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May 11, 2015

UK Independence Party reject leader\’s resignation

UK Independence Party reject leader’s resignation

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Monday, May 11, 2015

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Nigel Farage today reversed his decision to stand down as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after its National Executive Committee (NEC) rejected his resignation. Farage had previously said he would stand down as leader because he did not win the South Thanet seat in last week’s UK general election.

“This offer was unanimously rejected by the NEC members who produced overwhelmingly evidence that the UKIP membership did not want Nigel to go”, UKIP chairman Steve Crowther said in a statement. “The NEC also concluded that UKIP’s general election campaign had been a great success. We have fought a positive campaign with a very good manifesto and despite relentless, negative attacks and an astonishing last minute swing to the Conservatives over fear of the SNP [Scottish National Party], that in these circumstances, 4 million votes was an extraordinary achievement. On that basis Mr Farage withdrew his resignation and will remain leader of UKIP. In addition the NEC recognised that the [in-out EU membership] referendum campaign has already begun this week and we need our best team to fight that campaign led by Nigel.”

Cquote1.svg I realise now that the party comes before me, and indeed, that this country comes before both Cquote2.svg

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Farage said he had been reluctant to continue being party leader but, in the face of evidence presented to him by the NEC, “I breathed deep, and thought for as long as I possibly had, given the meeting was ongoing, and still is, at my time of writing this. I decided that as much as I had earned my holidays. As much as I wanted to spend the summer fishing, walking, and of course, in the European Parliament where all hell is currently breaking loose — that I owed it to the party that got me here. There are some huge battles about to take place, and as much as I had thought that taking at least the summer off was in my best interests, I realise now that the party comes before me, and indeed, that this country comes before both.”

Highlighting some issues UKIP supports, including UK withdrawal from the European Union and electoral reform, Farage said: “I feel the need to stay involved for just a little bit longer, to add my voice to those who want Britain to be a country that trades and deals with the world, rather than ties itself to a post-WWII mind set about Europe and the political union.” In concluding remarks, he wrote: “Have I done the right thing by my party and my country? I think so. And I’m sure many people will have their opinions on the matter. All I can say is that I’m ready for the challenges ahead. The fight starts here.”

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Nigel Farage, 2014.
Image: Diliff.

Farage, who has lead the party since 2010, announced his resignation on Friday, with the recommendation that Suzanne Evans serve as interim leader. “I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders”, he commented at the time. After intending to “take the summer off, enjoy meself a little bit, not do very much politics at all”, Farage said, a UKIP leadership election would happen in September; he would decide whether or not to stand again as leader at a later date. On the same day, Ed Miliband had announced he would stand down as Labour leader, while Nick Clegg said he would resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

UKIP achieved a 12.6% share of the vote at the general election, an increase of 9.5% on their 2010 performance, placing them third behind Labour and Conservatives in terms of popular vote. However, the party gained only one seat out of 650, taken by Douglas Carswell. Farage has claimed these results illustrate how first-past-the-post, the electoral system used in UK general elections, is “bankrupt because one party can get 50% of the vote in Scotland and nearly 100% of the seats, and our party can get 4 million votes and just one seat. […] For those reasons there are a lot of angry UKIP people out there. They’re not giving up on UKIP, but absolutely determined that we get a fairer, more reflective system.”

Farage was once a Conservative Party member but left the party, objecting to the UK’s decision to sign the Maastricht Treaty creating the European Union, and became a founding member of UKIP in 1993. He was elected as an MEP for South East England in 1999 and began his first stint as party leader in 2006. He stood down in 2009 in an attempt to challenge House of Commons Speaker John Bercow in the 2010 general election; after this challenge proved unsuccessful, he was re-elected as party leader.

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May 9, 2015

Conservatives win majority in 2015 UK general election

Conservatives win majority in 2015 UK general election

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

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David Cameron is to continue being Prime Minister of the UK after his Conservative Party won a majority of seats in a general election on Thursday. Although the party led a Coalition government it formed alongside the Liberal Democrats after the previous general election in 2010, this is the first time the party has won an overall majority since 1992.

