Newport West By-Election: Brexit backlash could spark Tory implosion

Amidst much election talk – whether of the general or European variety – a more imminent poll has yet to capture media attention. Come Friday morning, the Newport West By-Election may well be very newsworthy.

Labour near-certain to win big

Voters in this relatively safe Labour constituency go to the polls on Thursday, following the death of MP Paul Flynn. Defending a majority of nearly 6,000, it would be a minor miracle were the incumbents to lose. At current odds, Labour are rated just 1.11 to win – equivalent to 90%.

The constituency profile is similar to dozens of successful defences since Labour lost power in 2010. They have picked a strong local candidate in Ruth Jones – a former Welsh TUC President – who is confidently expected to be returned to parliament by a substantial margin.

So far, so predictable. News of a Labour win will barely interrupt the 24/7 Brexit conversation. The race for second, however, just might.

Big-two will surely regress from 2017

The Conservatives have owned that position, by considerable margins, ever since losing the seat in 1987. In 2017, this was on their target list – they started favourites before the Corbyn surge transformed the polls. They are rated merely 1.14 to win without Labour. What looks a certainty ‘on paper’ becomes an unappealing, risky bet in the current ‘anti-political establishment’ mood.

Two predictions are confidently made. Turnout will be sub-35% and there will be a significant protest vote. Combined, the big-two earned a remarkable 92% of the vote share in 2017. I reckon that could fall beyond 70% – it was merely 74% in the 2015 and 2010 general elections.

Brexit chaos raises chance of protest votes

By-elections always present fertile conditions for a protest vote and it is hard to remember a more obvious time to do so. If politicians doubted the anger out there, Friday’s protests in Westminster should have taught them. Brexiters are furious with parliament and a majority – 54% – of Newport West voters backed Brexit.

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One response to “Newport West By-Election: Brexit backlash could spark Tory implosion”

  1. Dear Paul, I am an Economics Professor from the University of Bologna, Italy, working on Brexit and Exchange Rates. I am trying to get data on the Betfair’s quotes for a “no deal” Brexit. Unfortunately, I cannnot access Betafair (uk) from Italy, so I am not sure who to contact. Can you help? Thanks a lot, Paolo Manasse (,

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