Conservative candidate Chloe Smith wins Norwich North by-election

July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

The Conservative party increased its representation in the House of Commons today after Chloe Smith won Norwich North with a majority of 7,348.

A by-election was called after Labour MP Ian Gibson resigned.

He was unhappy that the party had banned him from standing as a candidate at the next general election because of his expenses claims.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Dr Gibson claimed almost £80,000 in four years for mortgage interest and bills on a London flat which was the main home of his daughter.

He was called before a Labour party disciplinary hearing and barred from standing, despite protests from his constituents.

On a swing of 16.5% from Labour to the Tories Ms Smith won yesterday’s by-election with 13,591 votes (39.5%).

Labour’s Chris Ostrowski, who caught swine flu in the last days of the campaign,got 6,243 votes (18.16%).

In 2005 Mr Gibson won the seat with a majority of more than 5,400.

The smaller parties did well at the by-election.

Turnout was 34,377 or 45.76%, a drop of more than 15% on general election.

Lib Dem April Pond won 4,803 (13.97%), Glenn Tingle from UKIP 4,068 (11.83%) and Green party candidate Rupert Read won 3,350 (9.74%).

The BNP’s Robert West won 941.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said the result was “disappointing” for Labour.

“But I think that when people look at this constituency and what was happening, the voters were clearly torn between their anger and dismay at what has been happening over MPs’ expenses, something that we are trying to clean up, and at the same time the support for the former MP, the Labour MP Ian Gibson who was very popular,” he said.

Ms Smith, 27, will become the youngest MP, or Baby of the House, when she takes her seat in October.

“This isn’t about me jumping off here and then going and living up on expenses for the three summer months,” she said.

“This is about getting down to it, being honest, and being held to that.

“If I can be a very very good constituency MP and a very very good local representative for people here, then I hope they’ll continue to put their trust in me and I hope I can serve them well.”

There will be a by-election in the Glasgow North East seat of former Speaker Michael Martin in the autumn.

The state of the parties in the House of Commons after the by-election:

Labour – 349

Conservative – 193

Liberal Democrat – 63

Scottish National Party / Plaid Cymru – 10

Democratic Unionist Party – 9

Social Democratic & Labour Party – 3

Respect -1
(George Galloway)

Ulster Unionist – 1
(Lady Sylvia Hermon)

Independent Conservative -1
(Derek Conway)

Independent Labour -1
(Clare Short)

Independents – 5
(Dr Richard Taylor, Dai Davies, Andrew Pelling, Robert Wareing, Bob Spink)

Sinn Fein – 5
(Have not taken their seats and cannot vote)

The Speaker and Deputies – 4
(John Bercow, Sir Alan Haselhurst, Sylvia Heal, Sir Michael Lord)
(Do not normally vote)

Vacant seats – 1
Glasgow North East

Total number of seats – 646

Current working Government Majority – 62
(349 Labour MPs less 287 of all other parties – excludes Speaker & Deputies and Sinn Fein)


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