Friday, December 04, 2015

UK: Oldham – Labour Sweeps To Victory

Labour has comfortably won its first parliamentary byelection since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, storming ahead of Ukip by more than 10,000 votes in Oldham West and Royton in Greater Manchester.

Jim McMahon, the 35-year-old leader of Oldham council, will swap the town hall for Westminster after persuading 17,209 people to vote for him. Turnout was 40.26%, down from 59.6% at the general election in May, but not an embarrassment on a very rainy Thursday in December. McMahon increased Labour’s share of the vote to 62.27%, up 7.49%.

Live Corbyn: Jim McMahon's Oldham win is a 'vote of confidence' in Labour – live
Rolling coverage of reaction to Labour’s Jim McMahon winning the Oldham West and Royton byelection, with Jeremy Corbyn planning a visit to celebrate his victory

Ukip’s John Bickley, a Cheshire-based businessman, was runner-up, on 6,487. It was his fourth second place in Greater Manchester in less than two years, having lost out to Labour in byelections in Wythenshawe and Sale East in February 2014 and Heywood and Middleton in October 2015, failing again there in May’s general election.

The Conservatives were third on 2,596. The Liberal Democrats 1,024, the Greens 249.

In a statement McMahon said: “I am delighted to have been elected tonight. Michael Meacher was a close friend of mine and he was admired by people across the country as someone who worked tirelessly for the causes he believed in. I will do my best to live up to those high standards.

“My sole focus has always been on what is best for Oldham, I want to make our town a better place for my sons to grow up in and make it somewhere they can be proud of, my priority will always be Oldham.

“We also need to remember what is currently at stake under this Tory government. While everyone is looking the other way they are quietly pushing through cuts that will change the face of towns like Oldham.

“The sooner we kick the Tories out and get a Labour government back in the better for all of us. The hard work starts now.”

Widely expected to try to be the first elected mayor of Greater Manchester when elections take place in 2017, he surprised many by running in the byelection instead. “I’ve never been tempted to run for parliament before,” he said. “But it’s Oldham and I couldn’t not. There is so much I can do for this town in Westminster.”

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