Speedy by-election planned to keep UKIP at bay

If you’re reading this after 10am today and were hoping to stand for the Labour nomination for the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election, caused by the tragic death of Paul Goggins, then hard lines.

This is the deadline imposed by the party as it moves swiftly to get a candidate in place before a by-election is called, probably for February 13. A panel of the National Executive Committee meets this Wednesday to whittle down applications before a hustings meeting in Wythenshawe on Friday night.

With some bookies quoting UKIP’s chances of winning the seat as 4-1, Labour is taking no chances. It needs to stop Nigel Farage gaining traction on the ground while ensuring it gets fickle Labour voters to turn out in what is predicted to be a cold February.

The Manchester Central by-election in November 2012 achieved the ignominy of managing lowest turnout in a parliamentary by-election since World War Two with just 18 per cent voting. Lucy Powell, the winner of that by-election, is set to manage the party’s campaign.

The Wythenshawe part of the seat is classic inner-city Manchester, containing five of the eight wards that make up the constituency. The remaining three sit in the neighbouring – and decidedly more affluent – borough of Trafford.

The seat contains the Benchill area, which was once assessed to be the most deprived in Europe and the scene of an infamous David Cameron walkabout where a youth made gun gestures at him.

Uncut hears that the battle for the Labour nomination is likely to be a two-horse race between Manchester councillor Rosa Battle and chief executive of Movement for Change, Mike Kane.

Both have local credentials, with Battle, Manchester’s executive member for culture and leisure, finishing third in the selection process for the Manchester Central nomination.

Mike Kane was born and raised in Wythenshawe and formerly worked as a teacher and as a parliamentary aide to James Purnell and Jonathan Reynolds.

Local sources predict Kane should edge it, with one party member praising his “great back story as a local lad,” while his community organising skills should come in handy pressing the flesh this week.

However there is expected to be no shortage of potential candidates to keep the NEC panel busy. Cheshire councillor Steve Carter, a former parliamentary candidate for Macclesfield is another hopeful.

Paul Goggins had a majority of 7,575 at the 2010 General Election.

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13 Responses to “Speedy by-election planned to keep UKIP at bay”

  1. swatantra says:

    UKIP have no chance in Man Central.

  2. Tafia says:

    Wythenshawe and Sale East is not central Manchester Swat.

    This should be quite an interesting by-Election. Labour’s vote in this seat has consistantly fallen since 1997 and UKIP view traditional northern Labour voters as open to their message:=

    1997 26,448 58%
    2001 21,032 60%
    2005 18,878 52%
    2010 17,987 44%

    Over the same period the Conservative vote has largely flatlined whereas the LibDem vote has near-on doubled.

    UKIP have been very active in this sort of area and think that the traditional working class Labour vote is ‘soft’ and that the modern version of Labour is not particularly popular in the north.

    I reckon Labour will hold it on a greatly reduced majority but UKIP will probably take second place and Labour will be somewhat red-faced as to the amount of their vote that deserts to UKIP.

  3. bob says:

    Unfortunately, it’s Wythenshawe and Sale East.

  4. Stephen Hildon says:

    “The Wythenshawe part of the seat is classic inner-city Manchester”

    Not really inner as such as it is many miles from the centre of Manchester. It is mainly a large overspill estate built between the 1920s and 1970s.

    But it is very Labour with the party holding 14 of the 15 councillors.

  5. steve says:

    Tafia: “Labour’s vote in this seat has consistantly fallen since 1997”

    That conforms to the national trend. The Labour vote diminished at every election subsequent to ’97.

    The Blair bite didn’t live up to the Blair bark. Or, alternatively, one might say: once bitten twice shy.

  6. Rallan says:

    Hmmm. Just before a Labour heartlands election in which Labours anti UKIP strategy is to focus on Farages support for Thatcher, and suddenly there’s an agressive mod attacking him and chanting “Thatcher loving, hate stirring, stomach churning.”.

    And this happens in Kent, where support for UKIP is very strong and such Left wing mobs are very rare.


  7. David Walsh says:

    Is Rosa Battle any relative of the late John Battle ? If so, she goes up a few notches for me

  8. QuinQue says:

    Alot of people and especially polling organisations are going to get a very big shock over the next 5 months. Labour dodged a very big bullet last year because the Metropolitan district councils were not electing, this year they are, and everybody I know is planning to voice their displeasure about the handling of the cuts by not voting Labour. This is going to be especially evident in Sheffield where the Don Valley debacle combined with historical Tory hatred and the downward spiral of the Lib Dems has left people unhappy about voting for any of the main parties.

    We have also seen several polls stating that Labour will be down to the wire for the win at the EU elections, this is quite frankly impossible, even at the peak of Labour popularity the party hasn’t managed better than second since the adoption of the Party list method, in ’09 they were 3rd and falling and with the “No, Nay,Never!” stance on a referendum on EU membership the idea of a double digit swing back to Labour on the single issue of Europe is laughable.

    By the summer we will have a good idea of the electoral playing field, and a big rethink is going to be required by everyone.

  9. Ex-Labour says:

    As the title implies the Labour party dont want to give UKIP the opportunity to stage a fight. I think the horse has bolted on that one I’m afraid.

    UKIP are not just a threat to the Tories. The low earning Labour voter has been swayed by UKIP based on my own anecdotal evidence. Labours failure to have any meaningful direction, let alone real policy on immigration is a major factor.

    For years labour’s open door policy has left low skilled, low earning working people at the mercy of the eastern europeans who are happy to undercut the UK worker.

    What goes around comes around so they say and Labour may lose because their previous action has put their own core vote at risk.

  10. Tafia says:

    @QuinQue – I am a workplace union rep and of my membership that vote in the europeans, they nearly all vote either Labour or Plaid. Virtually none intend to vote Labour this time with a few going to Plaid but worryingly the vast bulk deserting to UKIP. Again, a lot of the people that don’t usually bother voting are also intending to vote UKIP.

    There are a lot of angry people out there and they aren’t interested in talk anymore – they want action. And frankly I don’t blame them. Lidls is a better and more credible option than any of the ‘big three’ at the moment

  11. Stephen Hildon says:

    Rosa Battle is the daughter of Jim Battle who is John Battle’s brother. John Battle is still alive.

  12. QuinQue says:

    Tafia – That is the exact feeling I am seeing across all of Yorkshire, and as if things weren’t already bad enough today we get 50 spurious ammendments from the house of lords to try and kill a bill which wont even bind any Labour goverment, handing a giant “Ed Miliband doesn’t want you to have a say” club to both UKIP and the Tories while Ed Balls still talks down the economy even though the “Double dip” never actually happened, let alone the predicted “triple dip” and growth has come despite a 35% reduction in government borrowing (inflation adjusted).

    No economic credability, on the wrong side of public opinion on Europe, seen as in the pocket of increasingly militant unions, Councils who are thought to be increasing cuts hardship for political gain and all against a background of the unmitigated disaster that was the final years of the last Labour government, does that sound like a formula for success to you?

  13. John reid says:

    Labours vote fell 4 times on the. Trot from 1951-1964 and 4 times on the trot from 1966- Oct 1974″ all be it labours percentage of the vote went up sometimes,due to turnouts,so positing Labours vote fell 4 times on the trot from 1997′ isn’t really that odd,

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