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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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UK’s Labour beats PM Sunak’s Conservatives in Chester by-election

Britain's opposition Labour Party retained a parliamentary seat in the northwest of England on Friday, comfortably winning the vote in the first electoral test for Rishi Sunak as prime minister.

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Rishi Sunak has suffered a setback in his first test as prime minister when Labour won the City of Chester with a higher percentage of the vote.

Labour’s best-ever performance in the seat was achieved by Samantha Dixon, who won with a majority of 10,974 and a 61% vote share. According to polling expert John Curtice, a repeat of the Tories’ 12% vote loss would be sufficient for Labour to win the presidency.

Voters “are fed up with the government,” according to Ms. Dixon. Voters had stated, according to her victory address, that “Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives no longer have a mandate to rule.” They don’t think the Conservatives have the answers, she continued, “I think they think it’s Labour’s turn now.”

Read More: Rishi Sunak becomes UK’s first Indian-origin PM

Labour had been predicted to keep the swing seat, which it had won by a margin of 6,164 votes in 2019. The Conservatives received 38% of the vote in the election, placing them second. Labour received 50% of the vote, and the Liberal Democrats received 7%.

Since 1992, the seat has alternated between Labour and the Conservatives four times. This time, Ms. Dixon handily defeated Conservative Liz Wardlaw on a 41% turnout, winning with a 61% share.

According to elections expert Sir John, “Labour are in a stronger position than they have been at any point in the last 12 years.” Sir John said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

 

According to Sir John, the 12% shift from the Conservatives to Labour would be sufficient for Labour to create a new government but “wouldn’t produce an extraordinary majority” if it were to be repeated in a general election.

The swing toward Labour is a little higher than it was during the 1992–1997 parliamentary term, which was won by Labour by a landslide.

According to Sir John, “Rishi Sunak is being reminded by the voters of Chester that he has quite a bit of work to do.” The resignation of former Labour MP Christian Matheson served as the catalyst for the election.

After the Ombudsman for Parliament recommended his suspension for “severe sexual misconduct,” he resigned.

In recent by-elections, the Conservatives did poorly, losing Wakefield to Labour, as well as the previously secure Conservative seats of Tiverton and Honiton, to the Liberal Democrats. These failures put Boris Johnson under more political pressure, and he ultimately resigned as prime minister.

The first by-election since Mr. Johnson resigned and Liz Truss took over, after she upset the market with her mini-Budget, was held on Thursday.