2013 Eastleigh by-election

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2013 Eastleigh by-election

← 2010 28 February 2013 2015 →

The Eastleigh seat in the House of Commons.
Triggered by vacation of seat by incumbent
  First party Second party
  Mike Thornton MP at Brighton 2013.jpg Diane James at Eastleigh.png
Candidate Mike Thornton Diane James
Party Liberal Democrats UKIP
Popular vote 13,342 11,571
Percentage 32.1% 27.8%
Swing Decrease14.4% Increase24.2%

  Third party Fourth party
  Blank Blank
Candidate Maria Hutchings John O'Farrell
Party Conservative Labour
Popular vote 10,559 4,088
Percentage 25.4% 9.8%
Swing Decrease13.9% Increase0.2%

Map showing the Eastleigh Parliamentary constituency within the English county of Hampshire.

MP before election

Chris Huhne
Liberal Democrats

Subsequent MP

Mike Thornton
Liberal Democrats

The Eastleigh by-election, 2013 was a parliamentary by-election held on 28 February 2013 for the United Kingdom House of Commons constituency of Eastleigh in Hampshire.[1]

The election was triggered by the resignation of the sitting MP, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, which took effect on 5 February 2013.[2] The resignation coincided with his guilty plea on the eve of a court case in which he and his ex-wife were to be prosecuted for lying to police about a historical speeding offence (committed in 2003 but which only came to light in May 2011). Huhne had already stood down from his position as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in February 2012 when first charged.[3]

Mike Thornton retained the seat for the Liberal Democrats, though with a reduced majority compared with the 2010 general election. UKIP came second with a greatly increased share of the vote, the Conservatives came third, and Labour fourth.[4] Following the election result, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings each blamed the other party for splitting the vote and allowing the Liberal Democrats to win.[5]

Selection of candidates[edit]

The Statement of Persons Nominated was published on 13 February and confirmed 14 candidates for the by-election.[6] The defending party, the Liberal Democrats, nominated Eastleigh Borough Council councillor Mike Thornton.[7][8]

Maria Hutchings, the Conservatives' candidate at the General Election, was chosen as the candidate for the by-election on 7 February.[9] Hutchings came to prominence in 2005 when she interrupted a live television phone-in with the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.[10] She said that she would vote for Britain to leave the EU and would have voted against gay marriage.[11] She also identified as pro-life and says that she is not a "Tory toff".

The Labour Party chose author and broadcaster John O'Farrell as its candidate on 12 February.[12][13] Having received during the campaign negative coverage of selected quotations from a book he wrote in 1998, in which he recalled the Brighton bomb attacks against the Conservative Party and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,[14] O'Farrell reflected after polling day that the experience was enough to put him off electoral politics for good.[15][16]

UKIP Eastleigh selected candidate Diane James, a Councillor from Ewhurst in Waverley, Surrey, who was elected there as an independent and subsequently joined UKIP.[17][18][19][20] The party's leader, Nigel Farage, previously contested the seat at a by-election in 1994.[21][22][23] While he initially said he would consider standing again, he decided not to after much media speculation.[24]

The English Democrats fielded Michael Walters, the South East Area Secretary of the party.

The Christian Party candidate was Kevin Milburn. He said "I am standing in this election to allow voters the opportunity to show their disapproval of this Government over many issues, including their attack on marriage. The Government has upset vast swathes of the population with this ill-conceived Bill."[25]

The Monster Raving Loony Party, which stood in the 1994 by-election, selected its leader Howling Laud Hope as its candidate.[26]

On 8 February, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition announced that it had chosen Darren Procter, secretary of the Southampton Shipping branch of the RMT union, as their candidate.[27] Procter also serves on the National Executive Committee of RMT. He stood on an anti-austerity platform.

The National Health Action Party, a new party founded in 2012 in response to the Coalition Government's healthcare reforms, selected Dr Iain Maclennan, a local doctor and former Royal Navy medical officer, as their candidate.[28]

Independent candidate Danny Stupple stood in protest at gay marriage and what he describes as the party "machine" pushing it through Parliament.[29]

The Wessex Regionalist Party fielded the party's president, Colin Bex, as its candidate.


Polling organisation/client Sample size LD Con UKIP Lab Others Lead
28 Feb Eastleigh by-election, 2013 Result 42,649 32.1% 25.4% 27.8% 9.8% 4.9% 4.3%
22–24 Feb Populus/The Times 1,002 33% 28% 21% 12% 6% 5%
21–22 Feb Populus/Sunday Times 1,001 33% 28% 21% 11% 4% 5%
18–22 Feb Survation/Mail on Sunday 543 29% 33% 21% 13% 4% 4%
6–8 Feb Survation/Mail on Sunday 504 36% 33% 16% 13% 2% 3%
4–5 Feb Populus 1,006 31% 34% 13% 19% 3% 3%
6 May 2010 Results (Eastleigh only) 53,650 46.5% 39.3% 3.6% 9.6% 1.0% 7.2%


The Liberal Democrats' win was their first in a by-election since Dunfermline and West Fife seven years earlier. It was also their first by-election win under the leadership of Nick Clegg. The UKIP vote was their highest yet in any parliamentary election (in both share and number of votes), and was the fourth time the party had come second in a by-election. At the time, it was also the closest UKIP had come to winning a Westminster seat.[citation needed]

With less than 7% of the vote separating the top three candidates, it was the closest three-way result in an English by-election for over 90 years (in Penistone in 1921 there was 6% between the top three). It was also the first time since the 1989 Richmond by-election that Labour had come fourth while in opposition.

