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PC11 - By-election results
Closes midnight BST on the 23rd
Steve | A-Team
Our stunning Eastwood by-election GAIN is proof that the Liberal Democrats can go toe to toe with the major party machines and still come out on top. Tenacious local campaigning has seen us make a gain in a former Tory heartland, and fight off a national Labour surge. We may not have the enormous trade union or big business backing of the other parties, but when you put it to local people that you will stand up and put them first, on a very human level, you can gain their trust. When I speak about community politics, I am not talking about it as just a means to an end of winning elections. It is a model for our politics, a more human, decent, localist politics. I see no point in having my party languish in self-indulgent opposition, and to have no interest in making real gains up and down the country. We can win, and our hard-working local offer has meant we've won a seat that had a Conservative Home Secretary, and that hasn't voted anything but Conservative since 1923! Eastwood is a model for Democrats up and down the country - work hard, work locally, and it is possible to win in every ward, constituency, and corner of Britain.

In Aylesbury, New Forest, and Chingford, Liberal Democrats have slashed Conservative majorities in their southern heartlands. Hanging on to a seat in central Buckinghamshire by just over 1,000 votes must mean that real alarm bells are ringing in Tory HQ. Those three constituencies show the vital importance of tactical voting, though, too. Despite the clear anti-Tory challengers being Democrat candidates, Labour spoiler votes kept three Conservative MPs in. In all three seats, if Labour voters had lent their votes to the Democrats, then we would have three less Conservative MPs. Progressive, moderate candidates must take note of this phenomena. Clearly, if we want to get rid of a Conservative Government, we need Labour supporters to lend their votes to the Democrats in key seats with Tory MPs.

Finchley is a stunning win for Labour, and Perth and Kinross for the SNP. I hope that they will work hard to represent those areas to the best of their abilities - two seats of former Prime Ministers have abandoned the Tories today. That is huge, and proof that no seat is safe any more.
Alex Cardigan MP
Deputy Prime Minister (1992-present)
Leader of the Liberal Democrats (1990-present) | MP for Montgomery (1983-present)
Former BBC Broadcaster | Liberal Party | XP: 20 | Issue Champion | Safe Pair of Hands
I have to congratulate Labour and the Democrats- and even the SNP- for their important wins in the recent by-elections. These parties took what had to be the best opportunity of several lifetimes- a Government beset by scandal, the news of recession, the instability globally- and they did so well campaigning on the issues that they each took a grand total of one seat a piece. Special congratulations to the Democrats for beating out Labour in a seat in Eastwood that Labour was convinced they would win. I'm impressed that a party that couldn't even be bothered to vote on a budget for this country was able to beat out Labour and it does goes to show that tenacious campaigning does have significant impacts in a by-election.

But that's all that can be read into this. I don't begrudge other parties for celebrating their wins- like the Conservatives will be celebrating the fact that in this perfect storm of bad news we still held three seats pretty decisively.

What this isn't is some massive swing in favor of Labour. Labour has been beating this Government in the polls. They've had scandals to run with and every opportunity to look better- and they barely won in one seat. I know they'll talk about how our time in Government is limited, but while Labour wallows in the mud and the Democrats try to get close to them, I guess, this Government is going to get on with the task of governing. We've put out a budget and had it approved that will help foster growth and provide relief to workers and families in the UK. We're hitting all fronts on the international stage to spread peace and to build a more prosperous Europe. We're rolling out legislation to strengthen and support families and make Britain safer. That's what people really want and that's what this Government is going to keep delivering.
Victor Wolfe MP
MP for Stirling (1983-) | Conservative
Chancellor of the Exchequer (1992-)
My sympathies right now go out to CCHQ, who the Tories desperately want to spin these by election results as something that can be shrugged away. All the seats the Tories were contesting tonight weren't just marginals they would need to win to get into power, they were their core vote and their core vote rejected them decisively.

