2 Nov 2012 08:30:01

Tory Halloween newspaper warns Corby that Labour would increase debt by £3,200 per person

By Tim Montgomerie
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Whatever happens in Corby by-election few people could criticise the quality and volume of the election literature that has been produced and delivered. Seven newspapers have been delivered in total - emphasising crime and welfare measures taken by the Coalition and also targeting local groups, including churchgoers and small business people.

Screen Shot 2012-11-02 at 08.16.56

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28 Oct 2012 19:07:38

Tory campaign in Corby deploys newspaper for churchgoers

By Tim Montgomerie
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The latest polling by Lord Ashcroft suggests it is going to be an uphill struggle for Chris Emmett to hold Corby in the forthcoming by-election. The contest is nonetheless giving the Conservative machine the opportunity to roadtest key messages and also trial new kinds of targeted literature. I've already noted the emphasis that Tory literature has given to crime and welfare. A newspaper targeted on local churchgoers has also been drawn to my attention.

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In the leaflet Chris Emmett talks about her personal faith:

"My faith guides me in everything I do. It has also supported me through difficult times and it is important in a job serving the public to have the full support of my family and the greater church. I feel blessed to have both. I’ve been an active member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship for many years."

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23 Oct 2012 06:44:32

LibDem collapse in Corby should worry every Tory facing a second-placed Labour candidate

By Tim Montgomerie
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Lord Ashcroft has completed a second poll of voters participating in the Corby and East Northamptonshire by-election. You can read his summary of the results on ConHome this morning. Posted below are a few highlights of the results.

The Labour lead is growing rather than narrowing. This was always likely. Although we've selected a good candidate in Chris Emmett we did not choose her quickly. Labour's Andy Sawford had a few weeks advantage on Chris. It is also likely that Labour activists are more up for the fight than Tories and have therefore piled in to the seat in a way that Tories haven't. The table below from Lord Ashcroft's survey certainly suggests that Labour activity levels are much higher than Tory levels:

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The collapse in the LibDem vote is at least as big a factor in the scale of the likely Tory defeat as the reduction in the Tory vote. Jill Hope looks set to lose two-thirds of the LibDem vote at the general election. I've long believed that the LibDems will do better in seats they hold than the national opinion polls would suggest because of various incumbency effects. You can also be sure that LibDem HQ will target all available resources on the 57 seats they hold in order to try and again hold the balance of power after the next election. This resource allocation will make third-placed LibDem candidates even more vulnerable and will exacerbate 'the Gettleson effect' - diagnosed here. Every Tory MP who faces a strongly-placed Labour candidate in second place will worry about the collapse in the LibDem vote.

Screen Shot 2012-10-23 at 06.38.02UKIP could get third place but it will be a poor third place. The Ashcroft survey suggests UKIP are ahead of the LibDems by 6% to 5%. While Nigel Farage will welcome beating Clegg into fourth place it is far from a spectacular result. UKIP hoped to win more than 15% of the vote in this by-election and will need a very strong finish to achieve that.

Even though the Conservatives are trailing Labour by 22% the Conservatives have a 15% lead when it comes to the best team to run the economy. This will encourage Tory strategists. The economy is likely to be the number one issue at the next general election. If recovery can get underway the Tories will hope that they can build on this advantage and become competitive overall.

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The NHS is the big Tory weakness. The numbers below summarise the Tory advantage over Labour on some key issues:

  • Reforming welfare to stop scroungers and cut dependency +27%
  • Cutting the deficit and the debt +19%
  • Controlling immigration +16%
  • Defending Britain’s interests in Europe +11%
  • Dealing with crime +8%
  • Getting the economy growing and creating jobs -3%
  • Protecting the environment -5%
  • Improving schools -14%
  • Improving the NHS -24%

Comments on this blog are closed. Please comment on the thread below Lord Ashcroft's piece on the same subject.

21 Sep 2012 17:03:08

Crime and welfare feature prominently in Tories' Corby campaign

By Tim Montgomerie
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Emmett Factory

Emmett Chris

Remember how Blair and Brown ducked going to tricky by-elections? David Cameron was in Corby today to support the campaign of our candidate Chris Emmett. The party insists it is fighting the seat hard and next week a string of MPs will be helping with the effort. They include Nick de Bois, Angie Bray, Maria Miller, Nicky Morgan, Margot James, Andrea Leadsom, Karen Bradley and Jackie Doyle-Price.

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1 Sep 2012 08:55:00

Tories choose local businesswoman, Christine Emmett, to fight Corby by-election

By Tim Montgomerie
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Emmett ChristineAfter a worrying lack of urgency the Conservatives have finally chosen their candidate to fight the Corby and East Northamptonshire by-election... and they've chosen well. Very well.

I know Christine Emmett, a local businesswoman*. She combines the two essential Conservative beliefs of economic seriousness and practical compassion. She'll be a good candidate.

Louise Mensch, whose resignation triggered the by-election, Tweeted: "Conservatives in #CorbyEN have picked a true local girl in Christine Emmett - she'd be a wonderful MP".

Commenting on her selection, Chris Emmett issued this statement:

“I feel truly honoured to have be selected as the Conservative candidate for Corby and East Northants and I relish the chance to fight the upcoming by-election. I want to provide real local leadership, standing up for you and being a strong voice for our community in parliament. Local people want a local candidate who listens to them and knows how to get things done. I have experience across a number of sectors, having raised money for charity, worked with the health service and run my own business. I want to use my understanding and knowledge to represent the people of Corby and East Northants. I will spend the next few weeks and months traveling around the constituency and listening to people like you. I want to know your view, your problems, your concerns so that I can best represent you and serve our community.”

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16 Aug 2012 07:59:32

EXCLUSIVE: Lord Ashcroft poll finds Labour has 15% lead in Corby by-election

By Tim Montgomerie
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On 8th to 11th August Lord Ashcroft polled the voters of Corby and East Northamptonshire and has found that Labour is heading for a comfortable victory in the by-election caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch.


Compared to the General Election when Ms Mensch won the seat from Labour, the Tory vote is only down 5%. The LibDem vote has halved, however, down from 15% to 7%. The weakness of the LibDem vote is going to be a big problem for Tory MPs all over the country at the next election if they are facing a strong second-placed Labour candidate.

In terms of the reliability of this 15% lead for Labour it is notable that Lord Ashcroft surveyed just over 1,500 voters in the Corby constituency, a larger sample than most opinion polls. The survey found that 83% of people are fairly decided in how they'll vote. It will be an electoral miracle if Tories can win back enough voters in the next few weeks to overturn Labour's lead.

My hunch is that Labour will probably win by more than 15%. In the detail of Lord Ashcroft's poll he finds that 8% of current Tory voters would consider supporting UKIP when the by-election occurs. If UKIP run a good campaign - in a part of the country where they're traditionally strong - they'll erode the Conservative vote, in particular, and add to the Labour majority. Anything less than 10% from UKIP will be a poor showing. An early by-election, during the Labour Conference rather than in mid-November, is likely to limit the possibility for smaller parties like UKIP to build up momentum.

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