Labour reaps easy harvest of challenger's defection: Newham By-Election: Liberal Democrats remove all traces of the candidate who wrecked their campaign
Friday 10 June 1994
Stephen Timms, the Labour candidate, won by 11,818 but apathy in the constituency in east London cut the turnout to 35.37 per cent. The Conservative vote fell massively, but the drama surrounding Mr Kellaway's defection kept them in second place.
The switch of Mr Kellaway to the Labour Party on the day before the election introduced high drama into what until then had been a dull contest in a safe Labour seat. Mr Timms won with 14,668, Philip Hammond, the Conservative candidate, polled 2,850, and Mr Kellaway received 821, losing the deposit.
It was revealed last night that Mr Kellaway had originally intended to announce his defection at the declaration of the result on a stage in East Ham town hall last night. But Labour Party managers persuaded him to bring forward the announcement to kill off his campaign. Mr Kellaway, 40, an economist and market research consultant approached Labour on Monday.
It appears that he had had increasing doubts about his campaign and had disagreed with Liberal Democrat officials who wanted him to attack the Labour controlled Newham Borough Council more strongly. He was the only non-Labour councillor.
Mr Kellaway was not at the count last night, but Liberal Democrat representatives did turn up to check the European Parliament election votes being verified in the same hall. Kathleen King, chairman of Newham Liberal Democrats, said: 'Our vote has collapsed and I can't say that I'm very sorry.' She had not voted in the by-election after spending weeks campaigning for Mr Kellaway.
Liberal Democrat helpers had spent the day campaigning for their party's candidates for the European Parliament in two local constituencies and had removed all pictures of Mr Kellaway and posters from their HQ.
The defe ction of Mr Kellaway at such a crucial moment was a bitter blow to Mrs King and party workers who had expected to come a respectable second.
Mr Timms, 38, a company manager and former leader of Newham council said last night: 'I had been aware that he had been attracted by some aspects of the Labour Party for some time.
'He was certainly under the impression that he was under pressure from the Liberal Democrats to blacken the achievements of Newham Borough Council. He was also extremely unhappy about the record of the Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets and the way they handled the race issue.
'He talked to a number of people on Monday and I was one of them. He said to me that he had made up his mind over the weekend that this was what he wanted to do.'
The defection, believed to be the first in the middle of a campaign, continues Newham North East's history of local political dramas. In the 1970s it was the scene of a battle between left and right in the Labour Party.
The then Labour MP Reg Prentice was deselected and later defected to the Tories. Labour won the seat back in 1979 and yesterday's by-election was caused by the death of Mr Prentice's successor, the MP Ron Leighton.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...