The Conservatives have held their safe Outer London seat of Old Bexley & Sidcup, though with a reduced majority in a low turn-out by-election which saw a 10 per cent swing to Labour compared with the 2019 general election result.
Winning Tory candidate Louie French received 11,189 votes, Labour’s Daniel Francis finished second with 6,711 and Richard Tice of Reform UK, successor to the Brexit Party, was third with 1,432 followed by the Green (830) and Liberal Democrat (647) candidates. Both French and Francis are members of Bexley Council.
The Conservative vote share was 51.5 per cent, a fall of 13.1 percent, and Labour’s rose by 7.4 per cent to 30.9 per cent. The improved Labour position can largely be explained by Tory supporters choosing not to vote amid a turnout of only 34 per cent. The Tory majority was cut sharply from 18,934 to 4,478.
Previewing the contest for On London, elections expert Lewis Baston wrote that anything above a 50 per cent share would be “a reasonable result for the Conservatives” and anything above 30 per cent would be “worth celebrating for Labour”.
Poll aggregator Britain Elects concludes that the result “vindicates the latest polls and not much more” with Tories “staying at home” and Labour netting “little new”.
The social profile of Old Bexley & Sidcup voters is not typical of London’s as a whole, and the seat lies within a borough which was one of just five where a majority voted to leave the European Union at the 2016 referendum.
Tice, who was longlisted as a potential Conservative candidate for the last London Mayor election, took 6.6 per cent of the vote, finishing ahead of a handful of other candidates to the right of the Tories as well as the Greens’ Jonathan Rooks and Lib Dem Simone Reynolds.
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