With Parliament set to break up for summer recess this Thursday, MPs of all stripes are preparing to head back to their constituencies for the summer.
But before the long August holidays, there could be some political upsets in store.
Voters in three constituencies of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome will go to the polls this Thursday, in a spate of by-elections expected to act as an indicator of how the parties are fairing ahead of a general election next year.
City A.M. has broken down everything you need to know about this week’s by-elections.
Why are they happening?
By-elections are held when an MP’s seat becomes vacant before a general election.
This can be because an MP resigns or dies; is declared bankrupt; takes a seat in the House of Lords; or is convicted of a serious criminal offence – but not if they switch political party.
One election has been called because former prime minister and Conservative MP Boris Johnson quit before the privileges committee report found he deliberately misled Parliament.
He was followed by fellow Conservative MP Nigel Adams, triggering a second by-election, while a third Tory MP, David Warburton, resigned over allegations of drug misuse.
Where are the constituencies?
Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is in leafy West London. It’s an outer borough, with strong opposition to Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion policy.
Adams held the seat of Selby and Ainsty in Yorkshire. It’s a rural area, not too far from prime minister Rishi Sunak’s Richmond seat and has been Tory since it was created in 2010.
Finally, Warburton had held Somerton and Frome, in Somerset. The area has previously elected mostly Conservatives, but also a Liberal Democrat MP.
Who is standing?
Hoping to replace Johnson in Uxbridge is local Tory councillor Steve Tuckwell, while vying for the seat for Labour is Camden councillor Danny Beales, who grew up in Uxbridge.
Up in Selby, Labour’s Keir Mather, a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) public affairs expert who would become the UK’s youngest MP, is up against barrister and councillor Claire Holmes, for the Conservatives.
And in Somerton, Lib Dem candidate Sarah Dyke, a councillor from a local farming family, is standing alongside Labour’s Neil Guild and Faye Purbrick from the Conservative Party.
When are they and who can vote?
Polling stations will be open at 7am to 10pm on Thursday, July 20, 2023.
Residents of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome who are registered to vote are entitled to take part.
You can check whether you are registered to vote by contacting your local Electoral Registration Office, via this link. You also now need to bring photo ID to the polling station – more information here.
And you can find your nearest polling station here.
What is expected to happen?
If the Conservatives lose all three elections, Sunak will be the first PM since Harold Wilson in 1968 to hit a triple loss on one day.
Labour is currently predicted to take Uxbridge, needing an eight-point swing to win. This is seen as well within the margins of what they’ve already achieved, but Khan’s ULEZ expansion could hold Labour back on the day.
Labour, however, would require an 18-point swing in Selby and Ainsty, but if Sir Keir Starmer’s party triumph, it would set a new record for a majority overturned by Labour in a by-election victory.
Meanwhile, Somerton and Frome is seen as an easy win for the Lib Dems, which would be a huge boost for Sir Ed Davey’s party.