2012 Corby by-election

The Corby by-election was a by-election held in England on 15 November 2012 to elect a new Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Corby in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.[1] The election was held on the same day as by-elections in Cardiff South and Penarth and Manchester Central, the first direct election for the post of Mayor of Bristol, and the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections.[2] Andy Sawford, the Labour Party candidate, won with 48% of the vote. The Conservatives' and Liberal Democrats' vote dropped significantly and UKIP came third with their highest-ever vote in a parliamentary by-election to that date.

2012 Corby by-election

← 2010 15 November 2012 2015 →

The Corby seat in the House of Commons.
Elected by simple majority using first past the post. Triggered by resignation of incumbent
  First party Second party Third party
  Blank Blank Blank
Candidate Andy Sawford Christine Emmett Margot Parker
Party Labour Conservative UKIP
Popular vote 17,267 9,476 5,108
Percentage 48.4% 26.6% 14.3%
Swing Increase9.8% Decrease15.6% New party

Map showing the Corby Parliamentary constituency within the English county of Northamptonshire.

MP before election

Louise Mensch

Subsequent MP

Andy Sawford


Formed in 1983, the Corby constituency had been held by the Labour Party since 1997, but was captured by the Conservative candidate, author Louise Mensch (elected under her maiden name, Louise Bagshawe), at the 2010 general election. In an email to the Prime Minister David Cameron on 6 August 2012, Mrs Mensch confirmed her intention to move to New York City to spend time with her new husband, Peter Mensch, whose work is there, and their family. Louise Mensch was appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, thereby resigning her seat in the House of Commons, on 29 August 2012.

All registered Parliamentary electors (i.e. British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens living in the UK and British citizens living overseas) who were aged 18 or over on 15 November 2012 and were on the electoral register for the constituency, were entitled to vote in the by-election. The deadline for voters to register to vote in the by-election was midnight on Wednesday 31 October 2012.[a] However, those who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on Thursday 8 November 2012 to register to vote.[b]

Election campaignEdit

Ed Miliband launched the Labour campaign in the East Northamptonshire town of Thrapston rather than the traditional Labour stronghold of Corby.[3]

In an interview with the Northamptonshire Telegraph at the campaign launch in Corby, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: "We intend to put together a serious campaign here."[4]

A poll conducted 12–18 October by Lord Ashcroft in the constituency found 54% for Labour, 32% for the Conservatives, 10% for the Liberal Democrats and 8% for other candidates.[5]

James Delingpole, a Daily Telegraph journalist who is sceptical of anthropogenic global warming, stated his intention to run as an independent, on a platform opposing wind farms. Delingpole stated this ambition on 17 September 2012 and met with prospective local voters. However, he never formally applied, pulling out after support from the Conservative energy minister, John Hayes, opposing onshore wind farms, which caused a minor rift between Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers. Chris Heaton-Harris, (Con, Daventry) and campaign manager for the party at the by-election, was secretly filmed saying he had encouraged Delingpole to run as a "plan" whereby Delingpole would say he would stand, though he would never actually do so, in order to "cause some hassle" and thus promote opposition to wind farms. Lewes councillor, Donna Edmonds (Con) set up Delingpole's wind-farm campaign website. Both Heaton-Harris and Edmonds argued they had not broken any party rules on supporting an opposition candidate on the grounds that Delingpole never formally became a candidate. The news of the secret footage broke before the election in the national press.[6][7]


The total ballots issued were 35,775, and there were 110 spoilt ballots. The result was the second largest numerical majority ever in the Corby constituency (for any party) since its creation in 1983 (only 1997 was higher). In percentage terms, the Labour majority is only slightly lower than that in 1997 (21.8% compared to 22.0%). The result also represented the highest ever vote and share for UKIP at a parliamentary by-election at the time (the highest share record was broken at Rotherham two weeks later, and the record for largest number of UKIP votes polled in a by-election was broken at Eastleigh in February 2013). Corby was also the fourth by-election (out of nine in Great Britain up to that time) of the 2010 parliament at which the Liberal Democrats lost their deposit.

This was the first seat gained by Labour in a by-election since the Wirral South by-election in 1997, and it is the most recent by-election which resulted in a Labour gain.

A recount delayed the declaration of the result, called by the agent of the Liberal Democrat candidate, Jill Hope, who came 13 votes short of holding her deposit.

