It looks like both Labour and Ukip candidates are now badly damaged candidates in this sorry excuse for a by-election. Voters now have to choose between a Labour candidate who has openly tweeted about "rancid twat-bags" and giving women "a good slap", and an increasingly dodgy-looking Liverpudlian fibber.
It seems clear now that neither should have been chosen, and neither is a good choice to represent the city to the world, regardless of what you may think of the respective merits of 'save the NHS' or 'secure Brexit'. Though there seems little hope that both candidates will do the decent thing and jointly withdraw for the sake of the city, thus letting the two excellent local Lib Dem and Conservative candidates take the race to the finishing line in a respectable manner.
Well, at least the 7000+ local conservatives in the Stoke Central constituency (probably more now, after the 2015 election and Brexit and the Trump victory) can now vote for the fresh and local and squeaky-clean Conservative candidate, without too many qualms that they'll be splitting the vote and letting in Labour. Because the antics of Ukip and Labour have jointly thrown it all up in the air and the votes are going... who knows where? The Conservatives now need to get some more heavyweight speakers and campaigners up here sharpish, I'd suggest. Ideally, as I suggested here at the start of the by-election campaign, they might have started doing that back in the 2015 General Election.