Labour completes hat-trick of election victories with Corby win to replace Louise Mensch

Labour leader claims middle England turning from Tories after victory in bellwether seat

Labour swept to a comfortable by-election victory as it captured the previously marginal seat of Corby from the Tories with a majority of almost 8,000.

Ed Miliband, the party’s leader, told crowds in the Northamptonshire constituency that the result proved Middle England was turning its back on David Cameron and the Conservatives.

Labour had poured massive resources into winning a seat which is regarded as a traditional political bellwether – and the scale of its win will be a major boost to party morale.

The Tories’ problems were exacerbated by the circumstances of the by-election, which was caused by Louise Mensch’s surprise decision to resign to join her rock manager husband in New York.

Labour’s Andy Sawford overturned a Tory majority of 1,951 at the last general election with a swing of more than 12.6 per cent.

He collected 17,267 votes, with Tory candidate Christine Emmett, who was embarrassed when it emerged that her campaign manager had offered support for an anti-wind power rival, polling 9,476 votes.

The UK Independence Party achieved its best-ever by-election performance, receiving 5,108 votes and pushing the Liberal Democrats into a distant fourth. Nick Clegg’s party suffered the embarrassment of losing its deposit, despite requesting two recounts.

The Conservatives sought to play down the result, insisting they were badly affected by the “Mensch factor”. Mr Cameron said: “It’s a classic mid-term result and obviously made difficult by the fact that the Conservative MP left the seat in question.”

Before the result was declared, Ms Mensch also attempted to shoulder the blame. She said: “Though I had to resign to unite our family, there was large & entirely understandable local anger. I wish I had been able to see out my term. Christine and her team did an incredible job in the most difficult possible circumstances. I know she will one day make a wonderful MP.”

But Mr Miliband said: “This constituency is at the heart of our country and this constituency has sent a very clear message today. It has sent a message that it is putting its trust in a One Nation Labour Party and middle England is turning away from David Cameron and the Conservatives because middle England feels let down by David Cameron and the Conservatives.”

Labour also scored comfortable victories in by-elections in two other safe seats.

The party held Manchester Central with a majority of 9,936 votes and Cardiff South & Penarth by 5,334 votes. Both contests were triggered by the decision of sitting Labour MPs to resign to stand in the police and crime commissioner elections.

Lucy Powell picked up 11,507 votes in the Manchester contest, almost 70 per cent of the votes cast.

The turnout of 18.2 per cent was reportedly the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since the Second World War.

In Cardiff South, Stephen Doughty with 9,193 votes was well ahead of his Tory rival who won 3,859 votes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Assistant

£12675 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Assistant is required...

Recruitment Genius: Lead Software Developer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler / Probate Assistant

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler/Probate ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Telesales Executive - OTE £30,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This precious metal refining co...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn