Wakefield by-election result: Labour defeat Tories to retake seat - BBC


Wakefield by-election: Labour win a great result, says Keir Starmer By Tom Airey & Julia Bryson BBC News About sharing Wakefield by-election 2022 New Labour MP Simon Lightwood pledges to 'restore trust' after win Sir Keir Starmer has hailed his party's victory in the Wakefield by-election as a "great result for Labour" as it won the seat back from the Conservatives. Simon Lightwood defeated Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed by 4,925 votes in the poll to overturn a majority of 3,358. Visiting the town on Friday, the Labour leader said voters saw a party that was "absolutely focused on the issues affecting working people". The victory signifies Labour's first by-election gain since Corby in 2012. Wakefield's vote followed the resignation of ex-Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was jailed in May for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. Prior to Khan's election in 2019, the constituency had been held by Labour since the early 1930s. Live: Reaction and analysis as Tories lose two seats Lib Dems take Tiverton and Honiton in by-election Mr Lightwood received 13,166 votes in total, with Mr Ahmed taking 8,241 - a 12.7% swing from Conservative to Labour. Turnout was 39.09%, with 27,205 ballots cast out of an electorate of 69,601. PA Media Sir Keir Starmer said it was a "great result for Labour" On a visit to Ossett, a market town in the West Yorkshire constituency, Mr Starmer said: "The Tory Party is absolutely imploding. "They know they're out of ideas and they're out of touch. If they had any decency they'd get out of the way for the next Labour government because what happened here in Wakefield was people exercising their judgment on this Conservative government and voting no confidence." Six takeaways for Tories from by-election doorsteps However, polling expert and political scientist Professor Sir John Curtice told Radio 4's Today programme that the Wakefield result did not suggest "any great enthusiasm" for the Labour Party. "The decline in the Conservative vote is more than twice as big as the rise in the Labour vote," he said. "It looks as though quite a lot of voters in Wakefield who were unhappy with the Conservatives took the opportunity to vote for an independent candidate - a Tory councillor - who resigned in March, partly over Partygate." A total of 15 candidates competed for the Wakefield seat during the by-election Minutes after the declaration in Wakefield, the Liberal Democrats took Tiverton and Honiton in Devon from the Conservatives, overturning a majority of more than 24,000. It takes the total number of Labour MPs in the House of Commons to 200, with the night's two by-election results meaning Prime Minister Boris Johnson's majority has fallen to 68. Speaking on stage after the result was declared in Wakefield, winner Simon Lightwood said the result "turned the page on Tory neglect". "The people of Wakefield have spoken on behalf of the British people. "They have said, unreservedly: 'Boris Johnson, your contempt for this country is no longer tolerated.'" Speaking to the BBC after the result, Mr Lightwood, who is originally from South Shields, said: "I feel absolutely exhilarated, I feel so humbled to be returned as Wakefield's new MP. "I think it says that Labour is making real progress, rebuilding that red wall, rebuilding the trust of the electorate and people are ready for a fresh start." Reuters NHS worker Simon Lightwood recorded 13,166 votes for Labour Big smiles from Labour - quick exits from the Conservatives. Labour were nervy earlier in the night but it became clear pretty quickly that they were going to get over the line - but by how much? They'll say a majority of nearly 5,000 is evidence they can take back seats here that they lost in 2019. The Conservatives will point to this by-election being called for a very specific reason. Boris Johnson-supporting MPs nearby say they back him because he's an election winner. But he's not today - does that change how his party views him? The prime minister didn't visit this constituency during the campaign. A missed opportunity or damage limitation? There will be plenty of analysis - but people in Wakefield who have effectively been without an MP for more than a year have now got someone talking for them at Westminster. Conservatives North Conservative candidate Nadeem Ahmed finished second, taking 8,241 votes - 4,925 fewer than Mr Lightwood Following the double by-election defeat for the Conservatives, Oliver Dowden resigned as party chairman, saying in a letter to the prime minister that "someone must take responsibility". Speaking at the Wakefield count before the result, Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, said: "I've been on the doorstep for the last month, we've had nearly 130 MPs up, only a handful of people mentioned Partygate to me. "There's certainly apathy there, but there's certainly not love for [Keir] Starmer." On Monday, Mr Ahmed apologised after referring to serial killer Harold Shipman in an analogy about trusting the Tory party. i Facebook i Twitter and Instagram . Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk or send video here . 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