UK Politics

Count begins in Barnsley Central by-election

Voting has finished in the Barnsley Central by-election, with Labour expected to record a comfortable victory in the South Yorkshire seat

The contest, in which nine candidates took part, was prompted by the resignation of former Labour MP Eric Illsley over fiddling his expenses.

But the party's Dan Jarvis is widely predicted to take the seat.

The focus will be on the Lib Dems, who could be beaten into fourth place by the UK Independence Party.

The turnout in the by-election was 36.5%, compared with 56.4% at the last General Election. The result is expected early on Friday morning.

The by-election is only the second since the coalition government took power last May, the other being January's contest for Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Image caption The Barnsley by-election is only the second such contest since the coaltion took power

At the general election Illsley held Barnsley Central with a majority of just over 11,000 and 47% of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats in second place, six votes ahead of the Conservatives.

But the MP resigned his seat after pleading guilty to falsely claiming £14,000 in parliamentary expenses. He was later jailed for a year.

A Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday of 507 registered voters in the constituency, carried out on 24 and 25 February, put Labour on 63%, with the Conservatives on 13%, UKIP on 9%, the Lib Dems on 6% and the British National Party on 4%.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, were:

•Dominic Carman (Liberal Democrats)

•Jane Collins (UK Independence Party)

•Enis Dalton (British National Party)

•Tony Devoy (Independent)

•James Hockney (Conservative)

•Howling Laud Hope (Monster Raving Loony Party)

•Dan Jarvis (Labour)

•Kevin Riddiough (English Democrats)

•Michael Val Davies (Independent)