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George Galloway Bradford West Victory: Was It The 'Most Sensational' Win Ever?

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George Galloway giving his victory speech in Bradford this morning.
George Galloway giving his victory speech in Bradford this morning.

George Galloway has described his victory in Bradford West as the most "sensational victory in by-election history, bar none", but was it?

The Respect Party MP snatched the seat, a Labour stronghold since 1974, with a huge swing of 36.59%.

Galloway won 18,341 votes or 56% share of the total vote. Labour candidate Imran Hussein came a distant second with just 8,201 - down 20% on what the party secured at the 2010 general election.

While the swing was impressive, it is not quite the biggest ever seen. Here is a short history of other notable by-election shocks.

1967: Winifred Ewing snatched a seat for the Scottish National Party, when she turned a 16,576 Labour majority at Hamilton into a 1,799 nationalist one. She polled 46% in a constituency previously uncontested by her party.

1968: Tories chalked up a 21.1 % swing to take Dudley on March 28 from Labour as well as marginal Meriden and Acton. This was possibly the first time in history that a party lost three seats at by-elections on the same day.

1969: Liberals captured Ladywood, their first Birmingham seat for 83 years, from Labour on a 32% swing. The two years from November 2 1967 to Oct 30 1969 brought Labour its worst by-election run. The party lost 10 seats during that time and the swing against it was never less than 10%.

1972: Liberals overturned a 12,696 Conservative majority to win Sutton and Cheam on a 32.6% swing.

1976: Tories gained Walsall North on a 22.5% swing after the imprisonment of former Labour minister John Stonehouse.

1977: The Conservatives toppled Labour in its Ashfield mining stronghold on a 20.8% swing.

1983: Liberal Simon Hughes gained the highest swing since the Second Word War - 44.2% - when he won Bermondsey from Labour.

1988: Jim Sillars grabbed Glasgow Govan for the SNP on a 33.1% swing from Labour, emulating the victory in the same area of his wife Margo MacDonald 15 years before.

1993: The first by-election of the new parliament saw Liberal Democrats capture Newbury from Tories with 22,055 majority on a 28.4% swing. This was followed by the Christchurch contest which brought the biggest recorded swing against a Government - 35.4% from Conservative to Liberal Democrats.


FULL COVERAGE OF GALLOWAY'S BRADFORD WEST WIN

1997: With the General Election barely two months away, Conservatives lost to Labour at Wirral South on a 17.2% swing. Tories failed to win a single by-election between William Hague's victory at Richmond, Yorks in 1989 and their success in the first contest of the new 1997 Parliament at Uxbridge.

But this was short-lived when Liberal Democrat Mark Oaten won the Winchester poll, a re-run after the General Election result was declared void, with a 21,556 majority on a 19.8% swing.

2000: Liberal Democrats took Romsey, next door constituency to Winchester, turning an 8,585 Conservative majority into one of 3,311 for themselves on a 12.56% swing. This was the first time for 35 years that Tories had lost a seat at a by-election in Great Britain when they were in Opposition at Westminster.

2003: Labour suffered its first Commons by-election loss since it returned to power in 1997 when Liberal Democrats snatched Brent East, north London on a 29% swing.

2008: Mr Brown, now Prime Minister, was hit by Tories' first Commons by-election gain in more than a quarter of a century when they took Crewe and Nantwich on a 17.6% votes turn-round. Two months later Glasgow East became the second so-called 'safe' seat lost by Labour on Mr Brown's watch. The switch to the Scottish National Party was 22.5%.

2009: Tory Chloe Smith became the youngest MP when she snatched Norwich North from Labour on a 16.5% swing.

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