John Curtice analyses Chesham and Amersham by-election result
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John Curtice has warned that Remainer voters could lead a dramatic backlash against Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda. Speaking to GB News, the polling guru said that many traditional Conservative voters in London and the south-east felt ignored by the recent focus on northern Red Wall regions. This comes as Liberal Democrats pulled off an extraordinary by-election victory in the Buckinghamshire constituency of Chesham and Amersham – a formerly Conservative safe seat.
Many voters in southern England are wondering “what is in it for us” when it comes to the Government”s “levelling up” agenda, according to Sir John Curtice.
He said: “It has exposed a flank in more traditional middle-class constituencies in London and the south-east, some of whom have contained quite a lot of Remain voters.
“That area is hearing the Tories talking endlessly about levelling up and wondering what really is in it for us?”
“And given the opportunity of a by-election to say ‘Hang on we are not quite sure about this’ – they have taken it!”
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The professor from the University of Strathclyde continued: “It is a warning to the Conservatives.
“If the Liberal Democrats do begin to take off in the national polls, then the area where they could begin to lose the odd constituency here or there – and it could matter in a close general election – are the seats where the Liberal Democrats are not that far behind the Conservatives.
“We are now looking at a Liberal Democrat Party that above all seems willing to pick up the seats of middle-class voters, some of them traditional Conservative voters.
“They are no longer quite sure about the direction of the Conservative party under Boris Johnson.”
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Last night’s shock by-election result saw the Lib Dems overturn a Conservative majority of 16,223.
The Lib Dem candidate Sarah Green secured 21,517 votes, leaving the Conservative’s Peter Fleet trailing with 13,489.
The contest was called after the death of the MP Cheryl Gillan, who had represented the constituency since 1992.
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Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey was delighted by the victory, as he tweeted: “The Tory ‘blue wall’ is beginning to crumble.
“This is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats. The people of Chesham and Amersham have sent a shockwave through British politics.
“We were told it was impossible for any party to beat the Tories here in Buckinghamshire.
“We were told this seat was too safe and the Tories too strong. This Liberal Democrat win has proved them utterly wrong.”
Chesham & Amersham, on the outskirts of London, voted strongly for Remain at the 2016 referendum.
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