Cquote1.svg Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people and as a majority government, we will be able to deliver all of it. Indeed, it is the reason why I think majority government is more accountable Cquote2.svg

David Cameron

Across the UK, Conservatives won 331 seats out of the 650 available, an increase of 24 on their 2010 total. The Labour Party, which won 258 seats in 2010, now has 232. The Liberal Democrats experienced the heaviest number of seat losses, dropping from 57 to eight. Amongst the Liberal Democrat figures to lose seats were David Laws, Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes, Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone and Jenny Willott. Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg said while “fear and grievance have won, liberalism has lost”.

Although UKIP and the Greens each only won one seat, their national vote share increased by 9.5% to 12.6% and by 2.8% to 3.8%, respectively; this compares to 7.9% for the Liberal Democrats, 30.4% for Labour and 36.9% for Conservatives. Statistics reported by the BBC suggest the voting turnout was 66.1%, based on an electorate of approximately 46.4 million.

The bulk of Conservative seat increases occurred in England, where their seat total increased by 21 to 319 out of a possible 533. Labour’s seat count here increased by 15 to 206, while the Liberal Democrats dropped from 43 seats to six. The final results defied opinion polls, which had broadly suggested Labour and Conservatives were tied for the lead. An independent inquiry is set to be conducted into opinion polling accuracy in the UK, given they had appeared to underestimate the Conservatives’ success and/or overestimate Labour’s results.

“I truly believe we are on the brink of something special in our country”, David Cameron said in a speech yesterday. “We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing. Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people and as a majority government, we will be able to deliver all of it. Indeed, it is the reason why I think majority government is more accountable.” In highlighting what a Conservative government would set out to achieve, he said it would include “Three million apprenticeships, more help with childcare, helping 30 million people cope with the cost of living by cutting their taxes, building homes that people are able to buy and own, creating millions more jobs that give people the chance of a better future and yes, we will deliver that in-out referendum on our future in Europe.” He went on to talk about new powers the UK Government had and would devolve to regional administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. For the latter, he said, “our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world with important powers over taxation.”

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) made the largest gains of any party in the UK, increasing from six seats to 56 seats out of a possible 59, the highest number they have ever had, based on a Scotland vote share of approximately 50%. The number of constituencies held by Labour and Liberal Democrats there decreased from 41 and 11, respectively, to one for each of them, with the Conservatives staying at one seat. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who said this result had surpassed her expectations, said “the tectonic plates of Scottish politics [have] shifted”. Sturgeon also stated that the SNP would “work with others across the UK, to try to get more progressive politics at the heart of Westminster”. One seat, Glasgow North East, experienced a record swing of 39% from Labour to the SNP. On top of that, 20-year-old student and SNP candidate Mhairi Black became the youngest MP to be elected in the UK since 1667.

In Wales, Conservatives went up from eight to eleven of a possible 40 seats. Labour achieved 25, down one from 2010; the Liberal Democrats went down two to one seat and Plaid Cymru remained at three seats. In Northern Ireland, most of the 18 constituencies did not change hands. However, Sinn Féin went down one to four seats, while the Alliance Party lost their one seat. The Ulster Unionist Party, who did not win any seats in the last general election, won two seats this time.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was one of the high profile losses for Labour, having lost his seat to the Conservatives by a narrow 422-vote margin. Numerous Liberal Democrats who were previously government ministers, including Ed Davey, Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, all lost their seats. In the wake of the results, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage all announced they would resign from their roles as the leaders of Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, respectively. Farage had said he would stand down as leader if he did not win the seat of Thanet South, which he did not, but said yesterday he was considering whether or not to stand in a leadership election for the party later this year. Clegg described the situation for his party as “a very dark hour for our party”. He blamed the large loss of Liberal Democrat MPs on “forces beyond their control”, describing the situation as “simply heartbreaking”. Meanwhile, Miliband said “I have done my best for nearly five years” and that “Britain needs a Labour Party that can rebuild after this defeat”. Harriet Harman — the current deputy leader — is to serve as interim leader until a new Labour leader is selected. Harman also intends to resign the deputy leadership.

