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2016 Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election

The Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election was a by-election in England for the House of Commons constituency of Sleaford and North Hykeham held on 8 December 2016.[1] It was triggered by the resignation of Conservative MP Stephen Phillips on 4 November 2016. It was the first by-election to be contested in Lincolnshire since the Great Grimsby by-election in 1977, triggered by the death of previous MP Anthony Crosland.

2016 Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election

← 2015 8 December 2016 2017 →

Sleaford and North Hykeham constituency
  First party Second party Third party
  Official portrait of Dr Caroline Johnson crop 2.jpg No image.svg No image.svg
Candidate Caroline Johnson Victoria Ayling Ross Pepper
Party Conservative UKIP Liberal Democrat
Popular vote 17,570 4,426 3,606
Percentage 53.5% 13.5% 11.0%
Swing Decrease2.7% Decrease2.2% Increase5.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Blank Blank
Candidate Jim Clarke Marianne Overton
Party Labour Lincolnshire Independent
Popular vote 3,363 2,892
Percentage 10.2% 8.8%
Swing Decrease7.1% Increase3.6%

Location of Sleaford and North Hykeham within
the parts of Lincolnshire which are within
the Lincolnshire County Council area

MP before election

Stephen Phillips

Elected MP

Caroline Johnson



Phillips had backed Brexit at the 2016 referendum, but criticised the Conservative government under Prime Minister Theresa May for failing to consult Parliament sufficiently.

In his resignation letter to his local Conservative Association, Phillips set out three policy areas where he had fallen out with the Government, including: “its failure to appreciate the constitutional necessity of properly consulting Parliament” on leaving the EU; “the continued shirking of our responsibility for unaccompanied child refugees who have been forced to flee war and conflict;“ and, “the way in which international aid is now apparently to be used other than to assist some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

He then concluded, saying, "It has become clear to me over the last few months that my growing and very significant policy differences with the current government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me".[2]

In the Richmond Park by-election that was held one week before the Sleaford vote, the Liberal Democrats won the seat from former Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith on a substantial swing.

Candidates and campaignEdit

The Conservative campaign started on 5 November, with a candidate to be chosen on 10 November.[3][4] Caroline Johnson, a consultant paediatrician, was selected following a hustings. She stood in Scunthorpe at the 2010 general election.[5]

At least four individuals put themselves forth to be UKIP's candidate: the Lincolnshire County Councillors Richard Davies, Robin Hunter-Clarke and Victoria Ayling, and the party leadership candidate Suzanne Evans.[6] Hunter-Clarke pulled out of the contest.[5] Ayling was selected;[7] she stood for UKIP in the 2016 Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner election (coming second to the Conservatives) and in the Great Grimsby constituency in 2015 (coming third). She had previously stood in Great Grimsby in 2010 as the Conservative candidate (coming second to Labour).

The Liberal Democrats selected Ross Pepper on 11 November.[8] He stood in Lincoln in 2015.

The Labour Party selected Jim Clarke, a refuse collector and former postman.[3]

Marianne Overton, leader of the Lincolnshire Independents, stood as their candidate.

Sarah Stock stood as an independent on a "Save the NHS" platform. The Green Party declared that it would not be fielding a candidate, but instead supported Stock.[9]

Also standing were Peter Hill, also known as The Iconic Arty-Pole, of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party; Mark Suffield, a North Kesteven district councillor;[3] and Paul Coyne, a Sleaford Town Councillor, the two of whom appearing with no ballot paper description.[10]


Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election, 2016[3][11][8][12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Caroline Johnson 17,570 53.5 -2.7
UKIP Victoria Ayling 4,426 13.5 -2.2
Liberal Democrat Ross Pepper 3,606 11.0 +5.3
Labour Jim Clarke 3,363 10.2 -7.1
Lincolnshire Independent Marianne Overton 2,892 8.8 +3.6
Independent Sarah Stock 462 1.4 N/A
Monster Raving Loony The Iconic Arty-Pole 200 0.6 N/A
No label Paul Coyne 186 0.6 N/A
No label Mark Suffield 74 0.2 N/A
Bus-Pass Elvis David Bishop 55 0.2 N/A
Majority 13,144 40.0 +1.1
Turnout 32,893 37.1 -33.1
Conservative hold Swing -0.3

2015 resultEdit

General election 2015: Sleaford and North Hykeham[13][14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Stephen Phillips 34,805 56.2 +4.6
Labour Jason Pandya-Wood 10,690 17.3 +0.4
UKIP Steven Hopkins 9,716 15.7 +12.1
Liberal Democrat Matthew Holden 3,500 5.7 -12.5
Lincolnshire Independent Marianne Overton 3,233 5.2 -1.2
Majority 24,115 38.9
Turnout 61,944 70.2
Conservative hold Swing +2.1

2016 EU referendum resultEdit

The constituency is co-terminous with the district of North Kesteven which, in the EU referendum voted to leave[15]

Turnout Remain votes Leave votes Remain % Leave %
North Kesteven 70.7% 25,570 42,183 37.74% 62.26%

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Date set for Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Tory MP Stephen Phillips quits over 'irreconcilable differences'". BBC News. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Pidluznyj, Stefan (10 November 2016). "First three candidates come forward for Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election". Lincolnshire Reporter. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Conservatives begin campaigning for Stephen Phillips' former Sleaford and North Hykeham seat". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Russell, Sadie (11 November 2016). "Conservatives select doctor for Sleaford and North Hykeham MP". Llincolnshire Live. Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  6. ^ "UPDATE: UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling joins Richard Davies, Robin Hunter-Clarke and Suzanne Evans in showing interest in Sleaford and North Hykeham seat". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  7. ^ Smith, Mikey (13 November 2016). "Ukip selects candidate who made 'send the lot back' video in Westminster by-election". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Lib Dems select Ross Pepper for Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election". 11 November 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Green Party supports NHS campaigner in Sleaford & North Hykeham byelection". Sleaford Standard. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Forget the big boys - this man thinks he can win the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election". Lincolnshire Live. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  11. ^ "First three candidates come forward for Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  12. ^ "UKIP members vying for chance at Sleaford and North Hykeham seat". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Sleaford and North Hykeham parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Referendum Results: Leave or Remain find out how your area voted | Sky News".