Sir Keir Starmer has called Labour’s historic byelection result a “cry for change” while Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey exclaimed “it’s time for a general election” following his party’s triumph in Somerset, adding: “It’s time to get these clowns out of No 10!”
It was undoubtedly a bad set of results for Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives although they did manage to hold on to Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip by the slenderest of majorities.
Sunak said that result proves the next general election is “not a done deal” while Labour blamed their failure to win in Uxbridge on the controversial expansion of the Ulez ultra low emissions zone) by Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan.
Drivers of polluting vehicles will have to pay £12.50 to drive in the expanded zone, which includes Uxbridge, and speaking after the byelection result Khan said: “Of course I am disappointed that this seat, which has never been Labour in my lifetime, didn’t go Labour last night.
“Obviously I welcome the 7% swing to Labour in this outer London seat and we are determined to clear the air in London.”
Khan said clean air is a “human right not a privilege” and said extending Ulez is an “issue of social justice and racial justice” give the poorest Londoners who cannot afford cars are those “who suffer the worst consequences – that can’t be right.”
The 7% swing to Labour In Uxbridge and South Ruislip meant a recount was needed to confirm Conservative candidate Steve Tuckwell as MP by just 495 votes.
There was no need for recounts in the other two byelections which saw the Conservatives trounced by Labour in North Yorkshire and the Liberal Democrats in Somerset.
For the first time in electoral history, Labour overturned a 20,000 Conservative majority to take Selby and Ainsty and elect 25-year old Keir Mather as MP.
A jubilant Starmer spoke in the constituency today and said that those in Selby and Ainsty who voted for Labour “voted for change away from the chaos”.
Similar scenes in Somerton and Frome saw elated Ed Davey perform a canon stunt after exclaiming: “It’s time for a general election to end this Conservative circus. It’s time to get these clowns out of No 10!”
Appearing with the new Lib Dem MP for Frome Sarah Dyke – who achieved a 29% swing to wipe out a 19,000 Tory majority and claim her own 11,008 majority – Davey “lit” the canon which “fired” streamers and confetti to celebrate the Lid Dem victory.
He told the crowd in Frome town centre: “I’ve spoken to a lot of people in this by-election and people across the country.
“People are angry, they are angry that while they work hard to make ends meet, angry while they are trying to get a GP appointment or a dentist for their child, the Conservatives are so out of touch they have not even noticed.
“They are fed up of these Conservative clowns with their political circus not helping people and that’s why thousands of lifelong Conservatives are switching to the Liberal Democrats and why thousands of life-long Labour voters lent us their support to beat the Conservatives.”
On Twitter the Lib Den leader repeated “What a night. What a result. Somerton and Frome has spoken for the country and sent a message to this appalling government.
“Ringmaster Rishi is out of touch, out of ideas and out of excuses. Time for a General Election to end this Conservative circus and get these clowns out.”