Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election: Labour wins
- 17 February 2014
- From the section UK Politics
Labour has held on to its seat in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election with a comfortable majority while UKIP beat the Tories to second place.
Michael Kane won with 13,261 votes, beating UKIP's John Bickley, with 4,301, in second.
Rev Daniel Critchlow, for the Tories, came third on 3,479 votes, and Lib Dem Mary Di Mauro, came fourth on 1,176.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was "delighted" by the result while David Cameron said he would listen to voters.
The by-election was triggered by the death of Labour's Paul Goggins, who had represented constituents since 1997.
The full results were:
- Mike Kane (Labour): 13,261
- John Bickley (UKIP): 4,301
- Reverend Daniel Critchlow (Conservatives): 3,479
- Mary Di Mauro (Lib Dem): 1,176
- Nigel Woodcock (Green Party): 748
- Eddy O'Sullivan (BNP): 708
- Captain Chaplington-Smythe (Monster Raving Loony): 288
- Turnout: 28%
Analysts had been closely monitoring the performance of UKIP, which has come second in several by-elections in recent months, for clues to its national level of support ahead of May's European Parliament elections.
Mr Kane said: "The people of Wythenshawe and Sale East have sent a very clear message they want a government to stand up for us all - a one-nation Labour government.
"It is a result that demonstrates the people know the NHS is not safe in David Cameron's hands and we have had enough of this utterly out-of-touch government."
Visiting the constituency to congratulate Mr Kane, the Labour leader said it was a very good result for the party.
"We added to our share of the vote," he said. "What you saw was the governing parties - the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats - in total retreat.
"This is a constituency, after all, where even in 1997 the Conservatives were polling over 20% of the vote so I think they should be deeply concerned."
Mr Cameron said the Conservatives would seek to win people back at the general election next year.
"Obviously the Wythenshawe by-election was in a very safe Labour seat and there was never much doubt about the result," the Conservative leader told ITV's Daybreak.
"Obviously, one would prefer to come second rather than third, but I don't think this is a particularly surprising result in Labour holding this seat."
Mr Cameron suggested UKIP had not achieved the sort of "breakthrough" it was hoping for.
But UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the Conservatives were a "dying brand" in northern cities and UKIP was now the "main opposition" to Labour in places such as Manchester.
"When you start from a base of nothing and your level of public recognition is very low, then to do what we have done in a very short space of time, I am delighted," he said.
However, he criticised the by-election rules, suggesting the issuing of postal ballots three days after the poll was called had allowed Labour to tie down votes.
"The point about democracy is you should see who the candidates are, see what their agendas are and then form an opinion," he said. "That is not happening and it is reducing, frankly, these by-elections to farces."
The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit, as their share of the vote tumbled by 17% to below the crucial 5% level.
Party president Tim Farron said it continued a run of "patchy" by-election performances since the Lib Dems joined the coalition and warned its performance in next year's general election could be "very lumpy".
"There have been results like last night which are genuinely disappointing and then you look at places like Winchester, Cornwall...where we have MPs and where we have strength the Liberal Democrats are not just holding their own, they're going forward" he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Turnout was 28.2% compared with 54.3% in 2010. It is normal for lower turnout levels at by-elections.
The victory is Labour's thirteenth in by-elections since the 2010 general election election. Of these, only one was a gain from another party, in Corby in 2012.