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, said he is considering running for Labour deputy leader. “I’ve always thought that the deputy leader role is the campaigning role”, he said. “We’ve got a mayoral election in Tower Hamlets to fight in six weeks’ time. Who knows, we might even have a by-election for London mayor. So this party has got to keep campaigning whilst we try and understand what’s gone on in the general election.”

Meanwhile, Cameron has begun to appoint members of his new cabinet, announcing George Osborne, Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Michael Fallon are to retain their posts as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary, respectively.

David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. Image: Land of Hope and Glory.

David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.
Image: Land of Hope and Glory.

Ed Miliband, outgoing Labour Party leader. Image: Department of Energy.

Ed Miliband, outgoing Labour Party leader.
Image: Department of Energy.

Nick Clegg, outgoing Liberal Democrats leader. Image: World Economic Forum.

Nick Clegg, outgoing Liberal Democrats leader.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Nigel Farage, outgoing UKIP leader. Image: Nigel Farage.

Nigel Farage, outgoing UKIP leader.
Image: Nigel Farage.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party leader and Scottish First Minister. Image: Scottish Government.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party leader and Scottish First Minister.
Image: Scottish Government.



Related articles

  • “Labour grabs poll lead in UK General Election campaign” — Wikinews, April 10, 2015
  • “UK elections: Hung parliament, Cameron to negotiate with Liberal Democrats” — Wikinews, May 7, 2010
  • 2010 UK general election results” — Wikinews, May 6, 2010

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg United Kingdom general election, 2010

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July 3, 2014

Unite union tell UK Labour to offer EU referendum

Unite union tell UK Labour to offer EU referendum

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

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The British trade union Unite voted yesterday to ask the Labour Party to offer a referendum on Britain’s continued membership in the European Union as part of its election promises, and said failing to do so would make Labour’s electoral success a “hostage to fortune”. The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, has ruled out such a move as “silly”.

Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey said of the motion passed by the union: “It calls on Labour not to box itself in on the referendum question. This issue has bedevilled British politics for decades. For much of that time it has been the Tories who have had to deal with divisions in their ranks over Europe. But the next general election will be different. Both UKIP and the Tories will be offering a referendum on the issue of Britain’s membership.”

McCluskey accused Labour of being in a position where “ducking this question is seen as part of Labour’s commitment to business”.

McCluskey also said: “We do not seek a referendum to take Britain out of the EU. We seek a referendum rethink in order to help get Labour into power here in Britain. Without such a pledge our party will stand exposed. UKIP will be strengthened in some key constituencies. The Tories will hypocritically charge Labour with being anti-democratic.”

Balls responded on the BBC programme Newsnight: “That would be a silly thing for us to say. We made a very clear commitment: if there is any proposal in the next parliament for a transfer of powers to Brussels [the EU] we will have an in/out referendum.

“We are not proposing a referendum now because we think to spend two or three years blighting investment and undermining our economy on the prospect of a referendum which David Cameron says he is going to have after he gets an unknown package of reforms would be bad for jobs and investment.

“If Len McCluskey is supporting the David Cameron position, I disagree with Len McCluskey.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Conservatives had fun at the expense of Labour leader Ed Miliband and the perceived division in Labour ranks over Europe. Conservative MP Sir Tony Baldry joked: “In the ’83 general election, a 13-year-old boy delivered leaflets around my constituency pledging that [then-Labour MP] Michael Foot would take Labour out of the European Union. Does my right hon[ourable] Friend find it strange that that same boy, now leader of the Labour party, is not willing either to support the renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership of the European Union or to pledge to trust the people of Britain in a referendum on our membership of the European Union?”

