Labour gives the Government a bloody nose

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Labour’s by-election victory was a “verdict on the Government’s failed economic plan”, Ed Miliband said yesterday.

The party held Feltham and Heston with an increased majority over the Conservatives.Addressing supporters in Feltham town centre, Mr Miliband called on the Tories to “listen” to voters.

He said: “I think it is pretty offensive that the Conservatives are saying this morning ‘well, what do you expect? It’s a traditional Labour area’.

“They shouldn’t be denying the people’s choice, they should be listening to the people’s verdict.”

Labour’s candidate Seema Malhotra was returned with majority of 6,203 – a net swing of 8.6 per cent from the Conservatives.

On a night which saw a turnout of less than 29 per cent – the lowest in a by-election for 11 years – the Liberal Democrats managed to see off a challenge from the UK Independence Party to hold on to third place.

Ms Malhotra said the message on the doorstep was that the Government has failed the people of Britain.

She added: “This is a time when Britain needs to know that there is a Government investing in Britain, not a Government that is turning its back on what British families and businesses need.” But the Conservatives said Labour should have extended their majority even further if they were looking to be on course for victory at the next general election, set for 2015.

For the Lib Dems there was relief that they avoided the humiliation of being beaten into fourth place, despite a sharp fall in their share of the vote.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Lib Dems were “almost a busted flush”. “People are turning to Ukip as they realise we are serious when it comes to putting Britain first,” he said.

Labour increased their share of the vote from 43 per at the general election to 54 per cent with a net swing of 8.6 per cent from the Tories. The Conservative vote share was down from 34 to 28 per cent, while the Lib Dems dropped from 14 per cent to under 6 per cent.

Ukip saw its vote share go from 2 per cent to over 5 per cent.