What on Earth just happened in Sunderland?

What on earth just happened in Sunderland? The Liberal Democrats came from a very poor fourth place to take what had previously been a safe Labour seat on a 40% swing. And this for a pro-remain party in a region that voted 60/40 in favour of Leave. What is going on?

No, you shouldn’t read too much into a single local council by-election, but you can see trends. And it’s looking very, very bad for Labour. Is their strategy of backing a so-called “Hard Brexit” to cut immigration in order to protect their flank against UKIP seeing their pro-remain vote defecting on masse to the Liberal Democrats? Are Labour in the English regions about to go the way of Labour in Scotland?

And today comes the news that Tristram Hunt is leaving Parliament for a more rewarding job elsewhere, forcing a by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central, a constituency that politically looks a lot like Sunderland in many ways.

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2 Responses to What on Earth just happened in Sunderland?

  1. ard sloc says:

    What is going on indeed! I don’t know what programme the lib Dem stood on – he/she might not have mentioned Brexit or even favoured it. But it does show the fluid world we live in.

  2. Not my ward so I don’t know what the campaigning was like on the ground, but it looks like policy wasn’t really a factor, but rather that the incumbent was just crap at her job. This is from the local paper:

    “It should come as little surprise. The previous Labour incumbent, the lesser-spotted Jacqui Gallagher, was officially removed after she failed to attend a single meeting for six months. In the eyes of many, her failure to fight on behalf of the very people who voted her into the council soured voters’ view of the Labour Party.”