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Labour Triumphs in Blackpool South By-election, Signaling Shift Amidst Conservative Struggles



Blackpool South By-Election: Labour's Victory Celebrated by Sir Keir Starmer as 'Monumental'

Chris Webb secures the district with over 7,000 votes, narrowly edging out Reform UK for a second-place finish by the Conservatives.

Political correspondent @NifS

Friday, May 3, 2024, 12:

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The Labour Party has secured a victory in the Blackpool South by-election, dealing another setback to Rishi Sunak's leadership of the Conservative Party.

In Thursday's election, the party's nominee, Chris Webb, garnered 10,825 votes, securing a 58.9% share, while the Conservative candidate lagged significantly, receiving only 3,218 votes.

Reform UK closely followed with 3,101 votes, whereas the Liberal Democrats received 387 votes and the Green Party secured 368 votes.

Further Information: Starmer Declares Sunak's Era Over

Victors and Defeated Parties

Biography: Introducing Chris Webb

Live Updates on Local Election Outcomes

Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer celebrated the outcome, noting a 26.33% swing away from the Conservatives, as "a clear signal to the prime minister."">king to Sky News, he said, "It's clear that the nation is currently seeking change. I believe it's now up to the prime minister to give the country a chance to voice that desire for change through a general election."

The special election was held concurrently with local elections throughout England and Wales.

As the votes were counted, the Labour Party gained leadership in several local councils that had predominantly supported Brexit in the 2016 vote.

Nonetheless, in the upcoming hours and days, countless more electoral seats are yet to be announced, along with 10 mayoral positions and 37 police and crime commissioner roles.

'Individuals are seeking transformation'

In a conversation with Sky News following his electoral victory in Blackpool South, Mr. Webb highlighted that his main focus in parliament would address the cost of living crisis. He noted that it had "severely affected numerous residents in Blackpool South, with many people finding it hard to cope financially."

The latest Member of Parliament for the Commons expressed that citizens are "exasperated" and "seeking change," noting, "Life-long Conservative supporters cast their votes for me and for Labour in this election because they desire that change."

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"Numerous individuals are clamoring for a Labour-led administration; Rishi Sunak must acknowledge his shortcomings and initiate a general election."

Blackpool South marks the seventh constituency that has shifted from the Conservative Party to the Labour Party during this parliamentary session, despite the Conservatives capturing Hartlepool from Labour in 2021.

Discover further details – regional election outcomes: Labour secures surprising victories in traditional Conservative areas

Sky’s plan for covering the election – ways to stay updated

Friday: Starting at 10am, main political host Sophy Ridge and lead anchor Mark Austin will team up with political chief Beth Rigby and Sam Coates for all-day coverage. They will be supported by economics and data chief Ed Conway and Professor Michael Thrasher.

Friday evening: Between 7pm and 9pm, join Sophy Ridge for a special broadcast of the Politics Hub, where she will provide comprehensive analysis and insights into the local election results.

This weekend, join Sophy Ridge for a special installment of the Politics Hub, airing Saturday from 7 PM to 9 PM. Then, catch Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips as he reviews the week's events, broadcasting from 8:30 AM to 10 AM.

Where can I tune in? Available on Freeview channel 233, Sky channel 501, Virgin channel 603, BT channel 313, as well as on YouTube, the Sky News website, and its mobile app. You can also stream Sky News live at this link and on YouTube.

The podcast Electoral Dysfunction, featuring Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips, and Ruth Davidson, will be released on Friday. Meanwhile, the program Politics at Jack and Sam’s will explore the significant implications of the results on the upcoming general election, airing on Sunday.

Stay tuned for the newest updates on our politics page online.

Additionally, you can find the most recent updates on the politics section of our website.

The special election was necessitated when previous Conservative MP Scott Benton, who secured his position in 2019 with a modest lead of 3,690 votes, was implicated in a scandal by The Times. The report alleged that he was prepared to violate lobbying regulations for financial gain.

