ON PAPER the Eastleigh by-election will be the first head-to-head contest between the Tories and Lib Dems since the two parties formed the coalition in May 2010.
The constituency on the south coast of England was until 1994 a Conservative safe seat when the Lib Dems won it in a by-election following the strange death of Stephen Milligan.
Mr Milligan was found dead by his secretary in his flat in Chiswick with an orange in his mouth in a state combined with self-bondage and cross dressing.
The incident became part of the sleaze to envelope the John Major government as the then Prime Minister attempted to launch a “back to basics” campaign.
Mr Milligan had achieved 51 per cent of the vote in 1992, but the Lib Dem David Chidgey took the seat with 44 per cent of the vote in the by-election and the party has not relinquished the seat since.
Chris Huhne held on to the seat for the Lib Demsin 2005 after a bitterly fought local campaign against the Tory Conor Burns winning by just 568.
In the last election he increased his majority to more than 3,000.
But with the Lib Dems suffering in the polls as a result of being in the coalition, the Tories believe they can win it back.
But potentially the by-election could become a four way split between the two parties of government and Labour and UKIP.