Corby by-election: David Cameron’s Tories humiliated
The road to Downing Street runs through Corby, says jubilant Labour victor; Lib Dems lose their deposit
DAVID CAMERON'S Conservatives were humiliated today when results of the Corby by-election showed Labour had taken the Tory seat by a majority of almost 8,000. Also worrying for Cameron, the anti-Europe party UKIP came a strong third, knocking the Lib-Dems into fourth place.
The voting figures were: Labour 17,267; Conservative 9,473; UKIP 5,108; Lib Dems 1,770 and others 992. The Lib Dems lost their deposit.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Conservative MP Louise Mensch who won the seat at the 2010 general election by almost 2,000 votes from Labour.
Mensch, who quit Westminster politics to live with her family in New York, tweeted today that an electoral rout would be her fault not that of the party or the Tories' candidate in Corby, Christine Emmett.
But is this the first time Labour have taken a Tory seat at a by-election in 15 years and the result will be of particular concern to senior Tories because Corby is a bellwether seat which usually reflects nationwide voting. Labour won with a swing of 12.7 per cent according to the BBC. If there were a general election tomorrow, Labour could expect a nationwide majority of 100-plus seats.
Jubilant Labour candidate Andy Sawford said: "The road to Downing Street runs through Corby". Labour party leader Ed Miliband said: "This constituency has sent a very clear message today... that it's putting its trust in a one-party Labour party."
Coalition leader David Cameron defended the Tory party's poor showing even before the result of the Corby poll finally came through at 3.45pm today after a partial recount. He said he expected "a classic mid-term result". The government would "listen" to the electorate, he added.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said his party's strong showing might be construed as a "protest vote", but "they could also be people wanting commonsense policies."
In other by-elections and PCC elections held yesterday …
- Labour's Stephen Doughty claimed Cardiff South and Penarth, winning 9,193 votes. The result was not unexpected, but Labour will be encouraged by a healthy swing of 8.41 per cent from the Conservatives. Voter turnout in the constituency was 25.65 per cent.
- Manchester Central fell to Labour's Lucy Powell who won with 11.507 votes. Voter turnout was 18.16 per cent, the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since Leeds Central in 1999. There were substantial swings against both Coalition parties with the Liberal Democrat vote down 16.77 per cent and Tory candidate Matthew Sephton losing his deposit as he only managed 754 votes, less than 5% of the total turnout.
- Britain's first elected police and crime commissioner, Conservative Angus Macpherson, admitted to The Daily Telegraph the general public did not know what the job entails or who the candidates were. Macpherson was elected with the support of just 6.8 per cent of voters.
- The turnout for the police and crime commissioner elections is likely to be the "worst turnout for any nationwide set of elections ever", The Telegraph said. Polling expert Professor John Curtice from Srathclyde University told the paper the dismal turnout – as low as 10 per cent in some parts of the country – raised the question of whether "the whole exercise was worth it in the first place". Voters had been left "struggling" after candidates for the police and crime commissioner elections all promised much the same thing, Professor Curtice said.