Tory voters switching to Reform cost the Conservatives the by-election seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth, data suggest, as the amount of votes picked up by Richard Tice’s centre-Right party was bigger than the Labour majority in either constituency. The Telegraph has the story.
This means that if Reform voters had either stayed at home or chosen to back the Tories, Labour could have been denied one or both of its victories.
Reform won 1,373 votes (5.4%) in Tamworth and 1,487 (3.7%) in Mid Bedfordshire, while the Labour majorities in the two seats were 1,316 and 1,192 respectively.
In a post on Twitter, Mr. Tice, wrote: “Twice in the same night have Reform ensured [that the] Tories lost their seat with this by-election result.
“This despite a huge squeeze – pressure from Tories to voters, saying ‘do not vote Reform’.”
On Thursday, the Conservatives released a Facebook advert targeted at Tamworth residents which read: “Reform can’t win. Every vote for them makes a Labour victory more likely.”
Luke Tryl, the U.K. Director of the More In Common think tank, said: “The Tories will have a new worry after tonight – the emergence of a split on the Right, which saw the Reform U.K. vote larger than the Labour majority in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire.
“It suggests that Rishi Sunak may now be losing support on two fronts – on the Left to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and on the Right to Reform U.K.
“Expect to see more hand wringing on splits on the Right in the weeks to come.”
It came as turnout plummeted in both by-elections, with 40,720 votes cast in Mid Bedfordshire, down by 29.6% on the 2019 general election, while 25,586 ballots in Tamworth represented a decrease of 28.4%.
Senior Tory figures were quick to note that many of their own voters had appeared to stay at home, as Labour actually increased its share of the vote in Tamworth, from 10,908 to 11,719.
Lord Hayward, a Tory peer and election expert, told the Telegraph: “They’ve not voted for the Government, but turnout is down and down markedly. My assessment would be that normally a by-election is viewed as a protest vote. In this case, it’s a protest ‘non-vote’.
“They’re just sitting on their hands. There’s no question, it’s a very good result for Labour. In Tamworth there was always the latent Labour support, but it’s non-voters that win the day, basically.
“Under these circumstances, people are not voting, or if they do vote, they are voting against the Government because of the events of the last two years – exhaustion with the saga of 2020, 2021 and 2022. So what you have to do is prove you’re competent, and hope that works.”
Worth reading in full.
Could it be that voters are sick of a not-so-Conservative Party that pushes forward with ruinous policies like Net Zero, brings in endless illiberal measures like the Online Safety Bill, has failed utterly to stop illegal immigration while legal migration has hit record levels, shows no sign of being able to control public spending or manage the public finances having massively over-reacted to a flu-like virus, gives no indication of opposing the creeping global health totalitarianism represented by the WHO’s new pandemic treaty and has never seen a pleasure it didn’t want to ban or a liberty it didn’t want to curtail for ‘safety’ reasons?
Is it any wonder voters who care about freedom and the future of the country are looking elsewhere?