Labour wins UK by-election in blow to Farage's Brexit Party

Lisa Forbes took 30.9 per cent of the vote in the eastern English city, beating out candidates for the Brexit Party on 28.9 per cent and for Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservatives on 21.4 per cent.
Lisa Forbes took 30.9 per cent of the vote in the eastern English city, beating out candidates for the Brexit Party on 28.9 per cent and for Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservatives on 21.4 per cent.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - The main British opposition Labour Party successfully defended its Peterborough seat, denting the momentum of Mr Nigel Farage's Brexit Party - the bookmakers' favourite to take the constituency in Thursday's (June 6) by-election.

Ms Lisa Forbes took 30.9 per cent of the vote in the eastern English city, beating out candidates for the Brexit Party on 28.9 per cent and for Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservatives on 21.4 per cent.

Labour unexpectedly held off the Brexit Party, which had hoped to take its first seat in the House of Commons less than a month after it came top in the European Parliament elections, taking 29 of the country's 73 seats.

For Mrs May, losing a seat her party won as recently as 2015 was the final blow before she steps down as Tory leader on Friday.

Both Labour and the Tories were bracing for the backlash to continue from voters angry at Parliament's failure to deliver Brexit, in a city which voted 61 per cent in favour of leaving the European Union in the 2016 referendum.

Mr Farage, who wants to overturn the two-party dominance of British politics, must wait for another opportunity to get a toehold in Parliament. The next general election is scheduled for 2022.

The by-election was triggered after Labour's Fiona Onasanya, who won the seat from the Conservatives by just 607 votes in 2017, was jailed for lying about a speeding ticket. Voters removed her in a recall petition, the first time the procedure had been used.