Can UKIP Win in Stoke-on-Trent Central?

Tristram Hunt has today triggered the process needed to resign as the member of parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central.

The Labour Party have announced that the by-election will take place on the 23rd February 2017. The by-election for the Copeland constituency, which was triggered by the resignation of Jamie Reed MP, will take place on the same day.

In his resignation letter to local members Reed urged local voters to back Labour’s candidate, Gillian Troughton, who is a known moderate.

Troughton was chosen over Corbynista Rachel Holliday by party members at the selection meeting last night.

The Bookies have the Tories slight favourites over Labour in Copeland whilst in Stoke Central, Labour are firm favourites over UKIP.

Could these odds be overturned though?

Of course they can.

If anyone thinks Labour are in for an easy ride here they really don’t know how politics in Stoke-on-Trent work.

I was invited to discuss this issue on BBC Radio Stoke this morning on the Perry Spiller programme – I give my take on the upcoming by-election so scroll to 1hr 24mins or listen below:

I think everyone agrees the selection of the right candidate is essential if Labour are to perform to the best of their abilities in the contest.

Their are moves afoot to get ‘certain’ favourites and ‘mates’ to the top of the pecking order. This must be resisted though – Labour are prone to only seeing the inside of their own bubble and not seeing the bigger picture.

If they were bothered about the real issues they would be getting out and talking to the public, listening to their concerns and to their aspirations.

If they do this before the selection meeting they will be told that although the constituency has been Labour since it’s inception – there are a growing number of people, particularly in areas like Abbey Hulton, Bucknall, Bentilee, Holden Lane and Sneyd Green plus others, who are traditionally left leaning but are becoming increasingly nationalist.

They want to ‘control our borders’ and to ‘drastically cut immigration’, they want an end to‘the influx of migrant workers’ they see all this as a ‘drain on the country’s resources’ – I have put these in inverted comma’s because these are the exact phrases used when I was polling the area before the 2015 elections.

There was also the issues of ‘making our own laws’, ‘the sovereignty of parliament’ and of course ‘the end to the EU telling us what we can and can’t do’ – for a remainer, these were difficult things to hear from the area where I was born and raised.

But it convinced me that we would see UKIP representation elected to the local council and that the MP’s majority would be slashed by them.

Turned out I was, alongside others, right on both predictions.

So to summarise – If Labour:

  • turn this into a left v right issue
  • use the by-election as an opportunity to get one of their mates in
  • settle some vendetta against one of their own
  • Spend too much time navel gazing
  • do not prioritise the list of opponents
  • fight a dreary ‘we hate the tories’ type of campaign

Could UKIP win the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election? – Yes, they absolutely can!

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