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Seema Malhotra wins by-election
9:49am Friday 16th December 2011 in Feeds
Labour has comfortably held Feltham and Heston in the by-election with an increased majority over the Conservatives.
The Labour candidate Seema Malhotra was returned with majority of 6,203 - a net swing of 8.6% from the Conservatives.
On a night which saw a turnout of under 29% - the lowest in a by-election for 11 years - the Liberal Democrats managed to see off a challenge from the UK Independence Party to hold on to third place.
The result came as a relief to Labour leader Ed Miliband who needed a victory if he was not to face a fresh bout of questioning over his leadership.
The triumphant candidate Ms Malhotra said it was a "wake-up call" for Prime Minister David Cameron. "Even on a lower turnout we've increased substantially our majority and the Tories have got to be asking the question of why," she said. "This is a really important message that's been sent to Mr Cameron."
The Conservatives, however, said Labour should have extended their majority even further if they were looking to be on course for victory at the next general election, set for 2015.
The defeated Tory candidate Mark Bowen insisted that he was "proud" of the result, despite seeing his party's share of the vote fall. "We have done a lot better than the pollsters and bookmakers suggested we would do," he said.
For the Lib Dems there was relief that they avoided the humiliation of being beaten into fourth place, despite a sharp fall in their share of the vote. Lib Dem candidate Roger Crouch said: "We have shown that we are still resilient and still relevant."
Labour increased their share of the vote from 43% at the general election to 54% with a net swing of 8.6% from the Tories. The Conservative vote share was down from 34% to 28%, while the Lib Dems dropped from nearly 14% to under 6%. In contrast, Ukip saw its vote share more than double from 2% to over 5%.
The parliamentary by-election was sparked by the death last month of veteran Labour MP Alan Keen after he lost his battle with cancer.