By-election victory: ‘Thrilled’ Lucy Powell holds Manchester Central for Labour as Lib Dem vote crashes further

By Henry Vaughan & Oliver Pritchard

Lucy Powell has held the Manchester Central Parliamentary seat for Labour following an emphatic by-election victory.

The Labour candidate took 11,507 votes, a total of 69% of those cast, with a majority of 9,936, representing almost a 17% swing from the Liberal Democrats since the 2010 General Election.

Marc Ramsbottom from the Liberal Democrats came a distant second taking 1,571 votes, while Tory Mathew Sephton suffered the humility of losing his deposit, taking only 754 votes, only five more than UKIP’s Christopher Cassidy.

Mrs Powell said: “I just think it is really great to get the endorsement that I got tonight from the people of Manchester Central, it’s overwhelming and it’s humbling.”

Mrs Powell, 38, became the first female MP in Manchester.

She added: “I feel really honoured, it’s my home city. It’s also the home of the suffragette movement and the home of trade union movements.

“I feel really honoured to be the first woman MP, but it is about time really. It’s a shame that it has taken until 2012 but now we’re here its good.”

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

“I’ve had a very clear mandate here tonight with a big Labour vote. It’s a lower turnout than we would like but it’s a very clear turnout and a very clear vote for Labour”, said Mrs Powell.

“I think this sends a very, very clear message to the government. The Tories have lost their deposit here tonight.

“They should be absolutely ashamed of that. The Lib Dems used to have quite a big following in Manchester, their vote has absolutely collapsed tonight so this is a very clear message for Nick Clegg and David Cameron.”

TENSE: Candidates wait before Lucy Powell is named Manchester Central MP

Speaking before the result, Marc Ramsbottom said: “People who said we were going to get obliterated were talking absolute nonsense, our share of the vote has held up.”

Mrs Powell explained she was looking forward to raising issues important to the people of Manchester in Parliament and beyond.

Speaking of the ‘living wage’, she said: “The cost of going to work is actually not worth it for many people.

“By the time they’ve paid their travel and their childcare costs, with stagnant and falling wages in many places, and with people not getting enough hours, it’s not worth it.”

“What we’ve got to do is really make sure work pays and that we reward people properly for work.”

Total turnout in the Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections was confirmed as just 13.5% across Greater Manchester.

The by-election was triggered by long-standing Labour MP, Tony Lloyd, stepping down to run for the new PCC role.

There was also a thumping victory for Labour’s Tina Hewitson in the Ardwick Ward Council by-election taking 80.7% of the vote with a 20% turnout.

She said: “I am very pleased to be elected and am looking forward to representing the people of the Ardwick Ward and the opportunity to be their councillor.”

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