It's a Friday morning so we are waking up to the results of yesterday's by-elections, of which there were two. In Newnham, Cambridge, Labour had previously been within 7% of winning the seat from the Lib Dems. Yesterday, their vote collapsed, from 36% to 18%. (For good measure, the Lib Dems held the ward with 60% share of the vote, up 16%.) The second was in Claines in Worcester where the Lib Dems gained the seat from the Conservatives. Labour collapsed from 15% to 2%.
Okay, so here comes my usual health warning on individual by-elections and opinion polls - in isolation they should not be taken as representative of the political situation. Instead, put them all together and you get the big picture of what's going on. As with other recent polls and by-elections, Labour's vote is melting under the heat of current political circumstances.
No doubt Labour will argue that yesterday's results were peculiar to the wards fought. There was a squeeze on Labour in Claines. While that can be taken as an explanation for that ward, it can't for Newnham. This was a ward in which Labour were previously in contention. Instead of celebrating victory, they now can't even be counted as serious challengers in the ward.
Labour's sinking vote is a common feature of opinion polls and by-elections. We are picking up on the doorsteps here in Gateshead that Labour's vote is in meltdown. We will be campaigning in Bensham tomorrow (weather permitting!) so we will see whether Labour's meltdown is continuing in a part of the borough where Labour normally expect to romp home.
My request to Labour members however is to keep Corbyn in place. He is an excellent recruiting agent for the Lib Dems and is perfect at slashing the Labour vote.