Despite reports suggesting UKIP could win the Oldham West and Royton’s by-election Labour’s candidate, Jim McMahon, won the seat.
Words: Daisy Greenaway
Following a close-call campaign and an election in which just 40% of the electorate voted Labour managed to hold on to the seat, which was held by the late Michael Meacher from 1970 until his death in October.
Jim McMahon had served on the Oldham Council since November 2003 and received an OBE in the 2015 Birthday Honours for “services to the community in Oldham”.
Labour won the seat by 10,000 more votes than UKIP, who took second place.
Speaking to the BBC following the results McMahon confirmed that had he been able to vote on the Syrian airstrikes he would of been against the government.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted following the results:
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) December 4, 2015
Many saw this by-election as a test on Corbyn himself, especially following his defeat in commons yesterday. The BBC had previously referred to the event as “Jeremy Corbyn’s first test at the ballot box”.
The UK Independence Party, which was believed to make a close second, did far worse than expected. Members of UKIP have been quick to blame Labour of sabotage and of vote fixing – including UKIP leader Nigel Farage:
Evidence from an impeccable source that today’s postal voting was bent.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 4, 2015
There had been no other suggestions of votes being fixed at this time.