2016 Sleaford by-election

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Event.png 2016 Sleaford by-election  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Jim Clarke1.jpg
Dustman, former postman and GMB activist Jim Clarke

The 2016 Sleaford by-election, caused by the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips on 4 November 2016 over the issue of Brexit, is scheduled to take place on 8 December 2016.

The Tory majority bequeathed by Phillips of 24,115 over the second place Labour candidate at the 2015 General Election had been considered impregnable – that is until the Lib Dem Sarah Olney's shock defeat of Tory MP Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election on 1 December 2016, when she overturned his 23,015 majority. However, Sarah Olney was not opposed by the Conservatives, UKIP or the Green Party, whereas at the Sleaford by-election, Labour's Jim Clarke faces candidates from all three major parties.[1]

On 2 December 2016, the Lincolnshire Reporter published interviews with Jim Clarke and eight other candidates standing in the by-election.[2]


Conservative candidate Caroline Johnson was elected with a 13,144 majority, comfortably beating UKIP's Victoria Ayling into second place. Labour slipped to fourth place behind the Liberal Democrats. The new MP Dr Johnson said her presence at Westminster would bolster Theresa May's majority and support the Prime Minister on Brexit.

  • Dr Caroline Johnson (Conservative) 17,570 (53.51%, -2.68%)
  • Victoria Ayling (UKIP) 4,426 (13.48%, -2.21%)
  • Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrat) 3,606 (10.98%, +5.33%)
  • Jim Clarke (Labour) 3,363 (10.24%, -7.02%)
  • Marianne Overton (Lincs Ind) 2,892 (8.81%, +3.59%)
  • Sarah Stock (Ind) 462 (1.41%)
  • The Iconic Arty-Pole (Loony) 200 (0.61%)
  • Paul Coyne (ND) 186 (0.57%)
  • Mark Suffield (ND) 74 (0.23%)
  • David Bishop (BP Elvis) 55 (0.17%)
  • C maj 13,144 (40.03%)
  • 0.24% swing C to UKIP
  • Electorate 88,712; Turnout 32,834 (37.01%, -33.23%)[3]



Dustman, former postman and GMB activist Jim Clarke was chosen by the local CLP on 9 November as Labour’s candidate for the seat. He said:

“We have a Tory government with no plan for Brexit. Here in Sleaford and North Hykeham 62% of people voted for Brexit.
“But they didn’t vote to put their jobs at risk, they didn’t vote to lose their rights at work and they didn’t vote for price rises on everyday essentials.
“Immigration played a big part in the Brexit result and I will not ignore that. We need to earn people’s trust and show that we respect will of the people, but will also hold the government to account on ensuring the best deal for Britain, which protects our local jobs.
"I will be a campaigning candidate, and I will be out on the doors from tomorrow, standing up for local people showing them that only Labour will put Sleaford and North Hykeham first.
"I am ready for the challenge to be Sleaford’s next MP."[4]


On 11 November, Consultant paediatrician Caroline Johnson, who contested the Scunthorpe seat in the 2010 General Election (coming second to Labour) was selected for the by-election. Dr Johnson, who is married with three children, said:

"I am the only person who can support the prime minister and the government to deliver Brexit. I am completely behind the government's plans for Brexit and to deliver on the decision made by the British people."[5]

Liberal Democrats

Former Chair of Lincoln Lib Dems Ross Pepper, who works for a "well known Opticians", was selected on 11 November.[6]


UKIP leadership contender Suzanne Evans announced on 11 November that she was pulling out of the selection process for the by-election.[7] Two days later, UKIP decided its candidate will be county councillor Victoria Ayling. UKIP chairman Paul Oaken said:

"Victoria is already working hard to represent local people and will now use all of her experience to make sure that UKIP continues to speak up for the common sense voters in Sleaford and North Hykeham."[8]


  • Kesteven district councillor Mark Suffield is standing as an Independent.
  • Peter Hill, who is also known as The Iconic Arty-Pole, is standing for the Monster Raving Loony Party.[9]