This is not only a bad result for the Conservative Party and Rishi Sunak, but also a disaster. The Tory vote share in the City of Chester by-election fell to just 22.4%.
Conservative MPs in the “red wall” seats in the north of England will be even more disappointed in their prospects in the next general election after this crushing defeat.
The fluctuated 13.8% from Conservative to Labor is the Conservative Party’s sixth worst by-election performance in its war with Labor since 1945.
It was also the worst result for the Conservatives in Chester since 1832. A thought for the unlucky Conservative candidate Liz Wardlaw, who saw the leap of faith. Labor’s majority went from just over 6,000 to nearly 11,000.
Hence a bad start for Mr Sunak in his first by-election as Prime Minister, although to be fair it would be difficult to blame him personally for the disaster.
For Labor, however, Christmas has come early, with 61.2% of the vote much higher than the 49.6% rate polled by Christian Matheson who has now fallen out of favor at the general election this year. 2019.
Let’s not forget why this by-election is so controversial: Mr Matheson was found guilty of aggravated sexual misconduct against a junior member of his staff and is facing legal action against him. faces a four-week suspension in the House of Commons when he resigns.
It should have been a present for the Tories. But it seems to have had very little impact. The new MP, Samantha Dixon, has campaigned on the cost of living crisis, improving bus service and addressing the discharge of sewage into the Dee River that flows through the city.
The shift to Labor is well below the 17% suggested by national opinion polls. But the party only needs to swing 12% to win the general election.
With another by-election due in two weeks, in the Safe Labor seat in Stretford and Urmston and another New Year’s election in West Lancashire after Labor MP Rosie Cooper resigned this week , Labor will consider increasing its share of the vote and pushing the Tories’ down.
The ruling parties have always treated by-election defeats as a midterm protest vote. But this fall in the Chester Tory vote bodes ill for the Conservatives in the next election.
Speaking to Sky News after her win, Ms Dixon declared the result a “resounding mission”. THAT’S RIGHT.
Moments earlier, in her victory speech, she said that the Conservative government was “having its time”. Unless the Conservative Party can make a spectacular recovery next year, that may well be true.