The Labour Party has won the Peterborough by-election – denying Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party their first MP.
Mr Farage walked out before the result was even announced.
Labour’s Lisa Forbes came 683 votes ahead of the Brexit Party’s Mike Greene.
The Tories were pushed into third place.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the result was a “great win” for a “people-powered campaign”.
The by-election came about after previous MP Fiona Onasanya was booted out in a recall petition following her conviction for lying to avoid speeding points.
See how the night unfolded…
Corbyn praises ‘great win’ for ‘people powered’ campaign
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Peterborough by-election result was a “great win” for a “people powered campaign”.
“Peterborough has shown clear support for Labour’s programme to end austerity and invest in services and communities, rejecting a decade of Tory cuts and their disastrous handling of Brexit,” he said.
“In this key seat, the Conservatives have been pushed to the margins.
“This result shows that in spite of the divisions and deadlock over Brexit, when it comes to a vote on the issues that directly affect people’s lives, Labour’s case for real change has strong support across the country.”
Full results list
Lisa Forbes (Labour) 10,484 (30.91%, -17.17%)
Mike Greene (Brexit) 9,801 (28.89%)
Paul Bristow (Conservative) 7,243 (21.35%, -25.45%)
Beki Sellick (Liberal Democrat) 4,159 (12.26%, +8.92%)
Joseph Wells (Green) 1,035 (3.05%, +1.27%)
John Whitby (UKIP) 400 (1.18%)
Tom Rogers (Christian People’s Alliance) 162 (0.48%)
Stephen Goldspink (English Democrats) 153 (0.45%)
Patrick O’Flynn (Social Democratic Party) 135 (0.40%)
Howling ‘Laud’ Hope (Official Monster Raving Loony Party) 112 (0.33%)
Andrew Moore (Peterborough People’s Party) 101 (0.30%)
Dick Rodgers (Common Good) 60 (0.18%)
Peter Ward (Renew) 45 (0.13%)
Pierre Kirk (UK EU Party) 25 (0.07%)
Bobby Smith (Independent) 5 (0.01%)
Lab majority 683 (2.01%)
Turnout 33,920 (48.32%, -18.43%)
Labour win by 683 votes
Labour has held onto the seat of Peterborough by their fingernails and saw off a Brexit Party insurgency.
Last night the party’s Lisa Forbes won the East of England seat by just a few hundred votes – with Nigel Farage’s newfound party in second.
The knife edge vote saw both parties briefing that they had lost the race – with a larger than expected turnout helping the party to victory.
It comes after party ran a huge ground operation with the aim of holding onto the seat they had won by just 607 votes in 2017.
It comes as a blow to Mr Farage’s new party which had been heavily tipped to pull off a second political earthquake in the space of a month after topping the polls in European elections.
Labour Party win by-election
The Labour Party’s candidate Lisa Forbes has won with 10,484 votes.
The Brexit Party’s Mike Greene secured 9,801 votes, while the Conservative Party’s Paul Bristow won 7,243 votes.
Lisa said: “The fact that the Brexit Party has been rejected here in Peterborough shows that the politics of division will not win. Tonight’s victory is significant because it shows that the politics of hope can win, regardless of the odds.”
Provisional result is in
The provisional result is reportedly in, although it has yet to be announced.
BBC journalist Mark Summers reports that the Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene told him they have come a close second
Brexit Party believes it has lost by under 500 votes
The Brexit Party believes that it has lost by under 500 votes, according to Sky News.
It is thought the party will now demand a recount.
Nigel Farage arrives at the count
Nigel Farage has now arrived at the Peterborough by-election, after reportedly sneaking in through the back door.
Sky News said he seemed keen to avoid the cameras, although a producer managed to film his arrival.
When asked by Sky News what he thought the result would be, Nigel Farage said: “I have no idea.”
Brexit Party chairman says vote ‘could be into recount territory’
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said as has arrived at the Peterborough by-election count: “It’s going to be really, really close.
“We could be into recount territory. We could be here for some time, who knows.
“What’s clear is the turnout is very high, which is great for democracy, so we should be encouraged by that but, you know, everybody’s worked incredibly hard, we’ve been at it for weeks, Labour have been at it for 100 years.”
Counting is progressing quicker than expected
We may have a result within the next half hour to an hour – and Labour are feeling increasingly confident.
Mood improves in Labour camp
It is still much too early to predict anything here.
But the higher turnout has improved the mood of some Labour campaigners – and soured the mood of some Brexit campaigners.
One senior party source has described the result as “nail-biting” which while hardly a vote of confidence is a big improvement on the briefing from earlier in the evening that they were bracing for a loss.
Brexit Party also now downplaying their chances
Labour has run a pretty large ground operation here today. Huge numbers of activists and staff have been in the seat since early this morning trying to get out the vote.
