Respect unsuccessful in Rotherham by-election

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2012

The Respect Party was unsuccessful in its by-election campaign in Rotherham on Thursday, with the seat remaining in the hands of the Labour Party.

Sarah Champion enjoyed a comfortable victory in Denis MacShane's old seat, in a vote that was called after the long-serving MP departed politics following a scandal over his expenses.

Respect came fourth in the vote, finishing behind both the UK Independence Party and the British National Party, but ahead of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Yvonne Ridley, the party's candidate and a Press TV presenter, received 1,778 votes, with turnout down to 33.63 per cent.

During the Rotherham campaign a leaflet was circulated, bearing Respect's logo although not claimed by the party, which attacked Mr MacShane as having "set up an Israeli support group the so-called Labour Friends of Israel…at a time as our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine were being cut to pieces and burned alive by Israeli bombs".

It also urged Muslim and Asian voters to "send a message to the sickening racism, Islamophobia and corruption" of Labour.

After her defeat, Ms Ridley wrote on Twitter that she saluted all the party's supporters, voters and backers. "We are here to stay," she said.

George Galloway's party was also defeated in the Croydon North by-election, with former Ken Livingstone adviser Lee Jasper losing. Despite boasting that it represented a serious challenge to Labour – which held the seat – Respect came fifth in the vote with just 707 seats.

Last updated: 10:19am, November 30 2012