Labour has won the Wakefield by-election, a result which has dealt a significant blow to Boris Johnson on the same night the Conservatives lost the Tiverton and Honiton vote to the Lib Dems.
Simon Lightwood becomes Labour’s newest MP after gaining 13,166 votes, compared to 8,241 for Conservative candidate Nadeem Ahmed.
Wakefield was one of the so-called red wall seats won by the Tories with a majority of more than 3,000 in the 2019 general election after being a Labour stronghold since the 1930s.
The by-election was triggered when ex-Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan quit after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy – a crime for which he was jailed for 18 months.
In his victory speech, Mr Lightwood said: “Tonight the people of Wakefield have spoken on behalf of the British people.
“They have said unreservedly, Boris Johnson your contempt for this country is no longer tolerated. Your government has no ideas, no plan to address the big issues facing our countries.”
He thanked the Labour campaigners who supported him, adding: “It’s thanks to your tireless efforts that we’ve turned the page on Tory neglect and delivered a fresh start for Wakefield.”
Mr Lightwood added: “The next Labour government has been born in this room tonight.”
The turnout at the polls was 39.09 per cent, with 27,205 people casting their vote out of a total electorate of 69,601. It was a 25 per cent lower turnout in Wakefield compared to the general election three years ago.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Wakefield by-election has “shown the country has lost confidence in the Tories”.
“This result is a clear judgement on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas. he said. “Britain deserves better. Wakefield has voted Labour because we have the solutions for the challenges facing the British people.
“The Labour Party is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before, and ready for government.”
Meanwhile, in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000 Tory majority to win.
The vote was triggered after Neil Parish – the Tory MP who had more than 60% of the vote in 2019 – resigned after admitting he had watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.
A dramatic swing of almost 30 per cent from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats saw Richard Foord secure a majority of 6,144.
The new Lib Dem MP used his acceptance speech to call for Mr Johnson “to go, and go now”, claiming his victory had “sent a shockwave through British politics”.
Mr Foord said: “The people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They sent a loud and clear message – it’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.” He added that “every day Boris Johnson clings to office he brings further shame, chaos and neglect”.