Labour gets set for early by-election

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Labour is on alert for an early by-election in Wirral South, after the Liberal Democrat candidate, Paul Gilchrist, pulled out of the contest "for family reasons" on Tuesday. The surprise move followed the resignation of Ian Wingfield, the Labour candidate, over allegations, which he denied, that he had been violent to women.

The vacancy was caused by the death last month of Barry Porter, the Tory former minister. If Labour holds Barnsley East, and wins Wirral South, the government would be one seat short of a majority.