Rotherham By-Election: Labour Secures Victory

Rotherham By-Election: Labour Secures Victory

Labour has held onto Rotherham in a parliamentary by-election which saw a surge towards the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and disastrous results for both coalition parties.

The Conservatives finished fifth behind not only UKIP but also the British National Party and Respect, while Tory candidate Simon Wilson only held onto his deposit by a whisker.

Liberal Democrat Michael Beckett came eighth and lost his deposit, trailing behind the English Democrats and an independent.

Labour's Sarah Champion won comfortably with 9,866 votes, a majority of 5,218 (24.46%) over UKIP.

The party's majority in a seat it has held since 1933 was marginally down on the 27.9% it recorded in the 2010 general election.

The Rotherham by-election was one of three staged in Labour-held seats on Thursday.

Labour's Andy McDonald held the seat of Middlesbrough with a large majority of 8,211, while the party also kept the Croydon North constituency.

The Rotherham poll was forced by the resignation of Denis MacShane in the wake of a report condemning him for abusing parliamentary expenses.

Labour described Ms Champion as a "clean break" candidate following the scandal surrounding Mr MacShane, and she becomes the first ever woman MP for the seat.

After the result was announced, Ms Champion urged the Government to "get Rotherham back to work".

"I've never stood for election before but when I see the damage David Cameron is doing to Rotherham I cannot stand and watch," she said.

She said she was not a career politician and will serve "not for what I can get out of it but what I can put into it".

On a turnout of 21,330 (33.63%), UKIP recorded its best ever by-election result with 4,648 votes (21.79%).

Jubilant UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "Our previous best ever by-election result a fortnight ago was 14.3% and this one is comfortably over 20%. Whichever way you look at it, UKIP is on the rise."

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