidate.

Mr Elsby said it was also a protest that there were no local names on the party’s nominations list.

You can read the full story here.

Meanwhile happier news from the Liberal Democrat camp, where I hear that efforts to stand a much larger number of local election candidates than we’ve managed for quite some time are going well. That’s particularly welcome given the efforts the BNP are making in Stoke and how the absence of proper competition between the main parties can create a vacuum for the BNP to fill.

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  • My prediction is that Hunt will “win” with a plurality of votes. The other candidates will all get significant levels of support but can’t summon up as many as Labour.

    Elsby has got a few supporters but doesn’t generally achieve a great deal in electoral contests: he, for example, lost to the BNP in the last city council election he fought (in the ward my mum lives in, oddly enough). The chances of him beting Hunt are slim.

    The Tory candidate, whom you may recall, Norsheen Bhatti, doesn’t seem to be going any further than any Tory ever has in this area & is a deeply unlikely prospect. I don’t see any Lib Dem penetration. The right-whingers are split by Albert Walker (popular local councillor) standing against the BNP’s official candidate. They will more or less cancel each other out, & with a National Front candidate as well that section of society is extremely unlikely to get anyone elected.

    Then, assuming that the usual independent no-hopers are see off, I foresee a “win” for Hunt on a low share of the vote. I can’t see it going otherwise. Now you may be aware that there are two other seats in the city, neither of which have got half as much attention as Stoke Central, because they’re not worth paying attention to owing to being safe Labour seats.

    I am more interested in what happens in Staffordshire Moorlands- a constituency I often visit & pass through, which I gather has become much more affluent after boundary changes. The new constituency has a nominal Tory majority. There are a few small industrial towns in the area that are Labour (& have taken an especially hard knock in the recession) but rural & suburban Tories should outpoll them.

    All the above may be wrong but I’d be stunned if there was anything other than Labour clinging on & a city-wide revival for the party if there is a Camoron government as they can present themselves as the main opposition force, just like they did in the 80s.

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