I am particularly thrilled in saying that without a doubt heart of Thatcherism voted to reject the Conservatives and opt for redefining our economic and social settlement away from the interests of the powerful and back to the interests of the people. Labour needs to keep making that case passionately throughout the country so we can get into government and oversee a freer, fairer and more prosperous Britain - for everyone.
I will not pretend that I view these results as positive for the Conservative Party or the Government, the public have spoken and it is clear that we have a lot of work to do between now and next year to completely regain their trust. What I will say is that I am encouraged by our recovery in such a short amount of time. Clearly our Budget was better received than Labour's, clearly the public like our pro-family agenda, and clearly the public are warming up to the Government slowly. It is now incumbent upon the party to continue to build upon these foundations with more strong policy, restoring British pride overseas, protecting our armed forces, standing up for families, cutting people's taxes, and putting law and order at the heart of our message. The by-elections were not a perfect result for us, they weren't even good results for us, but they are a jumping off point. The rebuilding that started when Auberyn took over is shifting up a gear and we will continue to serve the British people.
Nicholas Eden
MP for Vauxhall (1974/1 - Present)
Labour's extraordinary victory in heart of Thatcherism along with the unprecedented swings toward our party in some of the deepest blue seats out there demonstrates clearly that working people are fed up with a decade of economic assault, mass-unemployment, inequality and despair and are rallying behind Labour's message that a better world is possible, if we fight for it. No Tory spin after a day of horrible electoral performances across the board for them or tinkering around the edges of a fundamentally rotten economic project can change that reality. Labour will continue to travel across Britain with our message of building a fairer, just economy for the 21st Century, our message of putting an end to an era of profound cruelty, egregious inequality, and treasonous scandal, of shifting the balance of wealth and power away from the obscenely wealth and into the hands of the many, empowering them in the process and I must say that I almost feel bad for the Tory spin doctors who will have to work overtime to explain why their party's message of precarity and misery for the many and increased fortune for the few just isn't resonating.
Tommy Dawson
Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside (1979-Present)
Socialist Campaign Group. 9 XP. 15 Marx Visits. Media Darling, Campaign Guru, Issue Champ (Econ Equality)
Deputy Leader (1990-1992), Shadow Chancellor (1990-1992), The Most Dangerous Man in Britain (1992)
The government had engaged in the most vicious and divisive smear campaigns I've seen an opposition experience, with Cabinet members implying that Shadow Cabinet members had terrorist associations and the Chancellor lying that Labour would engage in a 'Marxist takeover' of businesses. Despite this, we succeeded in beating the Conservatives in multiple of seats once considered untouchably safe.

In doing so, we've made it clear to the government that whatever their disagreements with the opposition they must start taking the opposition and its message of economic fairness seriously. To do otherwise would be a grave insult to millions of voters across Britain.
Of course I am extremely disappointed by the results, but these were by-elections caused by a series of illegal, potentially illegal, and devastating acts. As Prime Minister, I am working to turn our nation around after those difficult months. The results show that we have not gone far enough to hold the powerful to account, to advance the interests of families, and to secure our nation. They are a powerful reminder of what the British public expects and I will continue to work daily to meet it. Over the next few months, we will continue to set out a full agenda so that our nation can heal and unite once again.
When the home of Thatcherism goes to Labour, you know you’re a government on its way out. 

With Labour’s victory in Finchley, it is the beginning of the final chapter for this government. The public is fed up after eleven years of austerity, scandal and failure. More and more voters are seeing that Labour is the only party that can offer decent public services, fairer taxes and better opportunities for all.
Marcus Redgrave
Labour Member of Parliament for Durham North West
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Science
Opposition win, generally. It’s very hard to spin three losses as anything positive, and in many ways it’s better to swallow your pride and accept that. The opening volley from the Conservatives came from the Chancellor, who, whilst getting in a jab at the Liberals over the budget, tries to claim that the results were not a massive swing to Labour, whilst Labour surged 10, 15, 20 percent in these seats. Dylan Macmillan’s contribution went down a slightly different route, acknowledging the fact that these results were nowhere near a success for the government, whilst also continuing to highlight what this government has to offer voters. Finally, the Prime Minister’s comments go down a more sombre and reflective route, highlighting the challenge ahead for the Tories and setting out, if rather briefly, what they need to do to recover. Overall the Tories shifting strategy throughout hit and missed, with Macmillan’s balancing act proving the best offering
For Labour’s part, I feel the tone was just about right. Ruth Murphy was first up to bat, cutting through the spin and highlighting the gravity of the results for the Tories, firing the opening volley of what became a common theme throughout Labour’s attacks, the painful symbolic loss of Finchley. Tommy Dawson comes in next with a typically forceful statement, getting the message out clearly and striking the balance well between attacking the Tories and making that pitch. Murphy returns to slam the Tory campaigning style and warn the government to heed the lesson handed to them. Redgrave finishes off with a brief statement. Labour had the upper hand going into this press cycle, and they maintained it throughout, with the standout statement coming from Dawson.
The Liberals were the ones who kicked off this cycle, and true to form their celebrations of a gain in Eastwood focused on their bread and butter strategy of talking about community and localism, whilst also extending that to their national campaign. What I found interesting was the reversal of the usual vote splitting argument to highlight
XP for Dawson and Macmillan

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