Ahead of the 2015 general election, the parties remain divided on Europe. David Cameron has pledged the Conservatives will hold a referendum in 2017 after a renegotiation of treaties. The Liberal Democrats recently faced a challenge to their policy on Europe with a number of senior party members calling for a referendum on membership — this push to change course was defeated and the party remains committed to a policy of not holding a referendum unless further British sovereignty is transferred to the EU.



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October 1, 2013

UK\’s Conservatives promise an end to deficit by 2020, Human Rights Act repeal

UK’s Conservatives promise an end to deficit by 2020, Human Rights Act repeal

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Image: HM Treasury.

Senior politicians in Britain’s Conservative Party pledged today to scrap the Human Rights Act, freeze fuel duty until 2015, and clear the UK’s deficit by 2020.

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “Provided we can find the savings to pay for it, I want to freeze fuel duty for the rest of this Parliament.” The fuel duty rise had been scheduled for next September. This announcement follows a similar cancellation of a planned fuel duty rise in the Chancellor’s March Budget which would have come into force in September.

Party aides said the plan would save motorists £750m a year, with petrol prices 20p a litre cheaper than they would have been if plans by Labour had been followed. Edmund King from The Automobile Association welcomed the announcement on fuel duty, but said: “it is worth remembering that every time there is a spike in fuel prices, the Chancellor brings in money due to the 20 per cent VAT [Value Added Tax] rate on petrol and diesel. This is not exactly a give-away, as even with a duty freeze the Chancellor is still raking in approximately 60 per cent of the pump price in duty and VAT.”

Osborne also announced that he intends to end the deficit by 2020 and wants to keep the nation’s finances at a surplus. This would be accomplished by a new round of cuts after the election amounting to £25 billion.

“So I can tell you today, that when we’ve dealt with Labour’s deficit, we will have a surplus in good times as insurance against difficult times ahead. Provided the recovery is sustained, our goal is to achieve that surplus in the next parliament. That will bear down on our debts and prepare us for the next rainy day. That is going to require discipline and spending control.”

Osborne’s speech also stated that the government intends to continue with reforms to the welfare system and to require those who have been unemployed for more than two years to take part in work placements in order to get benefits: “They will do useful work to put something back into their community; making meals for the elderly, clearing up litter, working for a local charity.”

Labour MP and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves, said Osborne’s fuel duty plans were “panicky” and an “aspiration” without funding. Reeves said of Osborne’s plans regarding the deficit: “nobody will believe a word he says”.

Theresa May, Home Secretary.
Image: Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May told the conference that the next Conservative Party manifesto will commit to repealing the Human Rights Act 1998, backing a statement to the same end made by Prime Minister David Cameron in an interview over the weekend.

May argued that European human rights law had prevented the deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordan, and that the guarantee of a “right to a family life” had become a “free-for-all” for appeals against deportation. In addition to repealing the Human Rights Act, May raised the possibility of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) altogether. “The Conservative position is clear. If leaving the European convention is what it takes to alter our human rights laws, that’s what we will do.”

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve has expressed caution about plans to repeal the Human Rights Act or leave the ECHR, saying it “could be interpreted as a sign that Britain is not interested in creating a better world”.

“If we leave it then we have to take the international reputational consequences of doing so.”

The Conservatives have also faced questions about their relationship with the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, attended the Conservative conference and raised the question of deals between UKIP and the Conservatives at a local level. A number of Conservative MPs have said that the Conservatives and UKIP should work together during the election including Bill Cash, Douglas Carswell, and Peter Bone.

Senior leaders in the Conservative Party have rejected any suggestion of working closer with UKIP. George Osborne said: “The only candidates who will stand for the Conservative party at the election are Conservative candidates – a sort of statement of the obvious.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson joked of the UKIP deal suggestions: “you kip if you want to, David Cameron’s not for kipping“.



