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Politicians rarely make sense in the aftermath of a by-election. Neither Clacton nor Heywood and Middleton (9 October 2014) were exceptions. David Cameron claims that a vote for Ukip will put Ed Miliband in Downing Street. Nigel Farage suggests that voting Labour benefits the Tories.
The recall of Parliament during a recess is a signifier that grave matters are afoot. As the debating forum of a democracy, it does more than make decisions – it expresses itself in full view of the electorate it is there to represent.