Kingswood by-election: Labour overturns Tory majority in South Gloucestershire seat

Credit: PA

The Labour Party has overturned a Conservative majority of more than 11,000 to win Kingswood's by-election and take the seat from the Tories after 14 years.

Damien Egan, previously the Mayor of Lewisham in South East London, will now become the new MP for the South Gloucestershire constituency.

Mr Egan received 11,176 votes compared to the Conservative candidate, Sam Bromiley, who obtained 8,675. He told ITV West Country he's eager to get working in the constituency.

Response from Rishi Sunak

Following this morning's result, the prime minister said: "Mid-term by-elections are always difficult for incumbent governments and the circumstances of these by-elections were of course particularly challenging.

"I think if you look at the result, there was very low turn-out and it shows that we've got work to do to show people that we're delivering on their priorities and that's what I'm absolutely determined to do.

Response from Keir Starmer

The leader of the opposition said he was "very pleased" with last night's results in Kingswood and Wellingborough.

"People are crying out for change across the country. They think that the Tories have failed, they can see that most things are broken. They look at the Labour Party and see a change and last night, people who hadn't voted Labour before went out and voted Labour."

A total of 24,905 votes were counted at Thornbury Leisure Centre in South Gloucestershire, which sits just outside of the Kingswood constituency.

Voter turnout was 37.11%, compared to 71.5% in the 2019 general election.

The results in full:

Labour: 11,176Conservatives: 8,675Reform UK: 2,578Green Party: 1,450Liberal Democrats: 861UKIP: 129

There was a 16.4% swing from the Conservatives to Labour in Kingswood - Sir Keir Starmer's Party needed 11.4% to win.

Reform UK received 10.35% of the vote - a result the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told ITV West Country poses a larger threat to the Tories than Labour.

Kingswood's by-election was one of two on Thursday 15 February and the first major political test of 2024 for the Conservatives.

It was triggered by the resignation of the Conservative former MP Chris Skidmore, who quit in January over government proposals to boost North Sea oil and gas drilling.

The other was in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, after the previous MP Peter Bone was removed by a recall petition.

Votes in both by-elections were cast on the same day that official figures showed the UK fell into a recession at the end of last year - increasing pressure on the government to defend its economic promises.

The Kingswood constituency will be abolished at the next general election, meaning Damien Egan will only represent the seat in Westminster for a matter of months.

But it was a crucial test for Labour, indicating how they could fare in similar seats they lost to the Tories in the 2010 general election.

Mr Egan will run as the Labour candidate in the new constituency of Bristol North East.

Damien Egan, the former mayor of Lewisham, said 14 years of Conservative government have “sucked the hope out of our country”.

“In Kingswood, as across the country, 14 years of Conservative government have sucked the hope out of our country with a feeling that no matter how hard you work, you just can’t move forward.

“And with Rishi (Sunak)’s recession we’re left again paying more and getting less. It doesn’t have to be this way, you know it, I know it, we all know it.

“When the Prime Minister finally finds the courage to give the people a say, we’re going to need each and every one of you again to come out and vote and make sure your voices are heard.

“Our country is at a crossroads. Under the Conservatives we can choose more managed decline, more chaos, more division or we can choose a changed Labour Party.

“A government that will put people first, ensures the child’s background isn’t a barrier to their future and that will rebuild Great Britain.”

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