BY CALUM FRASER
Labour won a South-east London by-election but with a reduced majority as the Liberal Democrats were hot on their heels.
Janet Daby, Labour Party candidate for the Lewisham East by-election, defeated a surge from Lib Dem Lucy Salek, to win the seat by 5,629 votes.
The vote saw the biggest swing from Labour to Lib Dem, –19 per cent – since 1983.
Mrs Daby received 50.25 per cent of the 47,201 votes cast, while Mrs Salek picked up 24.59 per cent.
Mrs Salek said: “I feel fantastic. Brexit was the issue that we heard most about on the doorsteps and voters have sent a message to Labour, they must not stand-by while the Tory’s lead us off a Brexit cliff.”
Earlier in the week Labour MPs had rebelled against Jeremy
Corbyn’s whip instructing them to abstain on a Lords amendment to the EU [withdrawal] Bill that would have kept Britain in the European Economic Area (EEA) after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Janet Daby said: “I’m so proud to be Lewisham East’s first black MP. This result is another message to the Tories that their programme of austerity is not working. We will not stand for it, and we will not stand for their chaotic and incompetent approach to Brexit.”
The Conservatives fell from second into third place, gaining 14.4 per cent of the vote, compared with 23 per cent last year.
Tory candidate Ross Archer said: “Eight years into a Tory Government, which is having to make difficult decisions, you would expect Labour to be doing much better.
“The decrease in their majority shows they have questions to answer about their record locally.
“I am proud of our campaign, which focused on the issues that matter; more housing, better schools and lower crime.”
The turnout for the election was 33.35 per cent, less than half the 69.3 per cent in last year’s general election.
The Green party came fourth with 3.6 per cent of the vote.
Their candidate, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, said: “We didn’t win. But we sent a very powerful message, doubling our share of the vote.
“I want to send congratulations to Janet and hope that she listens to the message voters in Lewisham have sent today on Brexit, on housing, on education, and, the issue most dear to my heart, on clean air.
“I will continue to campaign on those issues and the Greens will be back at the next election stronger and bigger than ever.”
Women’s Equality Party candidate Mandu Reid rounds off the top five as she won 2.3 per cent of the vote.
She said: “By focusing on gender equality we can build a better and more prosperous society for everyone.
“Congratulations to Janet Daby on her victory. It’s great that four of the five highest-polling candidates were progressive women from a range of backgrounds, it shows that there’s a real desire and appetite for more women and greater diversity in politics.”
The Lewisham East by-election was triggered by Heidi Alexander’s resignation last month, to join London Mayor Sadiq Khan at City Hall as deputy mayor of Transport.
Voters went to the polls on Thursday, June 14.
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