Friday, 9 June 2017

The bad news: Soubry hangs on with a little help from Labour. The good news: Labour now has a government in waiting if it chooses not to be an opposition.

As I feared, softly softly did it for Anna Soubry and for that she is to be admired and congratulated. She was keeping her powder dry, just in case it led to a call today from Theresa May.

On BBC-TV's election coverage in the early hours of this morning she looked tired and shell shocked, not, I suspect by the fact that she survived Labour's onslaught in Broxtowe, but by what had happened across the UK. Seeing the game was up for Theresa May, she emerged from the shell she had made for herself and said '(Theresa May) should consider her position'. When asked by Dimbleby about her reduced majority she pointed out that she had got elected in 2010 on a smaller majority.

Anna Soubry in her eve of poll email listed '10 pledges', 9 and 10 being:

I will continue to campaign in Broxtowe and in Parliament for a fairer society based on tolerance, openness, free speech and democracy.

I accept and will continue to honour the EU Referendum result. We are leaving the EU and must now get a good deal. I will continue to make the case for the positive benefits of immigration and the single market.

Personally, I don't doubt her commitment to these things and I suspect her decision to stay away from public debates was to protect herself from saying things she might later regret, since the general thinking at the beginning of the campaign was that the result was going to be a landslide for Theresa May. In the event the election I described as 'madness' for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour turned out to be madness for May. The result nationally is as a good as a victory, if not better, given the fact that I cannot imagine another general election now until after Brexit in 2019. But I digress, I want to stay with Broxtowe for the moment. Here is an updated version of my Broxtowe constituency general election results summary 2001–2017 (click on table to enlarge):

Last night Greg Marshall got more votes than any Labour Broxtowe constituency candidate from 2001 to date and only the 2001 percentage turnout for Labour (48.6%) beat Greg's 45.3%. He was just 864 votes from victory. Put another way, had 431 fewer voters pit their cross next to Soubry and 432 more had chosen Greg, he would have won — a margin of less than 2%. Labour's mistake in Broxtowe was as I feared and said in a couple of my posts — it made too much noise and in the process pulled out Conservative voters as well as Labour voters. I hope this lesson will be learned and learned well so that come the next general election Greg can win handsomely. The awful truth is that, as I have also pointed out in recent posts, high turnouts work against Labour and my summary table demonstrates this point.

Nationally, I claimed that the very best Labour could hope for was a hung parliament. I didn't expect Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to achieve this, but I am joyous and proud that they did. The media this morning in all its talk of Theresa May and the Conservatives hanging onto power makes no mention of parliamentary 'pairing', which allows MPs to be absence from Parliament because a Labour MP 'pairs' with a Conservative MP so both can be absent from Parliament at the same time. I hope Corby will tell May there will be no pairing during the course of this parliament with Conservatives and that Labour will only pair with the SNP, Liberals and Caroline Lucas.

I also hope Labour behaves like a government in waiting and not an opposition. Oppose May on nothing, put forward an alternative policy instead and dare the other parties to vote the policy down. 

I heard Corbyn say that if he became PM he would ensure the rights of EU citizens in the UK today. He still can and Anna Soubry will have to support him or break her 10th pledge (see above). Voters will see Labour being positive all the time and the Conservatives as being anti everything. 

My overwhelming wish is that Labour will work with the SNP, Liberal and Green parties to ensure the next UK Parliament is elected by the same PR system as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Abolishing the House of Lords is taken as a given. Personally, I see no need for a second chamber.

Every vote should count and that is still not the case. This is an injustice we should not lose sight of in the heady days ahead as Labour Party members come to terms with what, by any measure, is a stunning victory for Labour.

I will return to the national result in a weekend post, having watched the rest of Nottinghamshire, Stoke South (which we lost), Hastings (which Amber Rudd held by a whisker), Greenwich, Birmingham and the Black Country closely, all places in which I have some kind of interest.

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