'Move out of the way, Rishi Sunak': Labour holds West Lancashire with big majority in by-election

10 February 2023, 05:27 | Updated: 10 February 2023, 07:53

Ashley Dalton told the Government to move out of the way
Ashley Dalton told the Government to move out of the way. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

"Move out of the way" was the message to the Tories from the newly-elected Labour MP in West Lancashire.

Ashley Dalton demanded a general election after retaining the seat for her party with an 8,326 majority over the Conservative challenger Mike Prendergast. She took 14,068 votes.

It represented a 10.52% swing from the Tories to Labour.

"Tonight the people of West Lancashire constituency have spoke on behalf of the country," she said in her victory speech.

"They have sent a message to this Conservative Government. They do not have confidence in them to govern or the Prime Minister to lead.

"Prime Minister, your Government has no ideas or a plan to address the big issues facing our country, like record levels of child poverty and people dying waiting for ambulances."

Read more: Nadine Dorries to quit as Tory MP over 'infighting and lack of cohesion' in Conservative party

She added: "These are testing times for our country. I have had hundreds of conversations with voters and I know how hard life has become and the unthinkable choices people are having to face - paying their bills or buying food.

"Rishi Sunak's Conservatives no longer have a mandate to govern. His Government has no ideas, no plan to address the big issues facing our country and the voters tonight have sent a message to the Prime Minister - your Government is failing British people.

"Move out of the way. Let Labour take over and it's time for a general election."

The byelection was triggered after Labour's Rosie Cooper resigned last year to become chairwoman of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Read more: Minister brands controversial Tory MP '30p Lee' a 'good thing for the Conservative Party'

The Tory voted dipped below 30%, the first time since Tony Blair won a landslide in 1997.

Although Labour was always confident of retaining the seat, the Conservative result could prove to be an indicator of how much work the Government has to do between now and the next general election.

Rishi Sunak is hoping to stabilise the economy in that time, with new party chairman Greg Hands – replacing Nadhim Zahawi – tasked with preparing for the vote.

Reform UK finished ahead of the Liberal Democrats, taking 997 to the Lib Dems' 918.

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