Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Coalition parties crumble in poll

Counting of the votes in the Rotherham by-election takes place at the Magna Science Centre

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

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.

And Liberal Democrat Michael Beckett limped in 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 - one of three in Labour-held seats staged on Thursday - was forced by the resignation of Denis MacShane in the wake of a damning 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.

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

A 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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