Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed’s comprehensive victory in last night's Croydon North by-election gave the Co-operative Party its highest ever total of sponsored MPs at Westminster.
Standing as the Labour/Co-op candidate in the election caused by the death of popular former MP Malcolm Wicks, Mr Reed took almost 65 per cent of the vote to defeat the Tory runner-up by almost 12,000 votes, despite the low turnout of 26.4 per cent.
His victory — following on from the by-election successes last month of Lucy Powell, Andy Sawford and Stephen Doughty — gives the Co-op Party a record total of 32 MPs. Mr Reed, whose leadership of Lambeth Council led to the local authority becoming a pacesetter in the Co-operative Councils’ movement, becomes Croydon’s first Co-op MP in history.
Mr Reed said: "I'm feeling proud, humbled and slightly overwhelmed to have won 65 per cent of the vote in Croydon North. Thank you everyone for your support!"
In the two other by-elections held last night, Labour also held their safe seats of Middlesbrough and Rotherham, though in the south Yorkshire poll, the party’s candidate won with just 46 per cent of the vote with UKIP, the BNP and Respect all finishing ahead of the fifth-placed Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats came seventh – beaten by an independent – and lost their deposit.
UKIP also came second in the Middlesbrough by-election, marking a high point for the Euro-sceptic party in Westminster elections.