The UK General Election Blog has highlighted an interesting thought, as follows:
In November 2013 Adam Afriyie brought forward an amendment for a referendum on Europe, this is the list of those that voted for it. 2 have since defected to UKIP.
- Adam Afriyie – Windsor 19,000 majority
- Andrew Bridgen – NW Leicestershire 7,500 majority
- Douglas Carswell Defected to UKIP
- Philip Davies – Shipley 10,000 majority
- Nadine Dorries – Mid Bedfordshire 15,000 majority
- Adam Holloway – Gravesham 10,000 majority
- Stewart Jackson – Peterborough 5,000 majority
- Chris Kelly – Dudley South – Has already announced he will stand down
- Julian Lewis – New Forest East – 11,000 majority
- Stephen McPartland – Stevenage – 3,500
- Mark Reckless Defected to UKIP
- Laurence Robertson – Tewesbury – 6,000
- Andrew Rosindell – Romford – 17,000
- Martin Vickers – Cleethorpes – 4,000
- Peter Bone – Wellingborough – 12,000
- Philip Hollobone – Kettering – 9,000
So, of those 14 remaining in the Tories, who is most likely to defect based on their electoral chances standing as a UKIP candidate? Well, as readers generally know, I’m a bit of a Psephologist, and did a full analysis of the English Euro and Local results in May 2014. If we look at the rankings of “UKIP-friendliness” of those seats, we might gain a better idea.
Through the prism of the Euro Election results and support for UKIP, here’s a ranking of those seats, the number being the ranking of “UKIP friendliness” based on the strength of the UKIP vote against their nearest rival:
- 16 Romford – Andrew Rosindell
- 19 Cleethorpes – Martin Vickers
- 20 Gravesham – Adam Holloway
- 75 Stevenage – Stephen McPartland
- 82 Peterborough – Stewart Jackson
- 109 North West Leicestershire – Andrew Bridgen
- 181 Wellingborough – Peter Bone
- 195 Kettering – Philip Hollobone
- 209 Mid Bedfordshire – Nadine Dorries
- 291 New Forest East – Julian Lewis
- 379 Tewkesbury – Laurence Robertson
- 437 Windsor – Adam Afriyie
- 463 Shipley – Philip Davies
That puts Mr Rosindell first, but can’t say I’ve noticed him sticking his neck out yet! Adam Holloway and Martin Vickers are close, with the former being very vocal. However, the problem with using the Euro election results is that we have to make calculations and guesses on how the results for a District Council would be apportioned across its constituencies and, in many cases, part constituencies. Also, given that some Euro election votes for UKIP were just temporary “loans” of votes as a protest against Europe, we have to factor down the UKIP votes and transfer them back (in a proportion based on polling data) to the other parties.
Using Local Election results is a far more accurate method, aggregating the ward results into a constituency, and in this case I believe we can assume that anyone who would vote for a UKIP councillor would also vote for a UKIP MP. This is the outcome of that analysis:
- 11 Cleethorpes – Martin Vickers
- 34 Romford – Andrew Rosindell
- 36 Windsor – Adam Afriyie
- 61 Stevenage – Stephen McPartland
- 123 Peterborough – Stewart Jackson
- 128 Shipley – Philip Davies
- 242 Tewkesbury – Laurence Robertson
There were no local elections in 2014 for the Gravesham, Kettering, Mid Bedfordshire, New Forest East (but there was a good UKIP result in the 2013 Council elections), North West Leicestershire and Wellingborough.
So, where does that leave us? I would rank the top runners as follows:
- Adam Holloway – A vocal Eurosceptic with one of the best Euro election indicators.
- Andrew Rosindell – Strong indicators from both elections, plus a very large majority.
- Martin Vickers – Strong indicators from both elections.
For those who go for 100-1 bets on the nags, here’s a couple of outside bets:
- Adam Afriyie. He knows Tom Bursnall, a NEC member who defected from the Tories as a local councillor, very well. Read this. The local results this year should give him heart, although the Euro results don’t! And he has an acquaintance on the doorstep who doubtless could encourage him. He also has a very large majority.
- Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone, both of whom are quite vocal, but the numbers would appear to be against them. They do both have strong majorities though, but are they personal or party? Perhaps they might defect, but retain their seats, giving themselves a long campaign to gain ground (to May 2015) rather than a short one?
What do the readers think?