Labour wins Inverclyde by-election with lower majority

Declaration of Iain McKenzie's win

Labour has won the Inverclyde by-election for the UK parliament but its majority has been more than halved.

Iain McKenzie took the Westminster seat with 15,118 votes over the SNP's Anne McLaughlin on 9,280. Labour's majority fell from 14,416 at the 2010 general election to 5,838.

The Conservatives took third place with 2,784, the Liberal Democrats polled 627 votes and UKIP was fifth with 288.

The by-election was held after the death of David Cairns in May, aged 44.

The turnout for the by-election was 45.53%, down more than 17% compared with the 2010 General Election.

'Enormously humbled'

In his victory speech, Mr McKenzie said: "First can I say this is an election none of us wanted.

"We would have much preferred that our dear friend, and widely respected MP David Cairns was still among us and still selflessly serving the people of Inverclyde as he did for 10 years before he was tragically taken from us.

"Can I say I'm enormously humbled to be elected to succeed David, and continue his work, standing up for our communities, fighting for fairness and opportunities for our people."

David Cairns The by-election was held following the death of MP David Cairns

Mr McKenzie said it had been a "good night for Inverclyde and a good night for Labour too".

"I'm proud to be part of the Labour Party, renewing itself under the leadership of Ed Miliband, listening more, working harder and challenging for better, to get back in touch with those we seek to serve," he said.

"And I'm proud that my community of Inverclyde has [taken] an important step in Labour's mission to win back the trust of the people both here in Scotland and south of the border.

"Remember, only weeks ago the SNP came within 511 votes of winning here, but tonight the voters of Inverclyde have rejected them - this time giving myself and the Scottish Labour Party not a 500 majority, but over 5,000 of a majority.

"Labour's fightback has started right here in Inverclyde - my hometown."

Majority cut

Speaking after the result, Ms McLaughlin said: "We have cut Labour's majority by more than half which I am thrilled about.

"The reason I'm thrilled is that I met so many people who said they had voted Labour all their lives, but they were motivated by how well they felt the SNP government was doing, how well we did in the last elections and by the campaign that we've run here in Inverclyde, to vote SNP for the first time.

"Obviously for us to cut their majority by so much, several thousand people voted SNP no doubt for the first time, so I'm really pleased that so many people took that step and will continue to vote for us."

Scottish Conservative candidate David Wilson said: "Given that we started in fourth and that the media told the electorate that this was a two-horse race, we faced an enormous squeeze but we can hold our heads high.

"We have secured a clear and credible third place in an area that has little tradition of voting Conservative. The result is not of a scale which backs up Ed Miliband's alleged fightback, and is a slap in the face for Alex Salmond.

"The SNP had spent the last two months engaged in an anti-British rant of grudge and gripe. Alex Salmond had been here seven times, but by two to one the voters of Inverclyde have rejected Alex Salmond's separatist agenda."

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