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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 13:46 GMT
Labour victory in Ipswich by-election
Labour candidate Chris Mole (centre)
Chris Mole celebrates 'a great night for Ipswich'
Labour have won the Ipswich by-election, holding the seat with a reduced majority.

Labour candidate Chris Mole won 11,881 votes, followed by Conservative candidate Paul West with 7,794 votes and Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt with 6,146 votes in third place.


It is a great Ipswich double and a great night for Labour too

Chris Mole, Labour MP
In his victory speech, to heckles from anti-war protesters, Mr Mole congratulated Ipswich Town Football Club on their earlier victory over Inter Milan in the Uefa Cup.

"This is a great night for Ipswich," he said.

"The voters of Ipswich have delivered the right result and it is a great Ipswich double and a great night for Labour too."

The by-election had been prompted by the death of Labour MP Jamie Cann.

By-election results
Chris Mole - Labour: 11,881 (43.35%)
Paul West - Tory: 7,794 (28.44%)
Tessa Munt - Lib Dem: 6,146 (22.43%)
David Cooper - Christian Peoples Alliance: 581 (2.12%)
Jonathan Wright - UKIP: 276 (1.01%)
Anthony Slade - Green: 255 (0.93%)
John Ramirez - Legalise Cannabis Alliance: 236 (0.86%)
Peter Leech - Socialist Alliance: 152 (0.55%)
Nicholas Winskill - English Independence Party: 84 (0.31%)
Turnout: 27,405 (40.16%)
Labour majority: 4,087 (down from 8,081)

Mr Mole added that it was a terrible night for the Tories and their leader Iain Duncan Smith.

"His first hurdle as party leader and he has fallen," he said.

"Make no mistake, Ipswich is a marginal seat that the Tories had to take."

Turnout was 27,405 (40.16%) of the electorate), which may have been affected by the town's European football triumph at Portman Road, which saw local heroes Ipswich Town beat Italian giants Inter Milan 1-0.

But despite predictions that football fans would outnumber voters, around 3,000 more people went to the polls than the 25,000 who went through the turnstiles at Portman Road.

Labour MP Mr Cann died from liver disease last month, after 10 days in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Vote swing
Labour: down 7.98%
Liberal Democrats: up 7.24%
Conservatives: down 2.10%
Mr Cann, MP for Ipswich since 1992 earned a majority of 8,081 at the general election in June.

Tory chairman David Davis, noted that Labour's majority had been halved to 4,087 since the general election.

"This is an election that has been held during a time of war," he said.

"It demonstrates that this government is losing the trust of the people."

Cynics 'silenced'

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the result strengthened his party's claim to be challenging the Conservatives for the role of official opposition.

"Can the Tories really claim they are fit to form the official opposition after this?" he asked.

Ipswich Town's Jermaine Wright tries to shoot pass Milan's Vratislav Gresko
Ipswich Town Football Club celebrated victory over Inter Milan
Labour party chairman Charles Clarke congratulated Mr Mole on his victory.

"Chris will be a first class Member of Parliament and I am sure he will serve the people of Ipswich well.

"I am glad that the people of Ipswich have rebutted the cynical pundits with a turnout, though not as high as we would have wished, of over 40%."

The poll saw election officials break new ground for a parliamentary election count by using live computer images, club music and lasers to make the evening more lively.

Images of the town, including live links to each party's local headquarters, were shown on a 60ft screen in Ipswich town hall.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
"The result was as expected, with Labour holding on to its seat"
Chris Mole, MP
"My first priority is to stick up for Ipswich"

News

On the campaign trail

Analysis

Background
See also:

22 Nov 01 | Uefa Cup
Ipswich stun Inter
19 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Ipswich hopefuls go for the double
19 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Ipswich by-election candidate details
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