Manchester

Labour's Lucy Powell wins Manchester Central election

Lucy Powell
Image caption Lucy Powell succeeds Tony Lloyd as Labour MP for Manchester Central

Manchester has elected its first female Labour MP, with Lucy Powell holding Manchester Central in a by-election.

She took 11,507 votes - 69% of those cast - and won a majority of 9,936.

Liberal Democrat Marc Ramsbottom was second with 1,571 votes, with Conservative Matthew Sephton third on 754 votes - five more votes than were achieved by UKIP's Chris Cassidy.

The turnout of just over 18% is believed to be the lowest in a by-election since World War II.

'Clear message'

Ms Powell is the first Labour woman to be elected in the city of Manchester, birthplace of Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the founders of the suffragette movement.

The result represents a swing of nearly 17% from the Lib Dems to Labour since the general election of 2010.

The by-election was triggered by Labour's Tony Lloyd standing down as MP to run as his party's police and crime commissioner candidate for Greater Manchester.

The result of that election is expected later.

Mr Sephton is expected to lose his deposit after winning less than 5% of the vote.

Ms Powell said: "With this result Manchester Central has sent this Tory-Lib Dem government a message - a clear message that we think their policies are wrong and unfair.

"They're wrong and unfair that our city is facing disproportionate and savage cuts, wrong and unfair that our communities are seeing the break-up of services and institutions that they value and that they need, and unfair and wrong that the people of Manchester are having to deal with a huge squeeze in their living standards and incomes while millionaires get a tax break."

Prof Jonathan Tonge, of the University of Liverpool, said the low voter turnout was shocking.

"I blame the electors. Four days after the nation remembered the fight for democratic freedom the fact that only 18% of the voters of Manchester Central can be bothered to vote in a parliamentary election - the lowest turnout in British political history - that is shameful," he said.

"People received information about the parliamentary candidates in a way that they didn't receive information about the Police and Crime Commissioner candidates."