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
Corby by-election, 2012
Resignation of Louise Mensch
Turnout: 35,665 (44.8%) −24.4
Labour gain from Conservative
Majority: 7,791 (21.8%)
Swing: 12.7% from Con to Lab
Andy SawfordLabour17,26748.4+9.8
Christine Emmett Conservative9,47626.6−15.6
Margot Parker UKIP5,10814.3New
Jill Hope Liberal Democrats1,7705.0−9.5
Gordon Riddell BNP6141.7−3.0
David Wickham English Democrat4321.2New
Jonathan Hornett Green3781.1New
Ian Gillman Independent2120.6New
Peter Reynolds Cannabis Law Reform1370.4New
David Bishop Church of the Militant Elvis990.3New
Mr Mozzarella Independent730.2New
Rohen Kapur Young People's390.1New
Adam Lotun Democracy 2015350.1New
Christopher Scotton United People's Party250.1New
  • The Labour Party candidate Andy Sawford was chosen in 2011.[3] He is the chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit[8] and is the son of the former Kettering MP Phil Sawford.[9][10] Sawford said he is a "Northamptonshire lad" who can trace his roots "at least eight generations".[11]
  • On 1 September 2012, the Conservative Party confirmed the choice of the Rutland county councillor Christine Emmett as their defending candidate.[12][13] Emmett was a member of William Hague's "Northern Transport Commission" and has been involved in NHS and transport infrastructure projects.[14][15] She believes that it is important for people to "train for the jobs we have".[11]
  • The UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate was Margot Parker, who stood for Libertas in the 2009 European Parliament elections in the East Midlands.[16][17] She stood against the "government's need to micro-manage every aspect" of people's lives.[11]
  • Jill Hope, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said she was standing to deal with unemployment in the constituency as "here the issue is isolation and lack of access to work".[11]
  • Gordon Riddell, the British National Party candidate, stood on a platform of finding jobs and housing for local people.[11]
  • On 30 August 2012, David Wickham was confirmed as the English Democrats' candidate through an affiliated blog.[18] Wickham is a father of four who wants to reverse the decline in manufacturing, the establishment of an English parliament, ending mass uncontrolled immigration and removing the UK from the EU.[11]
  • On 6 October, the Green Party announced that Jonathan Hornett had been selected as its candidate following a ballot of local members. He stated, "The Green Party is the only alternative to cuts, climate change and social injustice. Locally we want more wind farms and public services; and no more housing developments, roads, warehouses or nuclear waste."[19]
  • Independent candidate Ian Gillman stood as the UK Independence Party candidate in Corby at the 2001 general election.[20]
  • It was announced on 3 September that Peter Reynolds, leader of Cannabis Law Reform (formerly the Legal Cannabis Alliance) would stand as a candidate.[21] He argues that the cannabis issue shows how the main parties "refuse to listen to public opinion".[11]
  • David Bishop stood as candidate for the Elvis Loves Pets party, the latest incarnation of the Church of the Militant Elvis Party.
  • 'Mr Mozzarella' was a character appearing in advertisements for Just-Eat, a company which helps people order from takeaway restaurants, who set up the 'Don't Cook Party'. The head of brand marketing for Just Eat, Richard Murfitt, was the election agent for Mozzarella.[22]
  • On 2 September, the Young People's Party announced that they would stand Dr Rohen Kapur,[23] previously an independent candidate in the Hornsey and Wood Green seat in the 2010 general election.[24] Dr Kapur would abolish income tax and VAT.[11]
  • On 30 August, it was announced that Adam Lotun was to stand as an Independent candidate with the backing of Democracy 2015.[25] Lotun stood on a platform of a living wage and renationalisation of public transport.[11] The party was first publicly mooted on 4 September 2012, and this was the first election in which it was involved.
  • Christopher Scotton, East Midlands organiser, was confirmed as the candidate for the newly formed United People's Party.[26] He describes the UPP as "non-xenophobic" which promotes international co-operation.[11]

Past resultEdit

Election Political result Candidate Party Votes % ±%
General election 2010
New boundaries
Turnout: 54,180 (69.2%)
Conservative win (new boundaries)
Majority: 1,951 (3.6%)
Louise BagshaweConservative22,88642.2N/A
Phil Hope Labour20,93538.6N/A
Portia Wilson Liberal Democrats7,83414.5N/A
Roy Davies BNP2,5254.7N/A

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The deadline for the receipt of electoral registration applications is the eleventh working day before election day.
  2. ^ The deadline for the receipt and determination of anonymous electoral registration applications is the same as the publication date of the notice of alteration to the Electoral Register, i.e. the fifth working day before election day.


  1. ^ Louise Mensch to quit as an MP triggering Corby by-election BBC News
  2. ^ Louise Mensch MP quits to care for young family Daily Telegraph
  3. ^ a b Juliette Jowit (9 August 2012). "Labour off to a flyer in Corby byelection campaign". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  4. ^ Margot and Jim make a bid to impress voters Northamptonshire Telegraph
  5. ^ Corby By-Election: Tories Face Major Defeat, Sky News, 23 October 2012
  6. ^ Tory MP running Corby campaign 'backed rival in anti-windfarm plot', by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans, The Guardian, Tuesday 13 November 2012
  7. ^ "Tory MP denies plot to back anti-wind farm candidate in Corby by-election". 14 November 2012.
  8. ^ "LGiU staff".
  9. ^ As Louise Mensch resigns - Introducing Labour's candidate for Corby LabourList
  10. ^ Andy Sawford for Corby and East Northants Archived 13 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Labour Online
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Corby by-election: Candidates' profiles". BBC News. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  12. ^ Ketton ward councillors Archived 8 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Rutland County Council
  13. ^ Conservatives pick Christine Emmett as Corby candidate BBC News
  14. ^ Why small businesses need the Conservatives - and what we must be offering them ConservativeHome
  15. ^ About Christine Emmett Personal website
  16. ^ Margot Parker Archived 20 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine UKIP
  17. ^ Margot Parker, Libertas East Midlands
  18. ^ English Democrats select David Whickham for the Corby By-Election[permanent dead link] English Passport
  19. ^ "Corby and East Northamptonshire Parliamentary By-Election Candidate Selected". Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  20. ^ Candidates for 2001 Election Demon
  21. ^ Reynolds, Peter (3 September 2012). "CLEAR To Contest The Corby By-Election". Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  22. ^ Farey-Jones, Daniel (1 November 2012). "Just Eat enters ad character in by-election". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  23. ^ "Parties reveal candidates for corby and east northants by election".
  24. ^ Profile Archived 10 February 2013 at archive.today Your Next MP
  25. ^ "A dramatic step forward for Democracy 2015: Adam Lotun to stand in". The Independent. 9 October 2012.
  26. ^ United People's Party Archived 19 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine