Prospects for Eastleigh by-election? – Ian Bone

Re-blogged from Left Unity February 4, 2013

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Bone-By Ian Bone

Former Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, currently Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, will be standing down after pleading guilty to perverting the cause of justice. Ian Bone looks at the possibilities for the right wing party UKIP in the forthcoming by-election.

The Eastleigh by-election will give UKIP the long awaited opportunity to win a parliamentary seat. The Tories and Lib Dems have been neck and neck for years with Labour nowhere. The Lib Dem vote will colllapse and give UKIP their opportunity – they have been working hard on the seat for months. Much will depend on whether Falange can resist the temptation to displace the UKIP candidate and stand himself.

Though parts of the constituency are villages like Hamble full of yachting types Eastleigh itself has had a solid working class base round its railway industries. My dad was for years chairman of the Labour Party in the adjoining Petersfield constituency and used to think a night drinking in one of Eastleigh’s working men’s clubs was Labour heaven compared to Petersfield.

I doubt those Old Labour stalwarts will vote Miliband this time. Indeed in the absence of any Left alternative I expect some…maybe many…will vote UKIP out of exasperation with everything else. Can we offer anything better?

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