Batley and Spen By-Election Result and Analysis

Batley and Spen has returned a Labour candidate in the recent by-election. This by-election was unique in the sense that the Conservatives, UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party all stood down due to the death of Jo Cox, the previous MP. They did not have to stand down, but they did so voluntarily.

Labour won with 86% of the vote. Every other candidate got less than 5% of the vote so they all lost their £500 deposit. Whether those parties would have performed better if they had fielded an "anti-Labour" unity candidate we will never know.

The full result and an analysis follows:

Batley and Spen By-Election Result

Labour, Tracy Brabin, 17,506 (85.8%)
English Democrats, Therese Hirst, 969 (4.8%)
BNP, David Furness, 548 (2.7%)
Independent, Garry Kitchin, 517 (2.5%)
English Independence, Corbyn Anti, 241 (1.2%)
Liberty GB, Jack Buckby, 220 (1.1%)
Independent, Henry Mayhew, 153 (0.8%)
Independent, Waqas Ali Khan, 118 (0.6%)
National Front, Richard Edmonds, 87 (0.4%)
One Love Party, Ankit Love, 34 (0.2%)

Majority: 16,537 (81.0%)
Turnout: 20,393 (25.8%).

Low Turnout

Notice that the turnout was very low. One explanation is that Conservative, UKIP, Liberal Democrat and Green Party voters stayed at home because they did not like any of the candidates or they thought Labour was sure to win.

Still Marginal

Labour should not be complacent about holding this seat at the next general election as by-elections often produce strange results. The fact of the matter is that next time a Conservative candidate will be standing and, under the current boundaries, they only need a 6% swing to defeat Labour.

Comparison to the Haltemprice and Howden By-election

The Batley and Spen by-election is comparable to the Haltemprice and Howden by-election which was held in 2008 when David Davis (the current Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) stood down so that he could stand again and raise awareness of what he perceived as the erosion of civil liberties.

1. Like in Batley and Spen, the main parties stood aside. Labour stood down and called the by-election a publicity stunt. The Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the BNP and others also stood down because they supported David Davis on the issue.

2. Like in Batley and Spen, the winning candidate got a large share of the vote (72%).

3. Like in Batley and Spen, the other parties came practically nowhere. (The Green Party and the English Democrats came second and third respectively with 7% of the vote.)

4. Like in Batley and Spen, the turnout was very low at 34%.
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