Voters head to polls in West Lancashire by-election after resignation of veteran Labour MP

Polls are open in West Lancashire as voters in the constituency head to the ballot boxes to choose their next MP.

The seat is up for grabs after veteran Labour MP Rosie Cooper resigned in November to become chairwoman of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The MP was the victim of a plot to kill her by an alleged member of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action and admitted the stress of what happened had “taken its toll”.

Ms Cooper, 72, has held the constituency since 2005, securing more than 52% of the vote and a majority of 8,336 at the last election.

West Lancashire has been a Labour stronghold since 1992 when Colin Pickthall took the seat from Tory MP Ken Hind, who had held it since 1983.

Although winning with an increased majority in 2015 and 2017, Ms Cooper saw her majority drop in 2019.

West Lancashire separates Liverpool, a historically Labour-supporting area, and the Conservative-held seats of South Ribble, Southport and Bolton West.

The constituency has a mix of rural and urban areas while its largest town, Skelmersdale, has relatively high levels of deprivation compared with the neighbouring towns of Aughton and Ormskirk, which are considered relatively wealthy.

Labour will be hoping to build on its current majority, having been buoyed by two recent by-election victories.

Politics latest – Pag offer shows ‘power’ of strikes; new Tory deputy chair justifies death penalty support

In December, the party comfortably held on to its seat in Stretford and Urmston, Greater Manchester, with a 10.5% swing from Conservatives to Labour.

The victory came just two weeks after a successful result in Chester, when Samantha Dixon held the seat for Labour with an increased majority of some 11,000 over the Tories.

The candidates standing in today’s by-election are:

• Jo Barton (Liberal Democrat)
• Peter Cranie (Green Party)
• Ashley Dalton (Labour)
• Howling Laud Hope (Official Monster Raving Loony Party)
• Mike Prendergast (Conservative and Unionist)
• Jonathan Stanley Kay (Reform UK)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *