The Liberal Democrats have announced that Eastleigh will go to the polls to select their next MP on February 28 – just over three weeks time.
The Lib Dems could have taken up to three months but party bosses have decided to go for a short sharp campaign – possibly one of the shortest on record.
One local opposition politician complained to Eastleigh News that the campaign will coincide with the a half–term school break – when many people go away on holiday.
So far no candidates have been declared although Ukip leader Nigel Farage has ruled himself.
Candidates are expected to be all declared by Monday.
The Liberal Democrats are defending a majority of 3,864.
With no candidates declared bookmakers currently have The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as neck and neck favourites trading at around evens.
Three book makers have Ukip ahead of Labour with the shortest price for Ukip 6/1, the shortest price for Labour being 12/1.
One bookmaker( bet365) has Ukip and Labour tied for third at 14/1 each and Betfair has Labour ahead of Ukip with 15/1 against 17/1.
Prices taken from oddschecker correct at time of post and will move. Check their website for the latest odds.
Conservative chairman Grant Shapps told the BBC:
“For too long the people of Eastleigh have been let down by an MP who was being less than straightforward.
“Residents will take a dim view about having been lied to by their Lib Dem MP.”
While Tim Farron for the Lib Dems said:
“Liberal Democrats have proud 20-year record of action in Eastleigh, fighting for people in both local government and in Westminster”
“The people of Eastleigh should have the opportunity to elect someone to serve the constituency as soon as possible.”
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