Wythenshawe by-election: Cameron brushes off defeat after Ukip knocks Tories into third as Labour wins

Humiliating blow for Lib Dems as they lose their deposit

David Cameron has denied that the Conservatives' thrashing in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election represents a "breakthrough" for Labour, which held the seat comfortably with 55 per cent of the vote, or Ukip, which forced his party into third place.

Former councillor Mike Kane won the Greater Manchester constituency for Labour, polling 13,261 votes, while the UK Independence Party surged from fifth place to second despite leader Nigel Farage complaining the campaign had been "as dirty as they come".

The eurosceptic party's success and the 11 per cent decline in the Tory vote was yet another by-election blow to the Prime Minister, who saw his candidate defeated by Ukip for the sixth time since the 2010 general election.

Wythenshawe by-election analysis: Comfort for Farage but has Ukip edged back from its heights?

But the Liberal Democrats were dealt a humiliating blow when they polled just 1,176 votes - not enough to hold their deposit.

The by-election was brought about by the sudden death of serving MP Paul Goggins on January 7, at the age of 60.

In his victory speech, Mr Kane said voters had "sent a very clear message" to the Government.

"They have rejected the failed policies of the out-of-touch Tories, they have rejected the isolationism and scaremongering of Ukip.

"It's a result which emphatically demonstrates that people here know the NHS is not safe in David Cameron's hands, and that we've had enough of his utterly out-of-touch Government."

But Mr Cameron said the Tories were never expecting to do well in a rock-solid Labour seat.

"Obviously, the Wythenshawe by-election was in a very safe Labour seat and there was never much doubt about the result," the Conservative leader told ITV1's Daybreak.

"When people know that there is a by-election they know that the Government isn't going to change, but obviously messages are sent and signals are sent and protests are made. Government should always listen to those and I always do.

"Obviously, one would prefer to come second rather than third, but I don't think this is a particularly surprising result in Labour holding this seat.

"I don't think it was the sort of breakthrough that people were talking about."

Wythenshawe is the latest in a number of by-elections that have seen Ukip take second place, including South Shields and Eastleigh last year.

Mr Farage, speaking from the count at Manchester Central convention centre, said he was pleased with how his party performed but complained forcefully about the way the election was run, with postal votes issued just three days after the poll was called.

"The point about democracy is you should see who the candidates are, see what their agendas are and then form an opinion," he said. "That is not happening and it is reducing, frankly, these by-elections to farces.

"It is a system that allows the incumbent party to call the by-election at a time of their choosing and it doesn't give a free, open contest to anybody else."

Mr Farage said that Ukip's performance in increasing its share of the vote by 14.5 per cent to 18 per cent represented "really good solid, steady progress".

"When you start from a base of nothing and your level of public recognition is very low, then to do what we have done in a very short space of time, (I'm) delighted," he said. "Anything over 15 per cent was what I was hoping for and had it been over 20 per cent, it would have been a terrific result for us, so 18 per cent... I'm very pleased."

Ukip candidate John Bickley said he was "over the moon" with the result and claimed his party was "in better shape" than the Conservatives.

He told Sky News: "We've taken votes off all of them and that includes Labour."

Labour leader Ed Miliband congratulated Mr Kane in a message on Twitter: "Delighted Labour's Mjpkane has been elected. He will be an excellent MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East."

Labour increased its share of the vote by 11 per cent to win by an emphatic margin of 8,960 votes.

But the figures made gloomy reading for the Liberal Democrats, with vote share plummeting by 17 percentage points to take them below the crucial 5 per cent needed to hold their deposit.

Some 24,024 votes were cast - a turnout of 28.24 per cent.

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said that the party's result in Wythenshawe was "genuinely very disappointing", describing it as part of a pattern of "patchy" results which have seen the Lib Dem vote hold up in areas of strength but collapse elsewhere.

Mr Farron told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There are two things going on. One is that the Liberal Democrats in by-elections have done well in those places where we have strength, like Eastleigh and Oldham East and Saddleworth, and have done extraordinarily badly, by and large, in those areas where we don't.

"It's not that hard to understand why. The reality is that in by-elections in the past Liberal Democrats were often the none-of-the-above party, and the reality is now we are one of the above.

"We ended our 70-year exile from government, took an awful lot of tough decisions that it looks like have been vindicated as the economy strengthens and we try to stop the Tories doing things that would derail that and make our society less fair.

"But at the same time, a by-election comes along, and people have an option to vote against the Government, to vote for the Government, or to vote against the establishment. People will very often choose one of those. In areas where the Liberal Democrats don't have strength, we don't feature under any of those three headings."

The result

Mike Kane (Lab) 13,261 (55.34 per cent, +11.21 per cent)

John Bickley (Ukip) 4,301 (17.95 per cent, +14.50 per cent)

The Rev Daniel Critchlow (C) 3,479 (14.52 per cent, -11.03 per cent)

Mary Di Mauro (LD) 1,176 (4.91 per cent, -17.44 per cent)

Nigel Woodcock (Green) 748 (3.12per cent)

Eddy O'Sullivan (BNP) 708 (2.95 per cent, -0.90 per cent)

Captain Chaplington-Smythe (Loony) 288 (1.20 per cent)

Lab majority: 8,960 (37.39 per cent)

Electorate 85,058; Turnout 23,961 (28.17 per cent, -22.82 per cent)

PA

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
  • Get to the point
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: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss