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“Cheers ears, Brexiteers”: Labour’s Lisa Forbes gives her winning speech after the Peterborough by-election, having won a greater majority than former MP Fiona Onasanya.

How nice of the Brexit Party to give Labour’s Lisa Forbes a leg-up into the Parliamentary seat for Peterborough, after yesterday’s by-election.

The constituency is a marginal. Labour’s Fiona Onasanya took it from the Conservative Stewart Jackson with a majority of just 607 in 2017. The incumbent had consistently taken more than 40 per cent of the vote since he was first elected in 2005 but the election that Theresa May called out of vanity produced extraordinary numbers for both her party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, and this was one of the surprises of the night.

Such a small majority on a 67.5 per cent turnout should give Labour cause to fear the Tories taking back the seat in a by-election in which turnouts are lower.

But there was a fly in the Tory ointment – the Brexit Party.

Nigel Farage’s organisation took 29 seats in the European Parliament election last month, creating a huge stir in the right-wing media (including the BBC) that this was a major new force in politics.

Polls suggested that the populist, single-issue (has it published its EU election manifesto yet?) party would gain its first MP in Peterborough.

That hasn’t happened but the 28.9 per cent of yesterday’s vote that it took hammered the Conservatives down to just 21.4 per cent.

That’s on a reduced turnout of 48.3 per cent.

Labour’s vote was hit too – Ms Forbes’s 31 per cent of the vote is a drop of 17 per cent on the 2017 election. But her majority is 683 – more than Ms Onasanya’s.

It seems clear that the Brexit Party undermined the Tory vote and let Labour win. Thanks, Brexiteers!

Note also that the Tories ended up in third place, after coming fifth in the EU elections. Let’s hope they stay there or lower – for the sake of the UK.

Labour is back on top. Thanks, Brexiteers!

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