Labour Win By-Elections With Stephen Doughty In Cardiff South And Lucy Powell In Manchester Central

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Lucy Powell, campaigning with Eddie Izzard in Manchester | PA

There were swings towards Labour today as the party held its two seats in the parliamentary by-elections.

Stephen Doughty claimed Cardiff South and Penarth, winning 9,193 votes, while Lucy Powell won in Manchester Central with 11,507 votes.

Neither result was unexpected but encouragingly for Labour there were swings towards the party in both constituencies. In Manchester Central, the swing away from the Liberal Democrats was 16.77%.

In Manchester, the turnout of 18.16% was the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since the Second World War. For Tory candidate Matthew Sephton, the result was so disappointing he lost his deposit as he only managed 754 votes, less than 5% of the total turnout.

Voter turnout in Cardiff was higher at 25.65%, with a swing from the Conservatives to Labour of 8.41%.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband will now wait anxiously for the result in the marginal Northamptonshire seat of Corby.

A by-election was triggered in August when the chick-lit author turned Tory MP Louise Mensch gave up her seat to spend more time with her family in New York.

From 1997 to 2010 the seat had been held by the Labour MP Phil Hope. But Mrs Mensch managed to win the seat for the Tories with a slim majority of just under 2,000.

This morning Labour sources said they were "cautiously optimistic" they had won the seat back, with turnout expected to be as high as 40%.

Meanwhile, Mensch took to Twitter to tell followers that she took responsibility if the Tory candidate Christine Emmett failed to retain the parliamentary seat.

She tweeted: "Election result will not be a verdict on either Christine, or the Conservatives, but only on the decision I took to step down mid-term."

Mensch added: "Though I had to resign to unite our family, there was large & entirely understandable local anger. I wish I had been able to see out my term."

The Tories majority in Corby at the last election was 1,951 but since then Labour has established a solid poll lead.
Tory efforts were further hampered by controversy on Tuesday night when it emerged their campaign manager Chris Heaton-Harris had encouraged a rival candidate.

Manchester Central was vacated by Tony Lloyd so that he could stand in the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections.

Cardiff South and Penarth, where Labour won by just over 4,700 votes two-and-a-half years ago, was prompted by the resignation of another PCC candidate, Alun Michael, who has held the seat for 25 years.

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