Labour have won Corby from the Conservatives, and with a larger swing than most pundits were predicting. Its majority of more than 7,000 means that Labour now holds the seat with a larger majority than it did after the 2001 election.
The Tories are already pointing to several factors to explain the scale of their defeat. It’s mid-term and the fact that Louise Mensch had quit the seat having won it last time to move to New York definitely hurt them. But it is still a poor, if not spectacularly so, result for them. I suspect it will lead to increased jitters on the Tory benches as MPs work out what a 12.7 per cent swing would do to their majorities.
For Labour, it is an encouraging sign. In his acceptance speech, Andy Sawford, the victorious candidate, emphasised that this was a victory for ‘one-nation Labour’ and that ‘the road to Downing Street runs through Corby’. Now, again this is a mid-term by-election and it is hyperbole to say, as he did, that ‘middle England has spoken’. But it does give Ed Miliband some momentum and a good platform from which to continue his explanation of ‘one-nation Labour’.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.