Labour have retained a Greater Manchester seat following a by-election in the area. Andrew Western has won the seat left vacant by former Labour MP Kate Green.
Former frontbencher Green left her MP role in Stretford and Urmston to join Andy Burnham’s mayoral team. She will serve as his deputy mayor for Greater Manchester. The resounding Labour win will bolster the party’s position as the next general election approaches.
Western said that the strong Labour win in Stretford and Urmston sent Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government a “strong message”. Labour have been successful in picking up by-election wins in recent months. This includes a seat gain in Wakefield, the former constituency of disgraced politician Imran Khan who was convicted of sexual assaulting a teenage boy.
The party also celebrated a resounding win in Chester in early December. Samantha Dixon held onto the seat for Labour but returned the party’s largest-ever vote share in the seat.
What were the results of the Stretford and Urmston by-election?
Western won the Stretford and Urmston seat with 69.9% of the vote, with a 9.34% increase in votes compared to Labour’s 2019 election win. The Tories trailed far behind in second with only 15.9% of the vote, marking a 10.5% swing towards Labour.
Despite earning almost 70% of the vote, the turnout was much lower than expected with poor weather conditions having an impact on constituents’ ability to head to the polls. On the day, only 25.8% of eligible voters turned out to vote, with Labour winning 9.906 votes.
The Liberal Democrats placed third in the results with 3.6% of the vote. The Reform party had a slight lift, picking up some of the Conservative vote and placing fourth with 3.5% of the vote share.
What was the reaction to the Stretford and Urmston by-election results?
Upon his win, Western said that the strong win sent a “strong message” to the Prime Minister ahead of the next general election. The next election, the date of which has not yet been set, is due to take place no later than January 2025, with polling group Savanta currently predicting a 314-seat majority win for Labour.
Western said: “The people of Stretford and Urmston do not just speak for this constituency but for millions more people up and down the land who know that this government has been letting us down for the past 12 years. The Tories have given up on governing and it is increasingly clear that the British people are giving up on them.”
He gave his thanks to those who had made the journey on the bitterly cold day, saying that it “must hold the record for the coldest polling day”. Western added: “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.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer echoed Western’s sentiments. Congratulating the new MP on Twitter, Starmer said: “Andrew, I look forward to working with you.
“The message from Stretford and Urmston is clear: people are fed up of 12 years of Tory failure. It’s time for a Labour government.”