December 16, 2011

Labour wins Feltham and Heston by-election

Winning candidate Seema Malhotra has welcomed a "vote of confidence in Labour"
Labour has held the Feltham and Heston seat in a by-election with an increased majority.
Winning candidate Seema Malhotra secured victory with a majority of 6,203 over the Conservatives, a swing of 8.6%.
The Liberal Democrats held on to third place with 1,364 votes - fighting off a challenge from the UK Independence Party, who polled 1,276.
Turnout was just 28.8% - the lowest in a by-election for 11 years.
The previous lowest was in West Bromwich West in November 2000 at 27.6%.
The by-election was prompted by the death last month of Labour MP Alan Keen.
'On the up'
Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain told the BBC the win was the fourth by-election victory in a row for Labour - although he acknowledged that all of those contests were in Labour-held seats.
"We're on the up. We're doing much better than everybody seems to want to admit," he said.
"Yes, there's a long way to go, but under Ed Miliband we're winning back [voters'] trust.

Result highlights

  • Labour - 12,639 (54.42%, +10.79%)
  • Conservatives - 6,436 (27.71%, -6.32%)
  • Lib Dems - 1,364 (5.87%, -7.87%)
  • UKIP - 1,276 (5.49%, +3.45%)
"People were not listening to Labour for the last few years in government and they're starting to do so."
Ms Malhotra grew up in Feltham, and went to school in Heston. She was an adviser to Harriet Harman during her stint as Leader of the Opposition in 2010.
Labour polled a total of 12,639 votes and BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said of the win: "The fly in the ointment is the turnout, which has been pretty depressing as by-elections go."
The economy was a bigger issue for people going to the polls than Europe, he added.
Conservative candidate Mark Bowen said he was "proud" of his performance.
"I think it's a respectable result. All the pundits and pollsters indicated it would be much, much worse for our party," he said.
"[They gave] the impression we had zero chance and it was going to be a massive Labour majority - that hasn't happened."
The Conservatives' share of the vote was down from 33% to 28%, while the Lib Dems dropped from 14% to less than 6%.
'Difficult corner'
UKIP saw its share more than double from 2% to more than 5%, but it was unable to take third place from the Lib Dems.


It might not make for a sexy headline, but there's been no real change here in Feltham and Heston.
Labour won, like last time, the Conservatives were second, like last time and the Liberal Democrats were third, like last time.
Given they are in opposition at Westminster, Labour hoped to nudge a bit further ahead of the rest, and they did.
The Lib Dems are relieved that they held onto third place, just beating the UK Independence Party.
All the candidates expressed concern about the turnout of 28.8 per cent, the lowest at a by-election for 11 years. There was, though, something of a perfect storm for indifference: it is days before Christmas, it is dark, it is wet and it is cold, and many expected Labour to win again anyway.
The party - which campaigns for the UK to leave the European Union - said its chances had been damaged by Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to veto an EU-wide treaty at last week Brussels summit, which it believes gave the Tories a boost in the final week of the campaign.
Deputy Lib Dem leader Simon Hughes said the result was as expected.
"What happened here was what normally happens in a by-election. People protest against the government, so government parties take a hit [and] the opposition normally moves forward."
He said his party was "fighting a particularly difficult corner" because it was pro-European in a country "where the majority of people still like to see us, as it were, having a go at our European neighbours".
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the Lib Dems were "almost a busted flush".
Feltham and Heston was won by the Conservatives in 1983 and 1987 during Margaret Thatcher's premiership.
At the last general election Labour's majority in the seat, located to the west of London, was cut to 4,658 in a 4.8% swing to the Conservatives.
All the three main party leaders visited the constituency during campaigning for what is the sixth by-election during this Parliament.
The full results were:
  • Seema Malhotra, Labour - 12,639 (54.42%, +10.79%)
  • Mark Bowen, Conservative - 6,436 (27.71%, -6.32%)
  • Roger Crouch, Liberal Democrats - 1,364 (5.87%, -7.87%)
  • Andrew Charalambous, UKIP - 1,276 (5.49%, +3.45%)
  • David Furness, BNP - 540 (2.33%, -1.21%)
  • Daniel Goldsmith, Green - 426 (1.83%, +0.74%)
  • Roger Cooper, English Democrats - 322 (1.39%)
  • George Hallam, London People Before Profit - 128 (0.55%)
  • David Bishop, Bus-Pass Elvis Party - 93 (0.40%)

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