This summer has been full of political drama in the form of by-elections and whilst the Tories held on surprisingly in Uxbridge & South Ruislip, things were not as rosy in Selby & Ainsty, along with Somerton & Frome. Next up is potentially Tamworth, where the sitting MP is facing a recall petition…
Chris Pincher has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct for the past six years and now his constituents look likely to get the chance to say whether he should face a by-election later in the year.
This is due to the House of Commons Committee on Standards recommending that he serve an eight-week suspension from the house, which would automatically trigger a recall petition and should 10% of voters in Tamworth say he is unfit, then he’ll be removed and a by-election called. Parliament still has to vote on this recommendation to set these wheels in motion but that is expected to be straightforward.
The question is should this happen then would it lead to yet another devastating defeat for the current party of power? A majority of 19,634 would be a huge one to overhaul but as we’ve seen in recent months, those types of numbers are not remotely safe with 20,000+ Tory majorities going down five times in this parliament alone, four times to the Lib Dems and once to Labour.
In this current climate, any by-election for a seat held by the Conservative Party would be iffy at best – and that includes as ultra-safe a seat as you could find. As we saw in Uxbridge & South Ruislip however, a cleverly coordinated campaign can still reap its rewards. The small issue however is that the ULEZ style hyper-local issue doesn’t exactly stand out in the Staffordshire constituency.
This leads us to which party would be best placed to take the seat from the Tories? Well, Labour have been installed as the 1/5 favourites for this by-election should it indeed be called (which many expect) and will give Sir Keir Starmer yet another opportunity to show that he has the ability to go into Conservative strongholds and turn them red.
Any Conservative candidate is priced up as 3/1 with the Lib Dems at 25s. Both the Green Party and Reform UK are available to back at 100/1.
With no date scheduled even for the vote on his suspension confirmed as of the time of writing, this by-election potentially could still be a fair while away but if it happens, it will be another big test for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.