PARTY leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour’s win in the Oldham West and Royton by-election shows its ‘strength and the appeal of its anti-austerity message’.
The result is a blow to the Labour right wing and media who had been calling for his head after Wednesday’s Syria war vote. Visiting the constituency, Corbyn hailed it as an ‘incredible’ result. The Labour candidate Jim McMahon secured a 10,722-vote majority over UKIP’s John Bickley, and a 62% vote share that was higher than at the general election.
The Tories were driven into third place and the LibDems lost their deposit. The by-election was triggered by the death of long-serving Labour MP Michael Meacher, who won the seat at May’s general election with a 14,738 majority.
McMahon said he had ‘delivered a result that Michael would be proud of’. Labour’s majority was lower this time around but the party ended up with a higher vote share as the turnout, just over 40%, was lower than at May’s poll.
Appearing at a rally in the constituency to congratulate McMahon, Corbyn said: ‘Labour victory in Oldham West and Royton is a ringing endorsement for Jim McMahon and the campaign we have been running since September against this Government’s cuts to Tax Credits and policing – and its damaging austerity policies.
‘On a wet Thursday in December, the people of Oldham West and Royton have turned out in their thousands and voted for a Labour Party that is offering a real choice: between the politics of the few peddled by David Cameron and George Osborne – and the better, fairer Britain Labour stands for.
‘The people of Oldham chose Labour values and Labour’s vision for the future. By increasing our share of the vote since the General Election, voters in Oldham have demonstrated that Labour is the real party of working people.
‘We will now take our winning arguments to every constituency in the country – to convince the electorate, as we have in Oldham, that only Labour can deliver the economic and social justice our country is crying out for.’