The Oldham East and Saddleborough byelection result:
Labour 14,718 42%
Elwyn Watkins (Liberal Democrat) 11,160 31.9%
Conservatives 4,481 12.8%
Other 7 candidates 4,571
The Liberal Democrat share of the vote increased, in contrast to the vote collapse that Labour and some commentators had predicted. Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins has paid tribute to his campaign team and thanked his many supporters across the constituency.
Speaking to supporters after the count, Elwyn said, “I want to thank you all for a superb campaign. Although it is always disappointing not to win, I am proud that our share of the vote actually increased. Those who sought to write us off have been proved wrong. I am also delighted that the BNP lost their deposit. The town has shown we have no taste for their hateful and divisive approach.”
Commenting on the by-election result , Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, said: “This was a very hard-fought contest but we were not able to gain this Labour seat on this occasion. I’d like to pay tribute to our superb candidate, Elwyn Watkins, and his team up in Oldham who have run an exceptional campaign.
“I am proud of each and every one of the hundreds of activists and volunteers who have brought the fight to Labour’s front door in a way that will have confounded our critics.
“It was always going to be a big ask to take this seat from Labour, given the circumstances. We are undertaking some enormously difficult decisions because Labour left Britain’s economy in a mess and we are now forced to clean up after them.
“By 2015, I hope that the people of Oldham and Saddleworth will see, like everyone else in the country, that the difficult choices we made were the right ones and that Britain is in better shape than when we entered Government.”