Consequently, he received a 35-day suspension from the Commons, triggering a recall petition in his electoral district.

Rather than being ousted, Mr. Benton stepped down from his parliamentary position, prompting an election for a new MP.

Look up your local council or enter your postcode to see the outcomes for your area.

Insight: A Major Leap Toward 10 Downing Street for Sir Keir

Lead Political Reporter

Inside the No. 10 Bar at Blackpool's renowned Imperial Hotel, a venue once celebrated for hosting party conferences, the walls are adorned with photographs of past prime ministers. Additionally, their names are etched into the mirrors, creating a historical ambiance.

Following a resounding win in the Blackpool South by-election, which his MPs believe will edge him closer to 10 Downing Street in the upcoming general election, how likely is it that Sir Keir Starmer will one day join the ranks of those at the helm?

The bar's walls are decorated with photographs of notable Conservative figures, ranging from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher, and including John Major and David Cameron, as well as prominent Labour leaders like Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, and Tony Blair.

Sir Keir may want to temper his expectations, even if he ascends to the role of prime minister later this year. Notably, there's no reference to Boris Johnson or Liz Truss, perhaps because neither of them resided at the Imperial while serving as PM!

However, the leader of the Labour Party will toast to his candidate Chris Webb's emphatic win here at the coastal area.

Explore the detailed breakdown.

In a further blow to the Conservative Party, it was disclosed that David Jones, who is in the running to succeed him, serves as the chairman of the Fylde Conservatives, the same region represented by Mark Menzies, the MP recently embroiled in controversy.

Mr. Menzies made news following allegations that he improperly used campaign money, including an incident where he contacted an associate from the local group claiming he was trapped in an apartment by "bad people" and urgently required £5,000 for what he described as a life-or-death situation.

Mr. Jones claimed he was unaware of the incident, which was reportedly brought to the attention of the Conservative Party three months earlier, until it surfaced in the media.

Addressing the outcome, Conservative Party Chairman Richard Holden conveyed to Sky News: "This particular case was influenced by unique factors, including the resignation of the former MP under pressure, as well as issues during the campaign in a nearby constituency where another ex-Conservative MP was stripped of party privileges."

He also mentioned that Reform had cut into the Conservative's share of the vote.

He stated, "It's clear that votes for Reform are going to benefit Labour in a general election context. That's undeniable."

Analysis: Challenges Ahead for Starmer as Reform Emerges as a Serious Contender

By Professor Michael Thrasher, Sky News Elections Analyst

The latest election outcomes, announced last night, unmistakably show that the Conservative Party is facing significant challenges.

The Labour Party has claimed victory in the Blackpool South by-election, marking the seventh such defeat for the current parliament.

In the recent municipal elections, the Conservative Party is experiencing significant losses, indicating that this may be among their poorest showings in history.

However, despite the Conservative party losing council seats, the Labour party, under Sir Keir Starmer, has seen little to no increase in its share of the vote relative to its performance in the previous year's May elections.

The depiction of net gains and losses in seats is fascinating.

Labour is at the forefront, yet it finds itself competing for attention with the Liberal Democrats, Greens, and various local independents, all of whom have won seats at the expense of the Conservatives.

Detailed analyses of shifts in voting percentages suggest that the backing for the Reform movement is substantial and could undermine the Conservative Party’s performance in the upcoming general election.

Discover further insights from Sky News elections expert Professor Michael Thrasher on this topic here.

However, Lee Anderson, the ex-deputy chairman of the Conservative Party who switched to Reform UK recently, challenged this claim.

He stated: "Membership in a specific party does not entitle anyone to be there."

When questioned about whether the Conservative Party should replace Mr. Sunak, Mr. Anderson remarked, "I believe the public has already decided. Even if Rishi Sunak were to fly across the UK tonight in a helicopter, scattering £1 million down every chimney, they would still choose to vote him out in October."

Stay tuned for our continuous updates on the election outcomes all weekend long – click here for comprehensive information.

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