Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough by-election

Harry Harpham, the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, has died. This means that in the coming months a by-election will be held to fill the vacancy.

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough is generally regarded as a safe Labour seat. In Election 2015 they got 57% of the vote and a majority of some 14,000 over UKIP. At the last election UKIP put in a good performance here, securing 22% of the vote, well above their national average of 13%. The Conservatives came third with 11%, the Liberal Democrats fourth with 5%, the Green Party fifth with 4% and the others came almost nowhere.

The modern Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituency was created for Election 2010 from two constituencies, namely Sheffield Brightside and Sheffield Hillsborough. Labour held both of these seats since Election 1935. Interestingly the Liberal Party nearly won Sheffield Hillsborough in both Election 1983 and Election 1987, but other than that no party has even come close to defeating Labour.

But what will the result look like? Probably a Labour hold. I say probably because by-elections are strange beasts and often give unexpected results. Expect the Conservatives to lose vote share as this would be in line with previous by-elections and is hardly surprising for a governing party. Expect parties other than Labour and UKIP to be squeezed. This would be in line with previous by-elections.

As to when the by-election will be held, that depends entirely on when the writ is moved. I would have thought that Labour would move it as soon as possible to get the by-election out of the way before the elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in May.
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