Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 16:18 UK

In quotes: By-election reaction

Here is some of the political reaction to the Conservatives making their first by-election gain in 26 years, taking Crewe and Nantwich from Labour.

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

"The Conservatives won a remarkable victory... but I know that winning a by-election and winning a general election are two different things and we've still got a huge amount of work to do. But I think what is so encouraging is that thousands of people who have never voted Conservative before have come across and put their trust in the Conservative Party - and what I want to show in the coming months and whenever the general election is that .. that trust is right and that we will not let those people down. And that I want to build over the coming months, over the coming years, the biggest coalition for change in our country so we really can remove this government and give Britain a better chance."

"Labour ran the most negative, the most backward looking, the most xenophobic, the most class war sort of campaign that they could have done and it completely backfired. Why did it backfire? Because people don't want that sort of backward looking, that sort of divisive campaign anymore. And I think what happened was that, for Labour, it was the end of being of being the party of aspiration, it was the end of being the party of opportunity: it was the end of New Labour - here on the streets of Crewe and Nantwich. I believe we can be at the start of something different and something bigger, which is this: I think we're seeing the end of big, top down, bossy, interfering government. People want something different, people want change, people don't want a government that just takes all of their money, spends and wastes it and hits them with ever higher taxes; people want a government that is going to share with them the proceeds of growth and cut their taxes and help them with the costs of living."

GORDON BROWN, LABOUR LEADER

"The message that we have got is that people are concerned. They're concerned about rising food prices, rising petrol prices. People are concerned, rightly, about gas and electricity bills. They're concerned about what's happening to the economy. And I think the message that I have to get to people is this - that we are unequivocal and clear in our direction, that we're going to address and are addressing these problems. We will continue to do so. And my task is to steer the British economy through what have been very difficult times in every country of the world. And that I will continue to do with a direction, and a clear direction, that shows that we will address all the problems that people are facing."

HARRIET HARMAN, LABOUR DEPUTY LEADER

"I don't think there's any getting away from it and I make no bones about it, it was a bad result for Labour last night. But I think we have to understand what lies behind it and what lies behind it is people's sense of their own prospects and the fact people are feeling the pinch... People are saying to the government they want their immediate concerns addressed, that food's going up, fuel prices are going up and they want the government to very strongly focus on what we can do to back them up in their standard of living and we will do that."

EDWARD TIMPSON, CONSERVATIVE VICTOR

"I thank the people of Crewe and Nantwich for putting their faith and trust in me. I will repay that with all the effort and endeavour that I can to ensure that you have an MP that you will be proud of. The Conservative Party is no doubt on the rise. We've seen that with the fantastic result from last night. People are seeing us as the alternative to Labour and even more importantly a party they believe in."

TAMSIN DUNWOODY, LABOUR CANDIDATE

To Mr Timpson: "It is an honour to serve the people of Crewe and Nantwich. It is an honour I hope you take seriously - I and everyone will be watching you."

CAROLINE SPELMAN, CONSERVATIVE CHAIRWOMAN

"Obviously the voters could have registered a protest by voting for the Liberal Democrats but they didn't do that, they made a positive choice for the Conservative Party. We don't take it for granted and we have to reciprocate by demonstrating that we are a credible alternative government to Gordon Brown's government, which has lost its way."

NICK CLEGG, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER

"It was a respectable result in difficult circumstances for us. It was an enormous national squeeze, this was a seat where the Conservatives had poured in quite a lot of resources over a long period of time. They were well placed to pick up the disillusionment with Gordon Brown. It was a vote though, at the end of the day, against Gordon Brown, rather than in favour of a Conservative government in my view. You lose some, you win some. There'll be many other by-elections to come where I'm absolutely confident we'll do extremely well."

HAZEL BLEARS, COMMUNITIES SECRETARY

"It might be that the electorate have decided to send us a pretty powerful message but the last thing they want is the Labour Party to turn on itself and be obsessed with our own affairs and not what the public want."

