Labour today held Manchester Central and Cardiff South and Penarth constituency seats in their respective by-elections.

Labour held Manchester Central with a majority of 9,936 votes, with Lucy Powell being elected as MP with 11,507 votes. She takes over from Tony Lloyd, who gave up the seat to stand in the police and crime commissioner elections.

The turnout of 18.16% was reportedly the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since the Second World War.

The post-war record until now for the lowest turnout is believed to be 19.9% in 1999 in the seat of Leeds Central.

Ms Powell said:

I am absolutely thrilled. It is a really emphatic vote for Labour. That is a clear endorsement of Labour and a major rejection of the Tory-Lib Dem government. This is not a good night for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. We have seen that over the last couple of years they have been crushed in local elections and I'm afraid they have been crushed here again tonight. I think the Tories have lost their deposit. We saw that Grant Shapps was saying recently at the Tory conference that there we no no-go areas for the Tories but I'm afraid Manchester is a no-go area for the Tories after tonight.

Commenting on the low turnout, she said: "It is not the Labour vote that has not turned out, it is the vote of the other parties."

Mancunian Ms Powell is the first woman Labour MP for any of the Manchester constituencies.

She had served as Ed Miliband's deputy chief of staff and ran his campaign to become leader of the Labour Party.