Labour easily held its parliamentary seat in West Lancashire with the party’s third by-election victory since Rishi Sunak became prime minister.
Ashley Dalton, a part-time charity worker, was elected as the constituency MP after securing a majority of 8,236 over Mike Prendergast, the Conservative candidate .
The 10.5 per cent swing from the Tories to Labour, on a reduced turnout of under 32 per cent, was similar to that seen in the Stretford and Urmston by-election in December.
In her victory speech, Dalton urged Sunak to “move out of the way” and call a general election.
“Prime minister, your government has no ideas or a plan to address the big issues facing our country, like record levels of child poverty and people dying waiting for ambulances,” Dalton said.
“These are testing times for our country. I have had hundreds of conversations with voters and I know how hard life has become and the unthinkable choices people are having to face — paying their bills or buying food.
“Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives no longer have a mandate to govern. His government has no ideas, no plan to address the big issues facing our country and the voters tonight have sent a message to the prime minister — your government is failing British people.
“Move out of the way. Let Labour take over and it’s time for a general election.”
The by-election vote was called when Labour’s Rosie Cooper resigned after 17 years as West Lancashire MP to become chairwoman of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.
During her time in office she became the target of a far-right terrorist, who plotted to murder her with a machete. Jack Renshaw, a National Action member from Skelmersdale in Lancashire, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey in 2019 and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years.
Labour has held the seat since 1992. In the last general election in 2019 Cooper won with a similar majority of 8,336 and 52 per cent of the vote, albeit with a much higher turnout.
This time around Dalton won 14,068 votes compared to Prendergast’s 5,742, meaning the Conservative share of the votes fell below 30 per cent for the first time since Tony Blair’s landslide Labour victory in 1997.
The Liberal Democrats were pushed into fourth place by Reform UK, which secured 997 votes or 4.42 per cent. The Greens came fifth followed by the Official Monster Raving Loony Party with 210 votes.