LONDON — Labour has defeated UKIP leader Paul Nuttall in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.
Labour’s Gareth Snell won by 7,853 votes to Nuttall’s 5,233.
The Conservatives almost pushed Nuttall into third place with 5,154 votes, with the Liberal Democrats on 2,083.
Nuttall’s defeat follows a bruising campaign in which the UKIP leader admitted that claims made on his website that he had lost “close personal friends” in the Hillsborough disaster were false.
Labour sources suggest that Nuttall’s decision to stand and label the seat the “capital of Brexit” had helped them secure victory.
Snell successfully labelled Nuttall as having been “parachuted in” to the seat — a charge that was aided by reports that Nuttall was not living in the Stoke property he listed on his nomination forms as well as an incident in which he failed to name the six towns that make up Stoke.
The result puts Nuttall’s future in jeopardy just months into the job, after former leader Nigel Farage suggested last week that victory in Stoke was “absolutely fundamental” to UKIP’s future.
Nuttall’s defeat also throws doubts on the long-term future of the party post-Brexit. The UKIP leader had hoped to remodel the party as the successors to Labour in their English heartlands.
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