Full results for Mid Bedfordshire and Tamworth as Labour by-election wins smash records

Labour ‘redraw political map’ with unprecendented victories

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Friday 20 October 2023 12:01 BST
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Mid-Bedfordshire by-election result has made history, says Labour’s Alistair Strathern

Sir Keir Starmer claimed Labour was “redrawing the political map” by overturning huge Tory majorities in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire and dealing a double by-election blow to Rishi Sunak.

In Tamworth, Labour’s Sarah Edwards overcome a 19,000 majority and defeated Conservative rival Andrew Cooper by a majority of 1,316.

The result in the “red wall” Midlands seat saw a mammoth 23.9 per cent swing from the Tories to Labour. Polling guru Prof John Curtice said “no government has lost a seat as safe as Tamworth”.

In Mid-Bedfordshire, Alistair Strathern overcame a 24,000 majority by taking the seat by 1,192 votes over his Tory rival Festus Akinbusoye – a swing of 20.5 percentage points to Labour.

The result in Nadine Dorries’ old seat was the single largest majority overturned by Labour at a by-election since 1945.

Labour were overjoyed by the results – have stressed that neither Tamworth nor Mid Bedfordshire were target seats for them. Sir Keir’s spokesman had claimed on the eve of the elections that both “super-safe” Tory seats were “moonshots”.

Prof Curtice notes the significance of the Conservative to Labour swing in Tamworth being even higher than at the Selby by-election in north Yorkshire earlier this year – suggesting the Tories are in course for a general election wipeout. Tamworth was the 57th safest Tory seat in the country.

Mr Starmer said the stunning results show that voters “overwhelmingly want change”, adding: “They’re ready to put their faith in our changed Labour party to deliver it”.

He added: “Voters across Mid Bedfordshire, Tamworth and Britain want a Labour government determined to deliver for working people, with a proper plan to rebuild our country.”

Tamworth result

Many political commentators and pollsters had expected Labour and Lib Dems to split the vote in Mid Bedfordshire and allow the Tories to hold on.

The Lib Dems came third with just over 9,000 votes. In Tamworth the party came fifth, behind Reform UK, Britain First and Ukip with only 417 votes.

Putting a brave face on the Mid Bedfordshire result, Lib Dems’ deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “We nearly doubled our share of the vote which would see the Lib Dems win dozens of seats off the Conservatives in a general election.

“The Liberal Democrats played a crucial role in defeating the Conservatives in Mid Bedfordshire, and we can play a crucial role in getting rid of this Conservative government at the next election.”

Mid Bedfordshire Result

Loyal Tory minister Andrew Bowie denied his party had to change tack to have any chance at the next election. Andrew Bowie told Sky News there was “always room for improvement” but the government was “on the right course”.

Prof Curtice said the two results were “extremely bad news” for the Conservatives and suggested Mr Sunak was on course for general election defeat.

“This isn’t destiny, but it is a pointer and it is a pointer that, unless the Conservatives can fairly dramatically and fairly radically turn things around, then they are in truth staring defeat in the face in 12 months’ time.”

He said the Tamworth result, which showed a healthy number of votes for Reform UK and Ukip, demonstrated that the Tories “may get caught in a pincer movement between some of their former Leave voters wandering off to Labour but others going off to Reform UK”.

Mid Bedfordshire results since 1997

Mr Sunak was out of the country as the by-election results came in, spending the night in Saudi Arabia on a tour of the Middle East in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks on Israel.

The results were announced a year to the day after Mr Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss resigned as prime minister and leaves him with a headache as he ends his first 12 months in post.

Tamworth results in full:

Labour: 11,719

Conservatives: 10,403

Reform UK: 1,373

Britain First: 580

The UK Independence Party: 436

Liberal Democrats: 417

Green Party: 417

Monster Raving Loony Party: 155

Independent: 86

Labour MP Stephanie Peacock and newly elected Labour MP Sarah Edwards in Tamworth

Mid Bedfordshire results in full:

Labour: 13,872

Conservatives: 12,680

Liberal Democrats: 9,420

Gareth Mackey (independent): 1,865

Reform UK: 1,487

Green: 732

Monster Raving Loony Party: 249

English Democrats: 107

Christian Peoples Alliance: 101

True and Fair Party: 93

Heritage Party: 63

Prince Ankit Love, Emperor of India (independent): 27

Mainstream: 24

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