Labour Regain Wakefield From The Tories As Keir Starmer Passes By-Election Test

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Winning Labour candidate Simon Lightwood stands behind Keir Starmer during the Wakefield by-election campaign. (Photo: Dave Higgens via PA Wire/PA Images)
Winning Labour candidate Simon Lightwood stands behind Keir Starmer during the Wakefield by-election campaign. (Photo: Dave Higgens via PA Wire/PA Images)

Winning Labour candidate Simon Lightwood stands behind Keir Starmer during the Wakefield by-election campaign. (Photo: Dave Higgens via PA Wire/PA Images)

Labour has regained Wakefield as Boris Johnson suffered yet another by-election nightmare.

In a major boost for Keir Starmer, his party overturned the Tories’ 3,358 majority to win by 4,925 votes - a swing of 12.7 per cent.

It means Labour has begun to rebuild the so-called “Red Wall” of English seats which fell to the Conservatives at the 2019 election.

Labour’s Simon Lightwood received 13,166 votes, with the Tories’ Nadeem Ahmed in second place on 8,241.

The by-election was called after the sitting Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, quit after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The result also adds to the pressure on Johnson, who is desperately trying to convince his own MPs that he can lead them to victory again in the future.

It follows the Tories losing North Shropshire to the Lib Dems last December, and Chesham and Amersham to the same party exactly a year ago.

In a further blow for the prime minister, the Conservatives are also set to lose the Tiverton and Honiton by-election tonight, again to the Lib Dems.

It is the first time a governing party has lost two by-elections on the same day since 1991, when John Major was prime minister.

The latest crushing losses come less than three weeks after 148 of Johnson’s own MPs voted against a motion of confidence in his leadership.

Although it is not unusual for governments to lose by-elections, the sheer scale of the reversal in Tory fortunes since 2019 will concern MPs who will now believe their own seats are at risk.

Johnson, who is in Rwanda at a Commonwealth heads of government summit, yesterday rejected suggestions that he would have to quit if he lost both by-elections.

He said: “I’m going to be watching the results with interests but always full of optimism and buoyancy but most seasoned political observers know that by-elections in mid-term are never necessarily easy for any government.”

Speaking after the Wakefield result was announced, Starmer said: “Wakefield has shown the country has lost confidence in the Tories.

“This result is a clear judgement on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas. Britain deserves better.

“Wakefield has voted Labour because we have the solutions for the challenges facing the British people. The Labour Party is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before, and ready for government.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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