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By-Election Results Announced

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Yesterday, voters in the constituencies of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Somerton and Frome and Selby and Ainsty, took to the polling stations to elect their new Member of Parliament. This by-election was triggered by the recent resignation of now former MPs Boris Johnson, Nigel Adams and David Warburton. Hannah Walton-Hughes reports on the results. 

Results from the 3 by-elections were released throughout the early morning. 

A recount was called

The first announcement was in Boris Johnson’s former constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. This seat had the smallest Conservative majority of the 3. A total of seventeen candidates were running from a variety of parties. 

A recount was called, due to the fact that the vote between the Conservative and Labour candidates was so close.  

Results for the two main parties were as follows. 13,965 for the Conservative candidate, Steve Tuckwell. 13,470 for Labour’s Danny Beales. Therefore, the Tories have held the seat. 

This is an better result than was expected; there were predictions that the Conservatives could have been on track to lose all 3 seats. Labour had also been described as ‘confident’ about winning this particular seat. 

“Sadiq Khan has lost Labour this election”

However, there was nonetheless a swing towards Labour in Uxbridge, with the Tories only winning by 495 votes. 

Furthermore, Steve Tuckwell himself in his acceptance speech, cited the win as being a result of the unpopularity of ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone) expansion in London. “Sadiq Khan has lost Labour this election”.  

The second announcement was from Somerton and Frome, Dan Warburton’s former constituency. Sarah Dyke, the Liberal Democrats candidate, won the seat by a large amount- 54.6% of the vote, as opposed to 26.2% by the Conservatives, and 2.6% by Labour.  

They overturned the previous 19,000 majority the Tories had.  

In her speech, Sarah Dyke emphasised that ‘progressive parties can use tactical voting to beat Conservative candidates’ and thanked Green and Labour supporters for “lending” her their votes. 

Finally, at around 4:10am, it was confirmed that Labour had won Selby and Ainsty, Nigel Adam’s former constituency, with a majority of 4,161, and a final vote count of 16,456. This compared to 1,188 for the Lib Dems, and 12,295 for the Conservatives. 

Labour’s biggest swing in a by-election since 1994

The new MP for this constituency is twenty-five-year-old Keir Mather, who will become the youngest MP in the House of Commons. He said “we have re-written the rules on where Labour can win”, and thanked voters for putting their faith in the party.  

This victory marks Labour’s biggest swing in a by-election since 1994, and their largest overturned Tory majority in a by-election since 1945. 

Voter turnout was fairly high overall: 44.23% for Somerton and Frome, 46.23% for Uxbridge and just under 45% for Selby and Ainsty. 

Whilst the night was not as dire as some had predicted for the Conservatives, they have still lost 2 majorities. Labour also suffered some disappointment- they had being expecting to win Uxbridge and South Ruislip. 

Sir John Curtice, polling expert, said the Conservatives are still in “considerable electoral trouble”, and shouldn’t take too much comfort in the Uxbridge victory- Tory support dropped on average across the 3 constituencies.  

Furthermore, it has been reported that there was tactical voting between Lib Dem and Labour supporters. 

The PM accepted that the circumstances surrounding the elections were “far from favourable”

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded to the results this morning, commenting that the party’s victory in Uxbridge demonstrates that the next election is not “a done deal”.

Nevertheless, the PM accepted that the circumstances surrounding the elections were “far from favourable”, and that it shows that politicians have to focus “on what matters to people”.  

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, was extremely pleased with his party’s result when he visited the Somerton and Frome constituency this morning. 

Mr. Davey said people were fed up with the “Conservative clowns”, and that they see that the Lib Dems are “listening to them”.  

When Keir Starmer visited Selby and Ainsty today, he said that this result shows that Labour “can win anywhere”, and that people “voted for change”. However, he acknowledged the party “must continue too earn the trust of the voters”.  

Local elections and by-elections cannot be directly translated into predictions of a general election, but results such as these do serve as an indication of how voters are currently thinking.

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Elliott Stallion via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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