Labour has been sent into a panic after rumours circulated they might be beaten in the House of Commons by-election for the seat of Heywood and Middleton on 9th October. The poll was triggered when veteran Labour MP Jim Dobbin died earlier this month.
For years the seat was considered to be ‘safe’ by Labour, and had a majority of nearly six thousand in 2010. However, the party are worried the UKIP surge may still rob them of the seat, which has led to the Labour whips desperately sending MPs to the area.
According to the Sun, senior officials in the Labour Party have been left “stunned” by the recent surge in popularity of UKIP. A source within Labour told the Sun that it was “all hands to the pump” and every MP has been called to help retain the seat.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who represents neighbouring Rochdale, said: “We must fight Heywood and Middleton like we’ve never fought a by-election before.
“We need to throw the kitchen sink at it. UKIP is a serious threat here and I’m pleased to say the party have woken to this.”
A win in Heywood and Middleton would be an extraordinary result and would place UKIP as the serious challenger in the 2015 general election. The by-election will be held on the same day as Douglas Carswell seeks re-election in Clacton. Carswell defected to UKIP in late August and immediately resigned his seat, he is widely expected to be re-elected on 9th October.
The Deputy Leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall said: “We are very buoyant about our chances here. I am expecting a very good result for Ukip on the light.”