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

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

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By Tom Airey
BBC Yorkshire

Media caption, New Labour MP Simon Lightwood pledges to ‘restore trust’ after win

Labour has won the Wakefield by-election to regain the West Yorkshire seat it lost to the Conservatives at the 2019 General Election.

Simon Lightwood defeated Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed by 4,925 votes in the poll to overturn a majority of 3,358.

The 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.

The victory signifies Labour’s first by-election gain since Corby in 2012.

Prior to Khan’s election in 2019, the Wakefield constituency had been held by Labour since the early 1930s.

Image caption, A total of 15 candidates competed for the Wakefield seat during the 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.

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, Mr 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.'”

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.

Labour leader Sir Keir 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.”

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer supported Simon Lightwood on the campaign trail in Wakefield

The Labour leader said the result showed his party “is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before, and ready for government”.

Speaking to the BBC after the result, Mr Lightwood 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.”

Image source, Reuters

Image caption, NHS worker Simon Lightwood recorded 13,166 votes for Labour

Image source, Conservatives North

Image caption, 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.

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Source : Google News

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