West Lancashire by-election: Labour hold onto seat

Labour have held onto their seat in West Lancashire after a by-election was triggered by the resignation of veteran MP Rosie Cooper.

Ashley Dalton held the seat for the party with a majority of 8,321 over Conservative candidate Mike Prendergast.

Following her victory, Ms Dalton told Sky News that problems within the NHS is one of the “big issues” within West Lancashire.

She said: “It’s a big issue right across the country but people are really concerned here across West Lancashire”.

The results marked the third by-election victory for Labour in recent months.

In December, the party comfortably held on to its seat in Stretford and Urmston, Greater Manchester, with a 10.5% swing from Conservatives to Labour.

The victory came just two weeks after a successful result in Chester, when Samantha Dixon held the seat for Labour with an increased majority of some 11,000 over the Tories.

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Ms Cooper, 72, resigned in November to become chairwoman of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The MP was the victim of a plot to kill her by an alleged member of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action and admitted the stress of what happened had “taken its toll”.

West Lancashire has been a Labour stronghold since 1992 when Colin Pickthall took the seat from Tory MP Ken Hind, who had held it since 1983.

Pic: Twitter

Although winning with an increased majority in 2015 and 2017, Ms Cooper saw her majority drop in 2019.

West Lancashire separates Liverpool, a historically Labour-supporting area, and the Conservative-held seats of South Ribble, Southport and Bolton West.

The constituency has a mix of rural and urban areas while its largest town, Skelmersdale, has relatively high levels of deprivation compared with the neighbouring towns of Aughton and Ormskirk, which are considered relatively wealthy.

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