The court’s decision that the Oldham East and Saddleworth election must be re-run
because Phil Woolas was guilty of illegal practices under election law presents the coalition with a dilemma. Do both parties campaign
fully in this three-way marginal?
Oldham East and Saddleworth is number 83 on the Tory target seats list, it would require just over a five percent swing
for them to win. But the Lib Dems are even closer, only a hundred odd votes behind Labour.
If both of the coalition parties went all out for it, Labour would have a much better chance of holding on and winning the seat would be a welcome morale boost for the Lib Dems who were down at
nine percent in one poll this week. I expect that the Tories will field a candidate. But just how much support the candidate gets will be fascinating. Certainly from a coalition perspective, a Lib
Dem win would help Nick Clegg soothe the jangled nerves of some in his party.