Not the Brexit Party are suggesting it might have been so good that it could finish their chances – but as always this early in the night no one is saying anything conclusive.
This from The Guardian’s Rajeev Syal is a good summary of what the party is saying.
Conservatives – not a great night
It is easy to get sucked into a version of this story which says it is Labour’s to lose or Brexit Party’s to win.
But it is easy to ignore the fact that until 2017 this seat was one of the tightest marginals in the country between Labour and the Tories.
Nobody is even bothering to try and spin it now. They have crashed to a predicted third-place finish and every other party thinks they have haemorrhaged votes to the Brexit Party.
Well, we now know what the turnout figure is in this race.
48.8% of people eligible to vote in this by-election have turned out.
It is higher than the locals – but not approaching general election levels.
We’ll see what that means, but it could mean good news for Labour and the party’s get out the vote operation today.
If Labour squeeze a win, Momentum could have made all the difference
Labour’s expectation management machine is trying to downplay the chances that the party have won – but they aren’t ruling it out.
But if they squeeze a win then they may owe it in part to left-wing campaign group Momentum who are claiming to have mobilised “nearly one thousand activists to either knock on doors or make calls in the run-up to the Peterborough by-election”.
Candidates and supporters are arriving – some are more noticeable than others
We’re still a long way from results here.
But candidates and their supporters are arriving, and among them are the ever colour Monster Raving Loony Party.
They’ll be hoping that Alan “Howling Laud” Hope…well I’ll be totally honest I don’t really know what they are expecting.
All of ballot boxes are now in – and tellers are verifying votes
Before they begin counting votes the tellers will verify them. After they are done we should have an idea of what the turnout is – which is something all the political parties are desperate to know as it lets them know if they managed to get their voters to the polls.
As counting starts Labour wonder if they haven’t done enough
It is a strange mood here at the Peterborough count among Labour staff and supporters.
Some party sources are now beginning to openly wonder if – despite turn-out being up – they haven’t done enough to win the seat.
This is far from conceding defeat – but is an acknowledgement that their campaign might not have been enough to beat a campaign so focussed on just a single issue.
Their argument is that despite running a campaign dedicated to local issues, they’ve been caught up in a moment defined by national politics.
First ballot boxes arrive at the count
The tension is building as the first votes to be counted arrive.
Candidates in full
This contest has become about the collapse of Conservatives support and the race between the Brexit Party and Labour.
But there are – to be frank – loads and loads of people standing.
Here is a full list for the anoraks:
- Brexit Party – Mike Greene
- Christian People’s Alliance – Tom Rogers
- Common Good: Remain in the EU – Dick Rodgers
- Conservatives – Paul Bristow
- English Democrats – Stephen Goldspink
- Green Party – Joseph Wells
- Independent – Andrew John Moore
- Independent – Bobby Smith
- Labour – Lisa Forbes
- Liberal Democrats – Beki Sellick
- Official Monster Raving Loony Party – Alan “Howling Laud” Hope
- Renew – Peter Ward
- SDP Fighting for Brexit – Patrick O’Flynn
- UK European Union Party – Pierre Kirk
- UKIP – John Whitby
Labour – holding out hope
This election was triggered by the ousting of MP Fiona Onasanya, who won the seat for Labour in 2017 but was later jailed after lying over a speeding offence.
It left the party facing an uphill battle in the seat, where 60.9% of voters backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum. The party faced another blow last week after Jewish organisations have called on Labour to ditch candidate Lisa Fobes for liking a post that said Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.
Ms Forbes later apologised but party chiefs warned that the story on top of the loss of trust from Onasanya’s conviction had “cost the party with floating voters”.
But a party insider is optimistic as polls closed telling the Mirror: “We’ve been knocking doors for months and Labour voters tell us they are coming out, as Tories abandon their party for Nigel Farage’s mob we could still sneak through the middle.
“It is all about turn out for us.”
That turnout point is important – and it looks like it could be higher than many were expecting
Brexit Party – downplaying expectations of a win
Going into tonight’s contest it was pretty much expected that the Brexit Party were going to beat Labour into second place and win the seat.
The Conservatives, who lost this seat by just 607 votes in 2017, have resigned themselves to a distant third.
But the party are keen to downplay expectations that they are going to walk to victory in this seat.
But a Brexit Party source was keen to stress that the insurgent party winning the seat wasn’t a sure fire thing.
They said: “I’ll be happy if we get within 5% we will be happy and it will be a real achievement.
“Labour has been campaigning hard in this seat for months.”
Polls have closed in the by-election here in Peterborough and we are waiting for the first boxes to make their way to the count.
The race here is going to be difficult to call – and insiders in all parties are saying it looks closer than they were expecting.
Council officials say we can expect the result sometime between 1am and 5am.
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