Labour’s Ruth Jones wins Newport West by-election

Ruth Jones has won the Newport West by-election triggered by the death of veteran MP Paul Flynn.

The Labour candidate fought off 10 opponents, including Ukip’s Neil Hamilton and Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party.

The turnout was 37%. Labour’s majority fell from 5,658 votes in 2017 to just 1,951, but the Tory share of the vote also dropped.

Newport West constituents voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum by 56%, which Ukip made efforts to capitalise on in the contest, while Jones preferred to talk about the effect of Tory policies such as Universal Credit.

Newport West by-election results:

Labour: 39.6% (-12.7)
Conservatives: 31.3% (-8.0)
UKIP: 8.6% (+6.1)
Plaid Cymru: 5.0% (+2.6)
Lib Dem: 4.6% (+2.4)
Green: 3.9% (+2.8)
Renew: 3.7% (+3.7)
Abolish the Welsh Assembly: 0.9% (+0.9)
SDP: 0.9% (+0.9)
Democrats and Veterans: 0.8% (+0.8)
For Britain: 0.7% (+0.7)

In her victory speech, Jones said: “Who knows what the next few days, weeks and months will bring. But what I do know is that people have had enough after a decade of austerity.”

“They’ve had enough of cuts that have taken police off our streets, they’ve had enough of being made to feel worthless by universal credit and the bedroom tax. If I’m going to parliament, it’s with those people in my heart and Newport in my mind.”

Commenting on the result, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I send my warmest congratulations to Ruth Jones on winning Newport West. Ruth will be a fantastic successor to Paul Flynn and will take up the tireless work he carried out for this community.

“Tonight’s result sends a clear message that the people of Newport and Wales are fed up of austerity which has robbed the Welsh economy of £1 billion through needless cuts, and shows support for Labour’s alternative.

“Labour will reverse these cuts and support the Welsh Labour government and First Minister Mark Drakeford to rebuild communities like Newport with proper investment to create a society that works for the many, not the few.

“I thank Ruth Jones and the whole Labour team for the energetic and positive campaign we ran together to win Newport West so we can keep challenging this chaotic Tory government and build towards a Labour government.”

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