Firstly in House of Commons politics this will have zero effect. Mark Reckless will be wearing a different badge in the House but he will be thinking and acting the same. The Conservatives are well rid of loose cannons like him, they cost the party a lot of votes.
Secondly the really huge story is Emily Thornberry revealing to the world what the commentators already knew. Labour these days are a metropolitan elite clique who see themselves (misguidedly) as intellectuals and who have total, utter contempt for the working man, who they see as being well beneath them. They have lost touch with the reality that their jobs require the votes of these same working people and that they should be afforded the uttermost respect. Thornberry has opened the world’s eyes to the reality that Labour really are now the nasty party, who do not deserve anyone’s vote. This is a worse moment for them than Gordon Brown’s “bigot” gaffe.
Now to the results.
Mark Reckless (UKIP) 16,867 (42.10%)
Kelly Tolhurst (Conservative) 13,947 (34.81%)
Naushabah Khan (Labour) 6,713 (16.76%)
Clive Gregory (Green) 1,692 (4.22%)
Geoff Juby (Lib Dem) 349 (0.87%)
In 2010 it was:
Conservative: 23604 (49.2%)
Labour: 13651 (28.46%)
Liberal Democrat: 7800 (16.26%)
Green: 734 (1.53%)
English Democrat: 2182 (4.55%)
In 2005 the constituency was almost identical but was called Medway:
Bob Marshall-Andrews Labour 17,333 (42.2%)
Mark Reckless Conservative 17,120 (41.7%)
Geoffrey Juby Liberal Democrat 5,152 (12.5%)
Bob Oakley UK Independence Party 1,488 (3.6%)
Mark Reckless had a terrible day. He was the sitting MP plus he had the advantage of by-election protest votes. Yet his vote share went down from 49.2% to 42.1%. Come the 2015 General Election when voters are voting for the Prime Minister and the economy he will surely lose his seat. Nigel Farage, as ever, came out with a disingenuous lie. He tried to extrapolate this results to hundreds of seats won at the General Election. But in those seats he doesn’t have the sitting MP. And, of course, the senior BBC correspondent didn’t pull him up on this.
Kelly Tolhurst did brilliantly. The Conservatives always do badly in by-elections, when the results don’t really matter. Yet she has gone from zero to nearly 35% of the votes. This must have all the other parties very worried indeed. General election day will see her easily win.
Labour are in utter meltdown. Look at the effect of their leadership on this constituency. Tony Blair 42.2%, Gordon Brown 28.46%, Ed Miliband 16.76%. The party really could be finished, they have lost all relevance to their previous voter base and have a leader who is universally laughed at.
Liberal Democrats. Goodbye. 349 votes. The lowest ever in history for a party that is in power. General Election day 2015 will be a huge train crash. And there is no way out.
The election really does confirm my previous analysis, why the Labour party could be in terminal decline and why the Conservatives will win the 2015 General Election. Both those articles were written before Emily Thornberry revealed the contempt that Labour have for their voters. So my position has now been further reinforced.