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Labour’s Simon Lightwood defeated Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed by 4,925 votes to overturn a majority of 3,358 - a swing of 12.7 per cent.
The result means Labour has won back a seat which switched to the Conservatives in 2019 for the first time in decades and was part of Mr Johnson’s triumph in the red wall - traditional Labour voting seats in the north of England and the Midlands.
It is also Labour’s first by-election gain since Corby in 2012. If the same swing were replicated in a general election then that would be enough to deliver a Labour majority.
Speaking on Friday morning in Wakefield, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “This is a huge swing to Labour and vindicates how for the last two years we have been changing the Labour Party to make it into that confident party, that party that is facing the voters and is laser like focused on the issues that effect them and that’s why people have put their faith in Simon, put their faith in our Labour party.
“Now we have had the sort of swing that not only puts us on track not just for a Labour government but a majority Labour government. This is hugely significant for the Labour party. This is evidence we are on course for a Labour government.”
Tory party chair Oliver Dowden resigned on Friday morning following the by-election defeats in Wakefield and the Devon seat ofTiverton and Honiton, adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership.
Responding to Mr Downden’s resignation, Sir Keir added: “The Tory party is absolutely imploding..they know they are out of ideas and out of touch. If they had any decency they would get out the way for the next Labour government.”