The Conservative candidate, Chloe Smith has won 13,591 votes – a concrete majority of 7,348.
The Tories will be more than relieved: delighted in fact. I’m not sure anyone really expected such a thumping victory.
Labour escaped the indignity of coming third. But its 6,243 votes – less than half of the Tories – will depress activists and MPs alike.
The figure is barely ahead of the Lib Dems (4,809) and Ukip (4,068).
Here is my full news story.
Paul Richards, former special adviser to Hazel Blears, compares Labour to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
“When Labour lost in Crewe in May last year, with a 7,000 Labour majority turning into a 6,000 Tory majority, we shouted ‘’tis but a scratch.’ When we lost Glasgow East in July last year with a drop of 19 percentage points, we said it was just a flesh wound. But Labour can’t keep on hopping on one leg after the loss of Norwich North. It might be that Labour voters in Scotland, the north of England, and now East Anglia, who deserted us in their thousands when given the opportunity in a real election, are trying to tell us something.”
Ben Bradshaw, culture secretary, claimed the result was not as bad as the loss of Crewe & Nantwich last year.
Maybe. But the swing of 16.5 per cent was pretty close to the Crewe swing of 17.6 per cent.
Curiously, Ms Smith received about 2,000 fewer votes than the Tory candidate in 2005. So it’s not all smooth sailing for the Tories.
Then again, Ian Gibson got 21,097 votest in 2005. Ostrowski must be feeling very, very sore.