Wellingborough by-election: Labour overturns 18,000 majority in latest blow to Rishi Sunak

  • Labour's Gen Kitchen claimed victory in Northamptonshire - overturning a Conservative majority of more than 18,000

The Labour Party has claimed victory in the Wellingborough by-election, overturning a Conservative majority of more than 18,000 in a traditional Tory stronghold.

Labour's Gen Kitchen came out on top in the Northamptonshire seat - winning 45.9% of votes, a majority of more than 6,000.

Voter turnout was 38.1%, well down on the 64.27% recordd in the 2019 General Election.

The swing from the Conservatives to Labour in Wellingborough was 28.5% - Labour needed just 18% to win. It is the second largest swing from Tory to Labour at a by-election since the Second World War.

Ms Kitchen beat Tory candidate Helen Harrison - who won 24.6% of votes. Ms Harrison is the partner of the former MP Peter Bone, who was recalled by his constituents following his suspension over bullying and sexual misconduct findings.

Ms Kitchen, who grew up in Northamptonshire, was a charity worker and councillor in Newham in east London, before moving back to the county.

The Labour Party won the Wellingborough by-election with a majority of 6,436. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Giving her victory speech, the newest Labour MP said: "This is a stunning victory for the Labour Party and must send a message from Northamptonshire to Downing Street.

"Whether you voted for my party, another party, or no party at all, I will serve you and work to earn your trust again."

People in Wellingborough voted to recall former MP Mr Bone - to oust him from his seat - after he was found to have subjected a staff member to bullying and sexual misconduct.

According to a report in The Times in October, Mr Bone had threatened to stand as an independent candidate in the by-election, potentially splitting the Tory vote, if his partner Ms Harrison was not selected as the party’s candidate.

Gen Kitchen celebrated with her family after being declared the winner at the Kettering Leisure Village, Northamptonshire. Credit: PA

Commenting on the Labour Party's success, Sir Keir Starmer said: "These are fantastic results in Kingswood and Wellingborough that show people want change and are ready to put their faith in a changed Labour Party to deliver it.

“By winning in these Tory strongholds, we can confidently say that Labour is back in the service of working people and we will work tirelessly to deliver for them."

The full Wellingborough by-election results:

  • Gen Kitchen, The Labour Party 13,844, (45.92%)

  • Helen Harrison, The Conservative Party 7,408, (24.57%)

  • Ben Habib, Reform 3,919, (13%)

  • Ana Savage Gunn, Liberal Democrats 1,422, (4.72%)

  • Marion Turner-Hawes, 1,115, (3.70%)

  • Will Morris, The Green Party 1,020 (3.38%)

  • Kev Watts, Independent 533, (1.77%)

  • Alex Merola, Britain First 477, (1.58%)

  • Nick The Flying Brick, Official Monster raving Loony Party, 217 (0.72%)

  • Andre Pyne-Bailey, Independent, 172, (0.57%)

  • Ankit Love Jay Mala, 18, (0.06%)

  • The Conservative candidate Helen Harrison told ITV News Anglia she will "absolutely" run in the next general election

By-elections elsewhere

Kingswood in Gloucestershire, previously Tory-held, also held a by-election overnight. Labour overturned a Conservative majority of more than 11,000 to take the seat from the Tories after 14 years.

And Rochdale in Manchester is due to have its poll in two weeks, 29 February.

Some 19 other constituencies have had by-elections since the last General Election in 2019 - including Mid Bedfordshire, which also went from Conservative to Labour.

Before Friday's morning's results, the Conservatives had already lost eight seats - four of them to Labour.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…