Britain’s Tory party by-election win puts UKIP in its place
British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party has won a vote for a parliamentary seat, fending off a challenge from a Eurosceptic party that beat it into third place in last month's European elections.
Cameron and his party are likely to seize on the victory in Newark, Nottinghamshire, as proof the outcome of the European elections was a one-off protest that will not be replicated at a national election in May.
"This by-election does have a wider national significance. The people of Newark have voted to back this government," said Robert Jenrick, who is the new Conservative member of parliament for Newark.
It was the first time in a quarter of a century that the Conservatives in government had won such an election, held in between national elections, Jenrick added.
Results show the Conservatives came first with 45 per cent of the vote. But their majority was less than half what it was in a national election in the same seat in 2010. UKIP, the UK Independence Party, which won last month's European elections, came second with 25.9 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent and a fourth place showing in the race for same seat in 2010.
It had hoped to come a much closer second.
The opposition Labour party came third with 17.7 per cent of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in a coalition government with Cameron's Conservatives, picked up just 2.6 per cent of the vote and came in sixth place.
The Conservatives said their margin of victory was bigger than they had hoped for and that UKIP had failed to convert its previous success into a strong showing, suggesting the anti-EU party's momentum was starting to falter.
Rattled by their third-place finish in last month's European elections the Conservatives were not taking any chances with Newark. Cameron visited four times and the party ordered others to campaign there too.