LIAM FOX, SHADOW DEFENCE SECRETARY

It's a great result for David Cameron because I think that it gives him, as leader, tremendous authority. It is the best result we have had for 30 years. For Labour, it is a dire result. It is indicative of the fact that voters believe Gordon Brown has lost the plot. The campaign, going back to Old Labour class envy, has got its just reward. The result shows that it is the Conservative Party under David Cameron that is now building the sort of coalitions that helped New Labour come to office.

LIB DEM ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN CHIEF LORD RENNARD

"Having been in Crewe a lot over the last few weeks, the feeling very much was against the Labour government and against the 10p tax change in particular. It was not actually for the Conservatives in any way."

DAVID LAMMY, LABOUR MP

"Even with a loss on the scale of the defeat in Crewe and Nantwich, the tendency is to dismiss the result as midterm blues. In truth, the reality is more brutal - the 'Tory toff' campaign picked the wrong target. The public do feel that politicians are out of touch - but it is the political class, not the upper class, that is the problem."

CHRIS BRYANT, LABOUR MP

"I'm not putting any gloss on it. It's a very bad night for us. A lot of people are anxious about their personal budgets, their personal finances, fuel and food costs and they want a government that is going to work at that. I think that Gordon Brown is the right person to take us through these choppy economic waters on a world front."

EDWARD DAVEY, LIB DEM FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN

Mr Davey described the result as a "dreadful night for Labour", adding that the government "really had it coming" after low-paid workers were hit by the scrapping of the 10p tax rate. He told GMTV: "With the economic climate turning down, the voters used this to punish Labour."

GEORGE OSBORNE, SHADOW CHANCELLOR

"What we've got to do is make sure that the bond of trust that was formed last night with these new voters is maintained. People can see that if they vote Conservative at the next election, it is going to make a positive change to their life. And that is a responsibility that I have and all members of the shadow cabinet have."

JOHN GROGAN, LABOUR MP

"We're fighting for our political lives now and I think it has to be all hands to the pump. Clearly the prime minister will have a reshuffle in the next few weeks. And I think many of us on the Labour backbenches would like to see all the Labour talents in a Labour cabinet. That would probably mean bringing some people back from the Blairite era like Charles Clarke, possibly Jon Cruddas - people like him with support on the back benches. We do now need everyone to rally round. The future of the Labour government, the future of the society we've tried to build over the last 10, 12 years, is at stake."

FRANK FIELD, LABOUR MP

On Gordon Brown: "We should play to his strengths. His strengths are about being reserved, and about being effective in managing a team. I think he needs to rebuild that team. I mean I'm pretty interested in politics but I couldn't name you half the cabinet. So I think that's how low we are as far as that goes - he ought to bring some of those big hitters back."

ED MILIBAND, CABINET OFFICE

Asked if Labour needed a new leader: "No, that's the last thing we need and I don't think it's going to happen. And let me say why that's the case. Gordon Brown is the right person to take us through these very difficult times because he's shown excellent stewardship when he was chancellor. And second, because he has the values that are right for this country."

GRAHAM STRINGER, LABOUR MP

"I think if the party is to renew itself, get its policies in line with what the people we represent want, then it's the responsibility of senior members of the cabinet to say we're going in the wrong direction, it's impossible to change the situation we're in at the moment, and to say to Gordon that they intend to stand for election. Without that we're heading for an electoral disaster at the next general election and I desperately want the Labour party to win."

ALAN SIMPSON, LABOUR MP

"This by-election is a massive, massive set-back for Labour. And we have, I think, until the end of the year to change direction in order to give ourselves the prospects of winning back the confidence in the electorate. And if we don't do it by the end of the year - I think it's the end of the pier."

NEW LABOUR CAMPAIGN GROUP PROGRESS

From an editorial in Progress magazine: Labour's defeat in Crewe yesterday represented a devastating blow to the party, a seat it held even as the Tories swept all before them during the 1980s now finds itself with a Conservative MP. Most worrying for Labour are the clear signs that voters are now willing to transfer their votes directly from the party to the Tories.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific