Newark by-election

With just two days to go until the by-election in Newark, the Nottinghamshire town has faced a deluge of politicians across every party.

It is the Conservatives who have gone all out, with team 2015 out in force most days, that of over 60 volunteers.

On David Cameron’s fourth trip he spoke to a group of workers, and told them: “A dog is for life not just for Christmas, it's a bit the same with your Member of Parliament.”

All the activity seems to have paid off, with a poll from Lord Ashcroft suggesting the Tories now have a significant lead among prospective voters.

Researchers asked a sample of 1,000 adults in the constituency which party they planned to back come Thursday, with the Conservatives coming out top on 42 per cent.

Ukip were a full 15 points behind, while Labour trailed in third on 20 per cent. Though it won’t be the most embarrassing result in recent elections for the Lib Dems, on just 6 per cent they faced the very real prospect of losing their deposit.

Lord Ashcroft also released figures showing 70 per cent of voters planning to back Ukip's Roger Helmer in the by-election admitted to doing so in a general protest to show they were unhappy with “all the main parties”.

And the poll showed a majority of Ukip supporters - more than six in 10 - said they were only backing Nigel Farage's party as “a message”.

Speaking yesterday as he supported the Tory candidate Robert Jenrick, the Prime Minister said he understood the “temptations” of a protest vote and sad that was “absolutely people’s right”.

“You choose. You're my boss - you're his boss. If you think he'd do a good job, vote for him; if you think I do a good job, vote for me at the next election. If you want to get rid of me at the next election, vote for someone else,” he said.

Labour’s Ed Balls and deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman were also in Newark to support their candidate Michael Payne. With little prospect of success in the vote this week itself, the shadow Chancellor said his party were there “laying the foundations for a General Election that is less than 12 months away”. However their campaign has already failed with voters as Mr Balls was photographed trying to shakes hands with members of the public, who in responses said "Oh no, we'd never voter for your lot after what you did".

Only a Conservative victory will ensure that the people of Newark, a predominantly Conservative area, get their views represented by a member of parliament who is not a protest candidate, but someone who is a member of the governing party and can therefore make a real Conservative difference.