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March 3, 2013

Liberal Democrats hold onto Eastleigh in by-election as UKIP vote soars

Liberal Democrats hold onto Eastleigh in by-election as UKIP vote soars

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

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A photo of David Cameron with Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne.
Image: Office of Nick Clegg.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton won the Eastleigh, United Kingdom parliamentary by-election on Thursday with a slim majority of 1,771 votes, with the Conservative Party finishing in third place after a voting surge for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) who finished in second.

Thornton, who lives in Bishopstoke and has been a local councillor since 2007, said in his victory speech, “The people of Eastleigh recognise that the Liberal Democrats have always had a superb record of delivery, we’ve always listened to what people want, and we always make sure that we do a good job.” Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg celebrated with Mike Thornton and party supporters; in a statement he said: “We held our nerve, we stood our ground. We overcame the odds and won a stunning victory”.

At the last general election in 2010, Liberal Democrats won with 46.5% of the vote, holding a 3,864-vote majority over the Conservative Party, who gained 39.3%, and the constituency has been in the Liberal Democrats’ control since another by-election in 1994. The party’s share of the vote dropped by 14.4 percentage points as UKIP posted their best-ever election results.

A map of the Eastleigh constituency.
Image: Wereon.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that after their success in the by-election they will “take the tremor that [they] have created at Eastleigh and turn it into a national political earthquake” in the European Parliament election in 2014. Farage said of Prime Minister David Cameron, “He’s talking about gay marriage, wind turbines, unlimited immigration from India. He wants Turkey to join the European Union. The Conservatives’ problems are not because of UKIP, it’s because of their leader”.

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said “We’ll be fighting the next election providing a clear choice between David Cameron as PM or Labour Party leader] Ed Miliband.” David Cameron played down suggestions that UKIP pose a big threat to the Conservative Party at the 2015 General Election. He said, “It is a disappointing result for the Conservative Party, but it is clear that, in mid-term by-elections, people want to register a protest”.

The Labour candidate John O’Farrell ended up fourth with 9.82% of the vote. Ed Miliband responded by saying, “Clearly I would have preferred to get more votes but this was always going to be a tough fight for Labour”.

Chris Huhne, the former Secretary of State for Energy, triggered the election when he resigned as the MP after admitting perverting the course of justice by asking his wife to take speeding penalty points for him in 2003.



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May 6, 2010

British political candidate Nigel Farage injured in plane crash on polling day

British political candidate Nigel Farage injured in plane crash on polling day

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

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Farage is the former leader of UKIP

A political candidate for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has been injured in a plane crash. Nigel Farage, the former leader of the party, was in a two-seater plane when it crashed at an airfield in Northamptonshire. The plane crashed just one hour after voting had opened on polling day.

Farage, 46, was taken to a Banbury hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The pilot of the plane is believed to have suffered more severe injuries and was transferred to a different hospital.

The plane had landed at the airfield in Hinton-in-the-Hedges and was beginning to take off again when the accident happened. The plane was being flown with a UKIP banner and was due to fly over Buckinghamshire, the constituency where Farage is standing.

A UKIP spokesman said about that incident that “We’ve had unconfirmed reports that either the banner got snagged up, or there were cross-winds and it was unfamiliar airfield to the pilot.” He added that after a discussion with an aviation expert that the banner could not be a factor in the accident.

Chris Adams, a fellow UKIP candidate for the constituency of Aylesbury, released a statement on the condition of Farage. He said “Nigel was unconscious but he can talk. He’s been coming in and out of consciousness and is now being X-rayed.”

The fire and ambulance services have remained at the scene of the crash and an investigation has been opened.



