The Conservatives have successfully held their traditional safe seat in the London constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup, following yesterday’s by-election.
The by-election was triggered after the constituency’s former MP, Conservative James Brokenshire, died of lung cancer.
The Tory candidate for the seat this time around, local councillor Louie French, secured a 51.48 per cent share of the vote, ensuring that the party have now controlled the seat without relent since 1983, when the constituency was formed.
Paying tribute to his predecessor, French promised voters to “work tirelessly to repay the trust that you’ve placed in me” and promised that he wouldn’t let his new constituents down.
French said: “My focus will now be delivering on those promises that I made during the campaign - get our fair share of London's police officers, securing more investment for local schools and hospitals, protecting our precious green spaces.”
However, the result pales in comparison to Brokenshire’s performance in the 2019 general election, with the Tory majority in the constituency cut from 19,000 votes and a 64.5 per cent share of the vote, to a margin of 4,478 and a 51.48 per cent overall share.
Labour’s Daniel Francis, who came second in the running, managed to swing ten per cent of the votes toward his party compared to 2019, winning 30.88 per cent of the voting share overall this time around.
The overall turnout for the by-election was just 34 per cent, the lowest seen at a by-election since 2018, the BBC reports.
Ellie Reeves, the Labour MP for the neighbouring constituency of Lewisham West and Penge, was encouraged by Labour’s reduction of the blue majority, but Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden insisted that the result was simply in keeping with the “very low turnout”.
He told Sky News: “This idea that Labour have made some surge ahead is really for the birds”, adding that it was a “good solid result” for the Tories in one of their traditional strongholds.
Meanwhile, the Green Party and Liberal Democrats both scored under 1,000 votes and lost their deposits.
Reform UK, the present-day inception of the Brexit Party, secured 6.6 per cent of the vote and finished third in the reckoning.
Reform UK's candidate, Richard Tice, hailed his party's performance at the polls as "massive", and said that the slimmer Tory majority suggested local voters were beginning to see prime minister Boris Johnson as a "liability".
The full result of the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election is as follows:
Louie French, Conservatives - 11,189 [51.48 per cent]
Daniel Francis, Labour - 6,711 [30.88 per cent]
Richard Tice, Reform UK - 1,432 [6.59 per cent]
Jonathan Rooks, Green - 830 [3.82 per cent]
Simone Reynolds, Liberal Democrats - 647 [2.98 per cent]
Elaine Cheeseman, The English Democrats - 271 [1.25 per cent]
John Poynton, UKIP - 184 [0.85 per cent]
Richard Hewison, Rejoin EU - 151 [0.69 per cent]
David Kurten, Heritage Party - 116 [0.53 per cent]
Carol Valinejad, Christian Peoples Alliance - 108 [0.50 per cent]
Mad Mike Young, Official Monster Raving Loony Party - 94 [0.43 per cent]
Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash