Norwich North result

Labour crushed in expenses scandal by-election

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Gordon Brown suffered another blow as the Conservatives overturned Labour's 5,000-plus majority to snatch Norwich North.

Chloe Smith, who at 27 becomes the youngest MP in the Commons, won by 7,348 votes in the first such test of public opinion since the Westminster expenses scandal.



Mr Brown described it as "clearly a disappointing result''.



The poll was forced by the resignation of Labour MP Ian Gibson, who claimed almost £80,000 in second home expenses on a London flat which he later sold at a knock-down price to his daughter.

He quit last month after Labour's expenses "star chamber" barred him from standing for the party, sparking fury among colleagues and activists who said he was harshly treated by the "kangaroo court".

The 45 per cent turnout, while well down on the last general election, is about par for a by-election of this kind.



Labour held on to second place with 6,243 votes, although candidate Chris Ostrowski missed the count with a case of suspected swine flu.

Ms Smith wished him a speedy recovery and said she hoped to serve the voters of Norwich North "with the same honesty and conviction" as Mr Gibson.

"Roll on the General Election when the British people also have the opportunity to vote for change," she said.



The Tories polled almost 40 per cent of the vote, a swing of 16.49 per cent over Labour and well up on their 33 per cent showing at the 2005 General Election.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Smith said: "This by-election has been a victory for honest politics. The people of Norwich North have rejected the old politics of personal attacks, of bickering, of smears and scare stories.

"They have voted for change and in doing so they have sent a message to Gordon Brown very loud and very clear.

"They have not just voted against Labour - they have voted for the Conservative Party."

She hailed Mr Gibson as a "strong, independent and local voice".

Mr Ostrowski's wife, Katie, who stood in for him on the platform, thanked all the medical staff who had looked after him and said he would be "one of the first to congratulate Chloe".



Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said the result was "very disappointing", but stressed that the turnout had been "appalling".

"It is really a reflection of the quite unprecedented circumstances," she told BBC Radio 4's World At One. "It is more of our voters staying at home or going to other smaller parties rather than a big shift from Labour to the Conservatives."

She went on: "I think that people are apprehensive about their own financial circumstances. There is no doubt that Norwich has done very well over the past decade, and there is now uncertainty... people worried about businesses they have built up, and whether their jobs are secure, and, of course, the Government always holds responsibility for that."

Ms Harman said she was "sorry" that Mr Gibson had chosen to spark the by-election by quitting as an MP immediately when he was blocked from standing again.

Asked about claims that Mr Gibson had been treated unfairly, she said: "Yes, there have been questions asked about the process of how we make sure that if there are allegations of wrongdoing, that we properly review them."

A repeat of the Norwich North result across the country at the next General Election would see David Cameron swept into Downing Street with a majority of 218, Press Association analysis shows.

Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell said it was a "shocking" result for the party and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the treatment of Mr Gibson.

"What is clear is that the Brown/Mandelson strategy is not working. However hard they spin it, this is a shocking result for Labour," he said.



Conservative MP Theresa May, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "This seat would have been 162nd on our target list at a General Election. It's a fantastic victory.

"Given the controversy over expenses, you may have expected voters to say 'a plague on all your houses'.

"The fact that they didn't shows how strongly people want change and want to send a message to Gordon Brown."



NORWICH NORTH

C gain from Lab

Chloe Smith (C) 13,591 (39.54%, +6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243 (18.16%, -26.70%)
April Pond (LD) 4,803 (13.97%, -2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 4,068 (11.83%, +9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350 (9.74%, +7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 953 (2.77%)
Robert West (BNP) 941 (2.74%)
Bill Holden (Ind) 166 (0.48%, -0.17%)
Howling Laud (Loony) 144 (0.42%)
Anne Fryatt (NOTA) 59 (0.17%)
Thomas Burridge (Libertarian) 36 (0.10%)
Peter Baggs (Ind) 23 (0.07%)

C maj 7,348 (21.37%)

16.49% swing Lab to C

Electorate 75,124; Turnout 34,377 (45.76%, -15.33%)

2005: Lab maj 5,459 (11.61%) - Turnout 47,033 (61.09%)

Gibson (Lab) 21,097 (44.86%); Tumbridge (C) 15,638 (33.25%); Whitmore (LD) 7,616 (16.19%); Holmes (Green) 1,252 (2.66%); Youles (UKIP) 1,122 (2.39%); Holden (Ind) 308 (0.65%)

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players