Labour sees off Brexit Party challenge to win Peterborough by-election
Labour has seen off the challenge of the Brexit Party to narrowly win the Peterborough by-election.
In a major boost for Jeremy Corbyn, the party emerged triumphant by 683 votes to see Lisa Forbes elected as the new MP for the highly-marginal seat.
The Brexit Party, which had hoped to win its first Westminster seat just months after being set up, was beaten into second place, with the Conservatives in third.
The by-election was called after previous Labour MP Fiona Onasanya, who won it from the Tories by 607 votes at the 2017 general election, was booted out by local voters after being jailed for perverting the course of justice.
Ms Forbes received 10,484 votes, with the Brexit Party's Mike Greene on 9,801 and Tory Paul Bristow on 7,243.
Mr Corbyn paid tribute to Labour's "people powered campaign" in the constituency.
He said: "Peterborough has shown clear support for Labour’s programme to end austerity and invest in services and communities, rejecting a decade of Tory cuts and their disastrous handling of Brexit. In this key seat, the Conservatives have been pushed to the margins.
"This result shows that in spite of the divisions and deadlock over Brexit, when it comes to a vote on the issues that directly affect people’s lives, Labour’s case for real change has strong support across the country. I look forward to welcoming Lisa to parliament next week."
Labour's campaign was hit by controversy when Ms Forbes was forced to apologise for liking a post on Facebook about the Christchurch terror attacks which claimed Theresa May had a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda”.
She also commented approvingly on a separate thread which claimed Isis was created and funded by the CIA and Mosad.
Ms Forbes said: "I apologise wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts. I liked a video of school children praying in solidarity with the Christchurch attacks, not the views expressed in the accompanying text. I am sorry.
"Anti-semitism is abhorrent and has no place in our society. Standing up against hatred toward one group of people must never be allowed to become hatred of another.
"Regardless of whether I am elected, I will deepen my understanding of anti-semitism, so I can act as an ally, challenging anti-semitism wherever it occurs."
The row led to the Jewish Labour Movement saying they would not campaign for her.