Posts Tagged ‘Leicester South by-election’

Come and help Leicester South deliver Britain’s verdict on Cameron and Clegg

25/04/2011, 07:51:20 AM

By Jon Ashworth

With the working-class council estates of Eyres Monsell and Saffron Lane, diverse communities closer to the city centre, traditionally Tory wards on the outskirts and liberal-leaning voters in the areas around the university, Leicester South really is a microcosm of Britain.

Its politics have mirrored the country’s, too. The seat has changed hands no fewer than five times since the seventies. It’s been represented by MPs from all three major parties over the last twenty years with the Lib Dems winning the 2004 by-election.

And when it goes to the polls in the by-election on 5 May it will have the opportunity to speak for Britain again.

The decision by Sir Peter Soulsby, the area’s respected and hard-working MP for the last six years, to stand down to contest the election for the city’s first directly elected Mayor has given local voters the chance to cast the nation’s verdict on a raft of the Conservative-led government’s unpopular policies.

Over the last two weeks, both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have traveled to Leicester and stood on the very spot outside De Montfort University at which Nick Clegg chose to pledge his opposition to tuition fees.

“It was here a year ago that he made his promise he would be the voice of young people,” the Labour leader told a crowd of young people inside. “The full gravity of the betrayal has today become clearer. Today we learn that 70% of universities are going to charge £9,000 tuition fees”.


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A postcard from the Leicester South by-election

11/04/2011, 03:30:39 PM

By Michael Dugher

Last week Ed Balls launched Labour’s by-election campaign in Leicester South. He did so from the same spot at De Montfort university where Nick Clegg, a year ago during the general election, restated his opposition to tuition fees and said that the Lib Dems had “real momentum…particularly with young voters”.  He went onto pose the question: “Who do you trust to deliver the change and fairness you want”?  If a week is a long time in politics, the last year feels like an eternity.

The Leicester South by-election was caused by the resignation of the sitting Labour MP, the respected and popular Sir Peter Soulsby, who will contest the first ever mayoral election in Leicester. For the small but dedicated group of Labour staff, this will be their third by-election in less than six months. Some of the hard-working organisers have barely had enough time to wash their smalls since leaving Barnsley.

But Barnsley Central is a very different type of constituency to Leicester South.  Barnsley Central is a traditional Labour heartland seat, a stronghold that Labour has held without interruption since the inter-war years.

Leicester South, on the other hand, is a city seat that has changed hands on a number of significant occasions. In February 1974, the Conservatives won the seat with a 1,700 majority. Eight months later, Labour took it back with a 1,300 majority. When the Tories were riding high under Mrs Thatcher in 1983, Leicester South again narrowly elected a Conservative MP, with a majority of seven. Despite big majorities for Labour in the 1990s and in 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war in 2004, Leicester South was the scene of a major by-election win for the Lib Dems, as they took the seat with a majority of over 1,600. At the subsequent general election in 2005, Labour regained the constituency with a majority of more than three thousand. (more…)

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