Labour’s candidate for the Oldham West and Royton seat just won the by-election — and Jeremy Corbyn is hailing it as a victory.
Jim McMahon for Labour claimed a massive 62% of the vote share, which was higher than that at the General Election.
He also secured a 10,835 majority from UKIP’s John Bickley, who was tipped as Labour’s strongest contender for the so-called Labour “safe seat” because the left-wing party has sat in that seat for the last 45 years.
There was a by-election because long-serving Labour MP Michael Meacher died earlier this year. In May, during the General Election, he won the seat by 14,000 more votes than UKIP’s candidate.
This means today’s total majority is lower this time around. However, Labour did secure a higher vote shares as the voting turnout was lower than that in May’s General Election at just over 40%.
However Corbyn said today’s result was a “vote of confidence” in the party:
“By-elections can be difficult for the party holding the seat, and turnouts are often low. But to increase our share of the vote since the general election is a vote of confidence in our party.
“It’s a clear demonstration that Labour is the party working people trust.”
This is exactly what Corbyn and the Labour needed after a disastrous couple of weeks leading up to Wednesday night’s vote to bomb Syria.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was locked in a fight with his own party over the vote for several weeks. Corbyn, a committed pacifist, had initially wanted to force his MPs to vote against extending the RAF’s bombing campaign from Iraq to Syria. He had to back down as it became clear that many in his shadow cabinet wouldn’t vote with him, and trying to dictate how they voted would lead to mass resignations.
Many have questioned his ability to remain as a leader of a party that seems increasingly fractured.
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