The most important figures in by-elections are swing and turnout.
The swing to Labour in Tamworth was 23.9 per cent and 20.5 in Mid-Bedfordshire.
The record Conservative to Labour swing in a by-election was 29.2 per cent in the Dudley West by-election of 1994.
The following by-election swings during the 1992-97 Parliament were bigger than Mid-Bedfordshire’s yesterday: Dagenham (23.1 per cent), South East Staffordshire (22.1 per cent), Barking (22 per cent).
The Conservative to Labour swing in the Mid-Staffordshire by-election of 1990 was 21.3 per cent, and in Selby & Ainsty in this Parliament it was 23.7 per cent.
The turnout in Mid-Bedfordshire was 44.1 per cent and in Tamworth it was 35.9 per cent. These look to be in the middle of the pack. By way of comparison, the lowest on record was 18.2 per cent at Manchester Central in 1990.
All in all, Labour, during the early part of this Parliament, wasn’t achieving by-election swings on the scale of Tony Blair’s during the mid-1990s. Now, it is. In particular, it saw off the Liberal Democrats in Mid-Bedfordshire yesterday.
If anything, the Party Conference season seems to have strengthened Sir Keir Starmer’s position.
My last expectation of the next election was between a Conservative majority of ten and a Labour one of about 50.
I would now push that range from no Conservative majority to a Labour one of 60 or so.
Even taking by-election turnouts into account, these results are terrible for Rishi Sunak, and suggest that Sir Keir is on course to win.