Labour steals victory from Brexit Party at Peterborough by-election as Farage makes swift exit
PUBLISHED: 02:02 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 07 June 2019
Labour has surprised political pundits by managing to see off a threat from Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party at the Peterborough by-election.
With a huge turnout of 48%, the opposition party managed to recruit enough support to prevent the newly-formed party of Brexit from its first Westminster victory.
Despite topping the polls at the European elections just days before, and the Peterborough constituency voting to Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, the Brexit Party were unable to succeed against Jeremy Corbyn's Labour.
Lisa Forbes managed to secure 10,484 votes for Labour compared to the Brexit Party's 9,801 votes - a majority of 683 votes.
The Tories fell into third place with 7,243 votes, while the Lib Dems came fourth with 4,159 votes. The Greens secured 1,035 votes, followed by UKIP on 400 votes.
The fact the party managed to win second place, however, is still likely to concern Westminster parties assessing the impact the Brexit Party would have in a future general election.
While Labour's majority is slightly up, its vote share is down from 48.1% to 30.9%.
Labour's Lisa Forbes said she had campaigned on a "message of hope". She told supporters at the count: "The politics of division will not win... The politics of hope can win, regardless of the odds."
The Brexit Party was represented by Mike Greene, who appeared in Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire and was a former business partner of Greybull Capital, the private equity group which let British Steel collapse into administration.
He came into difficulty during the campaign trying to explain claims he had made about the European Union during a BBC Radio 4 interview.
Farage is said to have made a swift exit ahead of the declaration of the result to avoid questions from the media.
The by-election was called after Peterborough's previous MP Fiona Onasanya was forced out after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offence.
Onasanya was elected as a Labour MP in 2017, taking the seat off the Conservatives with a wafer thin majority of 607 votes. She was suspended from the party after she was sentenced.
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