I have spoken this afternoon with a Labour friend of mine who has contacts in Ealing Southall and he says Labour are becoming more confident of hanging on than they were seven days ago, and they have the defection of five Labour councillors to the Tories to thank for this.
Seven days ago the Lib Dems were, according to him, building up a head of steam. however, the Tories have made much of the defection of Labour councillors too them and this has had a positive effect for Labour from two groups of voters.
The first group are those Labour voters who wanted to vote Lib Dem to punish Labour but who are not Tory inclined at all. The defections have seen what the Lib Dems describe as "Soft Labour", becoming more hardened Labour voters because they want to ensure there is no chance of a Tory victory.
The second group is amongst those die hard anti Labour voters who are now less sure who to support in order to see Labour lose. A week ago they were going mostly to the Lib Dems, but the Tories are now taking some of this group of voters, and there is a now a greater chance of them taking votes that would have gone to the Liberal Democrats, ensuring a more evenly split opposition vote that could help Labour enormously.
With seven days to go, it is a case of everything is left to play for. Traditionally the Lib Dems are stronger finishers than the other parties in by-elections, so they would have the greater chance of creating some momentum, but I may well take a punt on Labour to win in Ealing Southall on Betfair later.