Labour’s Janet Daby has won the Lewisham East By-election. Labour’s Janet Daby received 11,033 votes,(50.2%) the Lib Dem candidate Lucy Salek 5,404 (24.6%), and the Conservative candidate Ross Archer 3,161 (14.4%).
Daby pledged to oppose a Hard Brexit in a heavily remain constituency but Labour still saw their majority reduced from 21,123 to 5629 with the Liberal Dem vote rising by 20 points. In her acceptance speech Daby said her victory meant “we will not tolerate an extreme Brexit in Lewisham East”.
However, the turnout was 33% less than half what it was in the General Election which will have hurt Labour’s vote and in an extremely safe Labour seat with very little at stake, the 17 point swing cannot be seen as anything but constituents voicing their dissent at Brexit.
The Liberal Democrats were keen to claim a moral victory with Vince Cable stating “the largest swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats in over a decade” something he attributed to “the failure of Labour’s leadership to oppose the Conservatives’ hard Brexit”
The by election was triggered by resignation of former frontbencher Heidi Alexander, who was often a vocal Corbyn critic. However the new MP seems to be a Corbynista saying “I voted for Jeremy Corbyn twice in the leadership election and obviously within politics not everybody will agree on everything … but we need to find a way around it that holds the Tories to account.”