| There's a by-election in a constituency of the UK House of Commons on Thursday, February 28. The election to the House of Commons was occasioned by the withdrawal on February 5 of former minister Chris Huhne on pleading guilty to "perverting the course of justice". Huhne was caught pressurizing his wife to take penalty points on her driver's license, when in fact they had been incurred by him.
The by-election is for the constituency of Eastleigh, on the south coast of Britain, in the county of Hampshire. The district is very close to the city of Southampton. It used to be a Conservative (Tory) seat, until the LibDems took it in a 1994 by-election. The Conservative MP at the time, Stephen Milligan was found self-strangled in an apartement in London, apparently having used an electrical cord on himself in an act of autoerotic asphyxiation.
The 2010 election, which brought forth a Conservative/LibDem coalition, gave the latter a plurality in the district, with Huhne taking 46.5% against 39.3% for the Tories. A poll ahead of Thursday's election shows the LibDems at 33%, the Tories at 28% and the anti-EU party of UKIP at 21%. The other traditional major party in the UK, together with the Tories, Labour, is back at 12% and serves only as a potential spoiler in this seat.
By-elections often have low turnout, and the Coalition government is not very popular. The LibDems are struck by a scandal of their own making, as it appears party leadership has kept quiet about potential sexual harassment by one of their top men, Lord Rennard. It remains to be seen how much this has hurt the local candidate, Mike Thornton. The Conservative candidate in the district, Maria Hutchings seems to be somewhat weak, as she dodged out of a TV debate against the other candidates, alledgedly because she had conflicting arrangements. The protest party UKIP seems to have a fairly good presence on the ground, and both the LibDems and the Tories are apparently terrified of a victory by their candidate, the likable Diane James.
The Telegraph has a good overview of the election and the poll; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...