Labour vote rises as it holds Manchester Central and Cardiff South
The party comfortably won both by-elections on an increased share of the vote, while the Tories lost their deposit in Manchester.
There was never any doubt that Labour would win the Manchester Central and Cardiff South by-elections, both constituencies having returned Labour MPs for decades, but the party will still be pleased that it managed to increase its margin of victory in each.
In Manchester, its share of the vote rose by 16.4 per cent to 69.1 per cent, with a swing from the Lib Dems of 16.8 per cent. It was a bad night for the Tories, who came within five votes of being beaten by Ukip and who lost their deposit as they received just 4.5 per cent of the vote, their lowest ever in the seat. All parties, however, will be disappointed by the turnout, which at 18.16 per cent was the lowest in any by-election since the Second World War.
In Cardiff, Labour's share of the vote rose by 8.4 per cent to 47.3 per cent, with a swing from the Tories of 8.41 per cent, in line with that currently shown by the national opinion polls. Turnout was higher than in Manchester at 25.35 per cent.
Attention will now move to Corby, which Labour is expected to gain from the Tories, and the first-ever police and crime commissioner elections. Early signs suggest that turnout in the latter could fall to a new record low for a national election, with as few as 15 per cent of eligible voters taking part. The ignominious record is currently held by the 1999 EU Parliament election in which 23 per cent voted. With most police areas not due to begin counting until later this morning, we've just one result so far, with the Tories, as expected, winning Wiltshire. Turnout was a dismal 16 per cent.
We'll have full coverage of the PCC elections and the Corby by-election, where a result is expected around 1pm, on The Staggers.
Here are the two by-election results in full.
Manchester Central by-election
Labour 11,507 votes 69.1% (+16.4%)
Liberal Democrats 1,571 votes 9.4% (-17.2%)
Conservative 754 votes 4.5% (-7.3%)
UK Independence Party 749 votes 4.5% (+3%)
Green Party 652 votes 3.9% (+1.6%)
British National Party 492 votes 3% (-1.1%)
Pirate Party 308 votes 1.9% (N/A)
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition 220 votes 1.3% (N/A)
Respect 182 votes 1.1% (N/A)
Monster Raving Loony 78 votes 0.5% (N/A)
People's Democratic Party 71 votes 0.4% (N/A)
Communist League 64 votes 0.4% (N/A)
Labour majority 9,936 (59.7%)
Turnout 16,648 (18.2%)
Cardiff South and Penarth by-election
Labour 9,193 votes 47.3% (+8.4%)
Conservative 3,859 votes 19.9% (-8.4%)
Liberal Democrats 2,103 votes 10.8% (-11.5%)
Plaid Cymru 1,854 votes 9.5% (+5.3%)
UK Independence Party 1,179 votes 6.1% (+3.5%)
Green Party 800 votes 4.1% (+2.9%)
Socialist Labour Party 235 votes 1.2% (N/A)
Communist Party 213 votes 1.1% (+0.7%)
Labour majority 5,334 (27.4%)
Turnout 19,436 (25.35%)