Turnout plummets in Stretford & Urmston as Labour hand Sunak new blow

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The Labour Party has cruised to victory in Rishi Sunak’s second by-election test since entering Number 10 after it comfortably held onto Stretford & Urmston in Greater Manchester.

Labour candidate Andrew Western, who currently leads Trafford Council, received 69.6 percent of the vote, giving him a 53.7 percent lead over Conservative challenger Emily Carter-Kandola.

However, turnout plummeted from 69.4 percent to just 25.8 percent.

Despite the drop in engagement with the electorate, Southside celebrated the Stretford & Urmston result.

An insider claimed it was a “huge win [which] shows the country wants a general election”.

Speaking at the count at Manchester United’s Old Trafford, Labour’s candidate Andrew Western said: “I am overjoyed to be elected as the Member of Parliament for my home town.

“This by-election must hold the record for the coldest polling day on record, and I am thankful to every single person who braved the cold to vote Labour.

“Despite the cold, I have been heartened by how warm our reception was on the doorstep.

“It’s clear from the result, and from the conversations I have had with voters throughout the campaign, that the public want a general election.

“The Conservative Party are failing to lead the country.

“They have unleashed a wrecking ball through the foundations of our economy and undermined the public’s trust in democracy.

“Only Labour can deliver the change our country needs.”

The Green Party finished in a distant third place on 4.3 percent, up 1.6 points compared to 2019.

The Liberal Democrats suffered a slight setback as they lost their deposit to finish narrowly ahead of Richard Tice’s Reform UK.

Rejoin EU might have hoped to make the most of any potential Brexit backlash, given that Stretford & Urmston voted to remain in the Brussels bloc.

However, the anti-Brexit party received just 1.3 percent of the votes as it languished behind in sixth place.

Voters in the Greater Manchester constituency have not elected a Conservative MP to the House of Commons since the seat was created in 1997.

Ex-MP Kate Green, who briefly served as Sir Keir Starmer’s Shadow Education Secretary, was re-elected with a 16,417-vote majority in 2019 but left Parliament after announcing she would become Andy Burnham’s deputy mayor.

The result comes as a further blow to Mr Sunak after the Tory Party lost in the City of Chester’s by-election contest on December 1 by some 10,974 votes, meaning Labour increased its majority by more than 4,000 ballots.

The Conservative Party has not held onto a by-election seat since Boris Johnson was evicted from Number 10 following a cabal by his former Cabinet colleagues.

Mr Johnson was also the last Tory leader to gain a seat in a by-election when he stormed to victory in the Red Wall seat of Hartlepool in 2021.

A series of local council by-elections were also held throughout England yesterday.

The Conservative Party held Barrowfield & Pendleside in Pendle and Wingfield in Amber Valley.

However, the Liberal Democrats snatched Andover Romans in Test Valley from the Tories.

Labour held onto Ashton in Wigan and Priory Heath in Ipswich.

The Liberal Democrats pulled off a second gain at the expense of an independent candidate in Toller, South Kesteven.

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