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Dot Commons

Could Eastleigh be beastly for Mili?

Could Eastleigh be beastly for Mili?

The Eastleigh by-election should have the psephologists purring for what it might tell us about the 2015 race.

The race has been billed in some quarters as a Coalition scrap, but a glance at recent history suggests Labour should have a say too. But up to 2010, where they suffered a -11% swing, Labour had always polled 20% or above in the south coast seat. A repeated of that performance, allied to a drop-off in the Lib Dem vote and the possible loss of Tory votes to UKIP could see Labour sneak an unlikely victory. 

Certainly if Labour don’t do well, the Tories will make hay out of Ed’s failure to reach the whole of his ‘One Nation’. It’s all very well winning in strongholds like Rotherham, Barnsley and Oldham, they'll say, but what does it say about Ed’s reach-out effort if middle England seats like Eastleigh are beyond him?  

Deputy leader Harriet Harman seems well aware of the significance of this race, to judge from a couple of recent tweets.