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May 23, 2008

Conservatives win Crewe and Nantwich by-election

Conservatives win Crewe and Nantwich by-election

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Friday, May 23, 2008

According to a Daily Politics poll, 46% of people think David Cameron would be the best Prime Minister

The Conservative Party’s Edward Timpson has won the Crewe and Nantwich by-election in the United Kingdom with a majority of 7,860 votes. This is the party’s first by-election victory in 26 years and party leader David Cameron visited the constituency earlier.

Labour Party candidate Tamsin Dunwoody said that the 17.6% swing was a “mid-term blip” and that the people of Crewe and Nantwich will be “watching” Mr. Timpson. However David Cameron proclaimed the result “the end of New Labour” calling the Conservatives’ overturning of the 7,000 Labour majority “the start of something different and something bigger”.

He criticised the Labour Party’s campaign in Crewe and Nantwich, which had described the Conservative candidate as a “toff”, as “negative”, “xenophobic” and “class war” but said he realises the differences between by-election and general election results. The newly elected Mr. Timpson said in his victory speech that “I am going to stand up for local families, local jobs and, whenever I need to, stand up to the Government on your behalf.”

Miss Dunwoody is confident of Gordon Brown’s leadership, telling reporters earlier that “we know the Prime Minister can lead us through this.” Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman also defended Mr. Brown’s position, saying that “the overwhelming majority of people in the Labour Party… are fully behind Gordon Brown.”

Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, defended his party’s third-place result as “really rather robust” and said the people’s votes were anti-Labour, not pro-Conservative. The UK Independence Party are pleased with the result, claiming that it confirms the party’s position as “the fourth political force in the country” and their candidate Mike Nattrass said “this has been a stepping stone for the European elections next year.”

Result

Crewe and Nantwich by-election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
style=”background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Conservative Party (UK)|Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/shortname] Edward Timpson 20,539 49.5 +16.9
style=”background-color: Template:Labour Party (UK)/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Labour Party (UK)|Template:Labour Party (UK)/meta/shortname] Tamsin Dunwoody 12,679 30.6 –18.2
style=”background-color: Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname] Elizabeth Shenton 6,040 14.6 –4.0
style=”background-color: Template:United Kingdom Independence Party/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[United Kingdom Independence Party|Template:United Kingdom Independence Party/meta/shortname] Mike Nattrass 922 2.2 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:Green Party of England and Wales/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Green Party of England and Wales|Template:Green Party of England and Wales/meta/shortname] Robert Smith 359 0.9 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:English Democrats Party/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[English Democrats Party|Template:English Democrats Party/meta/shortname] David Roberts 275 0.7 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:Official Monster Raving Loony Party/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Official Monster Raving Loony Party|Template:Official Monster Raving Loony Party/meta/shortname] The Flying Brick 236 0.6 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Independent (politician)|Template:Independent (politician)/meta/shortname] Mark Walklate 217 0.5 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol|Template:Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol/meta/shortname] Paul Thorogood 118 0.3 n/a
style=”background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color; width: 5px;” | [[Independent (politician)|Template:Independent (politician)/meta/shortname] Gemma Garrett 113 0.3 n/a
Majority 7,860 18.9 +3.6
Turnout 41,856 58.2 –1.8
Conservative gain from Labour Swing 17.6%



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  • “Parties make final bids for Crewe and Nantwich voters” — Wikinews, May 21, 2008

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May 21, 2008

Parties make final bids for Crewe and Nantwich voters

Parties make final bids for Crewe and Nantwich voters

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The late Gwyneth Dunwoody (above) had held the seat of Crewe and Nantwich since 1983 with a majority of 7,078 at the 2005 General Election.

UK political parties are making their final bids for votes in the Crewe and Nantwich constituency, where a by-election, due to the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody MP, is to be held tomorrow.

A YouGov poll has suggested that the main opposition party, the Conservatives, are ahead at 45%, the incumbent Labour Party 18.8% behind on 26.2%. Polls from the newspaper The Independent and Populus and ICM have also put the Conservatives ahead. However the bookmakers Ladbrokes have deemed the Conservatives “unbackable”, with odds of just 16/1.

