Labour sources concede by-election defeat

Author: By Joe Churcher and Brian Farmer, Press Association

With counting under way, the Conservatives were on course to overturn the
5,459 majority won in 2005 by Ian Gibson, who quit the Commons after being
controversially banned from standing again for Labour over his use of
taxpayer-funded expenses.

One Labour insider said: “The Conservatives are trying to play down what
is happening but I think the reality is that Labour is in a fight with the
Lib Dems for second place.

“The turnout has been poor in traditional Labour areas and I think the
reality is that the Tories have taken the seat.”

Green sources also said the Conservatives were set for victory.

But a Green Party spokesman said: “We are still confident of claiming our
best result in a by-election.”

Count organisers said the turnout was around 45 per cent, around par for a
by-election of this kind.

The declaration is due around lunchtime.

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