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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project