Crewe and Nantwich by-election
Party Candidate
Monster Raving Loony The Flying Brick
Labour Tamsin Dumwoody
Independent Gemma Garrett
UK Independence Mike Nattrass
English Democrats David Roberts
Liberal Democrat Elizabeth Shenton
Green Robert Smith
Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol Paul Thorogood
Conservative Edward Timpson
Independent Mark Walklate

The Labour campaign in Crewe and Nantwich has branded the Conservative candidate Edward Timpson, a barrister from the wealthy Timpson family, a “toff”, calling their candidate, the late MP’s daughter Tamsin Dunwoody, “one of us”. Conservative leader David Cameron called the Labour campaign “class warfare” which is “backward looking”, “out of date” and “divisive”. The Labour Party has received endorsements from soap opera Coronation Street‘s Elizabeth Dawn (who plays the character Vera Duckworth) and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem) party have sent party leader Nick Clegg, party president Simon Hughes and deputy leader and the party’s shadow chancellor Vince Cable up to Crewe and Nantwich to campaign alongside their candidate Elizabeth Shenton. Mr. Cable told BBC’s Newsnight that “what’s very clear is there is a lot of support draining away from the Labour Party – an enormous amount.” Nick Clegg claims that the by-election is a two-horse race between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

The UK Independence Party’s candidate Mike Nattrass has been touring Crewe and Nantwich in a converted London Routemaster campaign bus and handing out leaflets. He said “UKIP has never stood in Crewe and Nantwich before because Gwyneth Dunwoody was Eurosceptic and we agreed with her.” Party leader Nigel Farage has also attended a meeting in the constituency.

Polling stations will open from 07:00 BST (06:00 UTC) until 22:00 BST (21:00 UTC) on Thursday. The result is expected by Friday afternoon.



Sources

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April 22, 2008

UK Independence Party gains first MP

UK Independence Party gains first MP – Wikinews, the free news source

UK Independence Party gains first MP

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cquote1.svg I have been increasingly disappointed with the Tory party’s failure to be honest with the public on a wide range of issues like pensions, crime, immigration and defence, which is why I voted against the Tory whip so often in recent years and finally resigned the whip last month. Cquote2.svg

—Dr. Bob Spink, MP

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has gained its first representation in the House of Commons today.

Dr. Bob Spink, MP for Castle Point, Essex has recently defected from the Conservative Party over an alleged attempt by local Conservatives to deselect him. He claims to have been “disenchanted” with the party for years and denounced Conservatative policies, saying “I have been increasingly disappointed with the Tory party’s failure to be honest with the public on a wide range of issues like pensions, crime, immigration and defence, which is why I voted against the Tory whip so often in recent years and finally resigned the whip last month.”

He said he was “delighted to join the UKIP team, helping to fight for Britain’s interests in Europe and for better policy on the issues that really matter to people”, adding that “UKIP provides an alternative that’s not the BNP and a party that listens to the people.”

He was welcomed with open arms by UKIP, party leader Nigel Farage saying he is “delighted to welcome the hard-working and deeply principled Bob Spink as UKIP’s first member of Parliament,” calling Spink “articulate, quite controversial and a bit of a character”. One of UKIP’s two peers, Lord Willoughby de Broke, added “I am thrilled that UKIP now has a representative in the House of Commons. I look forward to working with him to further UKIP’s programme of leaving the European Union.”

Dr. Spink has rejected ideas of holding a local by-election, saying on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “I was elected as Bob Spink. I work hard for my constituents and I will continue to do so. I am following to the letter every word that I promised them in my manifesto and I only wish the parties were doing the same, including the Tory Party.” UKIP say they are confident he will retain his seat at the next general election.



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May 4, 2007

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

Party supporting Scottish independence from UK wins elections

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Debating chamber in Scottish Parliament building
Image: Pschemp.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which supports Scottish independence from the UK, has pulled off a historic, albeit narrow, victory in yesterday’s Scottish elections.

In the third Scottish election since the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the left of centre SNP beat the ruling Labour Party by a single seat. It won 47 seats, while Labour won 46, down from the current 50.

It is the first time since the parliament opened that Labour has been beaten, and the first time in fifty years that they have not had a majority of Scottish constituency seats in any election.

SNP leader Alex Salmond declared: “Scotland has changed for good and forever.” He added that the Labour Party had “lost the moral authority to govern Scotland.”

The current First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell of Labour said: “While I recognise that the SNP are the largest party by the narrowest of margins, Alex Salmond must himself recognise that he does not have a majority in the Scottish Parliament or anywhere near a majority of the vote.”

It is believed that many factors caused the Labour vote to slump and the SNP vote to rise, including the war in Iraq and the renewal of Trident, which are both unpopular in Scotland.

The election also raises a serious dilemma for the Labour party’s Gordon Brown, a Scotsman widely tipped to succeed Tony Blair as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. Brown is vehement in his support of the Union, and is a Westminster (London parliament) MP for Kirkcaldy. An SNP government in Scotland will find itself facing the very Labour party it beat in power in London.

Turnout was up 2% on the last Scottish election.

Controversy

The election was highly controversial, not least for having three separate systems, running in tandem –

  • A constituency vote, which was “first past the post”, and for a candidate.
  • A regional list vote, which was additional member system, and was for a party.
  • A local authority (council) vote, which was Single Transferable Vote, and in which parties could field more than one candidate in a ward.

The three systems, along with difficulties with electronic counting meant that maybe as many as one hundred thousand ballot papers were “spoiled”. In addition, there was also huge problems with the postal vote.

Due to the extensive computer problems, votes had to be cancelled early on Friday morning, and postponed to later in the day.

Many other problems beset the election, with a helicopter from the Western Isles constituency being held up by fog, and a boat carrying ballot papers from the Isle of Arran, breaking down in the Firth of Clyde.

Other parties

In addition to the SNP and Labour, the other parties results’ were as follows –

  • Conservative and Unionist – 17 members.
  • Liberal Democrats – 16 members.
  • Scottish Greens – 2 members.
  • Independent – 1 (Margo MacDonald, formerly of the SNP)

The Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party were all wiped out.

In order to establish a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP must form a coalition with one or more of these parties. The Liberal Democrats, who were in coalition with the Labour party in the first two terms of the Scottish parliament, are a possibility.

Other parties that campaigned for seats in Holyrood included the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the British National Party (BNP), the Scottish Unionist Party, the Scottish Socialist Labour Party, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Scottish Christian Party.

Gains and losses

The Scottish National Party, while not gaining the landslide it had wished for, made breakthroughs in Glasgow (Govan), Edinburgh (Edinburgh East) and also took both seats in Dundee.

The Liberal Democrats gained seats in Dunfermline West, but their losses mean the number of seats they hold is unchanged.

Wales and England

While the Scottish election was going on, the Welsh were also having their election for the Welsh Assembly. Plaid Cymru gained a seat from Labour at Llanelli. The Conservatives had their best showing since the Assembly began.

The final results show that the membership for the new assembly will be:-

Labour 26 -4 Plaid Cymru 15 +3 Conservatives 12 +1 Liberal Democrats 6 – Independent 1 –

In England, the elections were more minor, dealing only with local authorities. However they can be an important indicator of how battleground seats might go in the General Election, expected in 2-3 years time. The Conservatives made the greatest gains, but did not make the breakthrough in Northern England that they would have hoped. The Liberal Democrats did not make the advances that they had hoped, and stayed at more or less the same level. Elsewhere, Cornish regionalists Mebyon Kernow gained an extra seat bringing their total to seven, and the Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats) gained seats in several areas of England.

Sources

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Scottish Parliament election, 2007
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