Rotherham MP Sarah Champion says 'not career politician'

Sarah Champion Sarah Champion won the Rotherham by-election with 9,866 votes

Sarah Champion is Rotherham's first woman MP and was Labour's "clean break" candidate for the town.

"There are some people who from the moment they were born wanted to be a politician," she said.

"Whereas for me, since I started working I've always been working with the community and I want to carry on doing that," Ms Champion told BBC Radio Sheffield.

Analysis

Sarah Champion has not been a Labour Party member for long, now she is an MP and will have to quickly learn the ropes.

She goes to Westminster after a very short campaign that started with questions over whether she was the right candidate for Labour in Rotherham, but just over two weeks later she has convinced enough voters to give her a chance.

If Champion was the winner then the coalition parties were the losers. While the Conservative candidate kept his deposit in fifth place, the Liberal Democrats lost theirs for the second South Yorkshire by-election in a row. Nick Clegg's party finished eighth behind a local reverend who stood as an independent.

A second place here for UKIP, with more than 20% of the vote, gives them their best ever election result.

After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a psychology degree, she spent 12 years running the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester.

Until she was declared winner of the by-election in the early hours of the morning, Ms Champion was chief executive of Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in Rotherham, which opened in 2008.

"I got a bit tearful, I had to text my resignation," she said.

Her focus will now be on raising the profile of Rotherham, which she said has been "kicked about" by politicians and the media.

"One of the reasons I stood is that Rotherham is a great town, and it always seems to be in the news for negative things.

"Why would people invest in the town and create jobs if they think it's awful?"

Ms Champion insists she is unlikely to be on the shadow front bench anytime soon.

"I don't want to be a career politician, I'm doing this for Rotherham first.

"For them to have a voice I'm going to have to go down to London, but for me it's out there on the streets, hearing what people are saying and representing them," she said.

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