Thu, 25 July 2024

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By Tobias Ellwood
By Ben Guerin
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Labour Wins Tamworth By-Election With Second Biggest Swing In Decades

Sarah Edwards (alamy)

2 min read

Labour has overturned a Conservative majority of almost 20,000 to win the Tamworth by-election, in a further boost for the party's hopes of forming a government at the next general election.

Labour's Sarah Edwards gained 11,719 votes. Tory candidate Andrew Cooper with 10,403 votes, giving Labour a majority of 1,316. But the size of the previous Tory majority means Labour achieved a swing of 23.9 per cent, its second biggest since 1945.

"Tonight the people of Tamworth have voted for Labour's positive vision and a fresh start," Edwards said after she was declared the new MP early this morning.

"They've sent a clear message to Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives that they have had enough of this failed government, which has crashed the economy and destroyed our public services."

Labour also achieved victory in the Mid Bedfordshire by-election in a surprise double-victory for the party. 

The party's leader Keir Starmer said that overturning two major Tory majorities showed Labour "is back in the service of working people and redrawing the political map".

The by-election was called following the resignation of former Conservative MP Chris Pincher after the Commons Standards Committee recommended he be suspended for eight weeks in response to accusations of groping two men in a central London club. Pincher had recently held the seat as an independent after he lost the Tory whip in 2021. 

In September, Pincher lost his appeal against the recommended suspension, and subsequently resigned. 

The seat in Staffordshire has been Conservative since 2010, with the majority having increased at every election since then, up to more than 19,500 by 2019. 

Labour held the seat during the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments, having gained it at a by-election in 1996, a year ahead of Labour's 1997 landslide. 

Edwards's win will bolster Labour's hopes of gaining a significant number of seats in former heartlands at the next general election, which must be called before the end of 2024. 

The party's win in Tamworth follows a similarly significant by-election victory in Selby and Ainsty, North Yorkshire in July, where Labour overturned a Conservative majority of more than 20,000.

Earlier this month, PoliticsHome reported that the Midlands could be a key battleground for the next election, with numerous areas Labour would hope to make gains if Starmer is to get to No 10.


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