When it comes to by-elections, past results are the things that matter least in judging success; it is all about immediate political context and ex
When it comes to by-elections, past results are the things that matter least in judging success; it is all about immediate political context and expectation management. In the case of the two by-elections today in Red Wall Wakefield and traditional Tory Tiverton, Labour and the Lib Dems have set expectations for a double humiliating defeat for Mr Johnson and the Conservatives.
And why should the Tories even hope of having the faintest whiff of victory in either of the by-elections even though both seats were won by them in the 2019 election?
Wakefield will be a Labour seat when it is announced some point in the early hours this morning.
It was a Labour seat from 1931 until the blue wave of new Tory MPs engulfed the Red Wall of previously safe heartland seats in 2019.
The Conservative MP elected Imran Khan was convicted for sexually abusing a minor and fighting his case took him out of political action for 18 months.
If you add this to all the controversy over Partygate, the national angst over cost of living with energy prices and food costs souring, wages losing value, strikes and a real period of discontent then the Conservatives have no chance.
It is always worth remembering that midterm blues for Government make any seat difficult to retain let alone win.
But word coming out as people go to the polls is that the Conservatives could be declared the winner tomorrow morning.
It would be astonishing given the relentless negative publicity the Prime Minister has suffered in recent months.
And his visit to the seat could prove to be fortuitous.
Early in the week many Conservative rebels were suggesting that his trip to Rwanda while the by-elections were going on had parallels with Margaret Thatcher’s trip to Paris in 1990 to celebrate the end of the Cold War.
When she came back she found she had been ousted as party leader and Prime Minister.
Bt a Tiverton vitory will put behind the recent vote of confidence in Boris, which he won even though 41 percent of him MPs voted against him.
It will make talk of a new vote of confidence in 12 months or changing the rules to have one earlier look silly.
Most important a victory in Tiverton is a blow to the Rejoiner alliance.
The Lib Dems need to win the seat to prove they can sweep Tory heartland – knock down the Blue Wall.
Labour have an unofficial pact with them to give the Lib Dems a free run there while the Lib Dems did the same for Labour in Wakefield.
One polling expert suggested that a Rejoiner alliance can get an extra 20 percent if Labour and the Lib Dems work together with an aim of being in Government together and returning the UK to the EU in stages.
Winning in Devon shows that Boris Johnson is still the man to beat the Rejoiner Alliance and ensure Brexit is embedded.
Some will try to paint a narrow victory as a defeat still but the truth is that it will be a big win for the embattled Prime Minister.