The Liberal Democrats fought in two by-elections yesterday (Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill). In the previous election at both these locations they were third behind The Conservatives and Labour, with Labour winning the seats with huge majorities.
Today, the LibDems won the Leicester seat with a 21% swing away from Labour and narrowly (460 votes) lost to Labour in Birmingham with a 27% swing away from Labour - descimating Labours previous 11,000 vote majority! If Respect (an anti-war party) hadn't have won it is probable that the LibDems would have snatched Birmingham Hodge Hill away from Labour too!!
What the results prove beyond all doubt is that people are very unhappy with Blair and the Labour party at present and do not consider The Conservatives a viable option. Now whilst I don't think the LibDems will win overall control of Parliament at the next General Election I do believe that they'll take enough seats to make it a hung-parliament which will see a coalition government formed between Labour and the LibDems. I'm also sticking to my prediction of a few years ago which had me claiming that we'd see a Liberal Democrat Prime Minister within the next three elections. Roll on the next election!
Leicester South 2001 Results
Marshall (Lab) 22,958 (54.48%)
Hoile (C) 9,715 (23.05%)
Singh Gill (LD) 7,243
Layton (Green) 1,217 (2.89%)
Leicester South 2004 Results
Parmjit Singh Gill (LD) 10,274 (34.94%)
Sir Peter Soulsby (Lab) 8,620 (29.31%)
Chris Heaton-Harris (C) 5,796 (19.71%)
Yvonne Ridley (Respect) 3,724 (12.66%)
Birmingham Hodge Hill 2001 Results
Davis (Lab) 16,901 (63.86%)
Lewis (C) 5,283 (19.96%)
Dow (LD) 2,147 (8.11%)
Windridge (BNP) 889 (3.36%)
Birmingham Hodge Hill 2004 Results
Byrne (Lab) 7,451 (36.45%)
Davies (LD) 6,991 (34.20%)
Eyre (C) 3,543 (17.33%)
John Rees (Respect) 1,282 (6.27%)