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
Eastleigh by-election 2013
Resignation of Chris Huhne
Turnout: 41,616 (52.8%) -16.5
Liberal Democrats hold
Majority: 1,771 (4.3%) -2.9
Mike ThorntonLiberal Democrats13,34232.1-14.4
Diane James UKIP11,57127.8+24.2
Maria Hutchings Conservative10,55925.4-13.9
John O'Farrell Labour4,0889.8+0.2
Danny Stupple Independent7681.8N/A
Iain Maclennan National Health Action3920.9N/A
Ray Hall Beer, Baccy and Crumpet2350.6N/A
Kevin Milburn Christian1630.4N/A
Howling Laud Hope Monster Raving Loony1360.3N/A
Jim Duggan Peace1280.3N/A
David Bishop Elvis Loves Pets720.2N/A
Michael Walters English Democrat700.1-0.3
Daz Proctor TUSC620.1N/A
Colin Bex Wessex Regionalist300.1N/A
Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
General election 2010 [30]
Turnout: 53,650 (69.3%) +4.9
Liberal Democrats hold
Majority: 3,864 (7.2%)
Swing: 3.0% from Con to Lib Dem
Chris HuhneLiberal Democrats24,96646.5+8.2
Maria Hutchings Conservative21,10239.3+2.1
Leo Barraclough Labour5,1539.6−11.5
Ray Finch UKIP1,9333.6+0.2
Tony Pewsey English Democrat2490.5N/A
Dave Stone Independent1540.3N/A
Keith Low National Liberal Party – Third Way930.2N/A

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Date set for Eastleigh by-election". BBC. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Press Notice – Three Hundreds of Chiltern". HM Treasury. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Chris Huhne admits perverting the course of justice". BBC. 4 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Eastleigh by-election: 'Great honour' for winner Mike Thornton'". Bbc.co.uk. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  5. ^ Robin Brant (1 March 2013). "Eastleigh by-election: Lib Dems hold on despite UKIP surge". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Profile – Cllr. Mike Thornton". Eastleigh Borough Council. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Eastleigh by-election: Mike Thornton chosen as Lib Dem candidate". BBC. 9 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Eastleigh by-election: Maria Hutchings to stand for Conservatives". BBC. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  10. ^ "The moment the Tories' Eastleigh candidate ambushed Tony Blair". Political Scrapbook. 8 February 2013.
  11. ^ Tweedie, Neil; Dominiczak, Peter (8 February 2013). "Eastleigh by-election: Why Eastleigh could soon turn beastly". The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ Eastleigh – The Shortlist LabourList
  13. ^ Ferguson, Mark (7 February 2013). "Labour's selection Timetable for Eastleigh announced".
  14. ^ Gardiner, Nile (18 February 2013). "Ed Miliband's pathetic silence over Labour candidate's sick attack on Lady Thatcher shows poor leadership". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013.
  15. ^ My Eastleigh experience was enough – I won't stand for election in 2015 The Guardian
  16. ^ Labour's John O'Farrell Won't Stand In 2015 Election, After Eastleigh Fourth Place The Huffington Post
  17. ^ Profile – Councillor Diane James Archived 21 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine Waverley Borough Council
  18. ^ "Diane James, our choice for Eastleigh". UKIP. 11 February 2013.
  19. ^ "UKIP hope". Eastleighnews.co.uk. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Eastleigh by-election candidate list". BBC. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  21. ^ Landale, James (4 February 2012). "Huhne triggers coalition by-election battle". BBC. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  22. ^ Farage, Nigel (5 February 2013). "Why I will not fight the Eastleigh by-election". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  23. ^ Maddox, David (4 February 2013). "Nigel Farage to decide on Eastleigh by-election". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  24. ^ Hope, Christopher (5 February 2013). "Exclusive: Nigel Farage will not fight Chris Huhne seat". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Kevin Milburn – Christian Party – VIDEO (From Daily Echo)". Dailyecho.co.uk. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  26. ^ "Twitter / LoonyPartyNews". Official Monster Raving Loony Party. 6 February 2013.
  27. ^ "RMT executive member Darren Procter to stand in Eastleigh by-election". Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. 8 February 2013.
  28. ^ "Former Local Lib Dem activist and ex-NHS chief defects to National Health Action Party". National Health Action Party. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  29. ^ [2][dead link]
  30. ^ "Statement of persons nominated, notice of poll and situation of polling stations" (PDF). Eastleigh Borough Council. 20 April 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2013.

External links[edit]