Fresh blow to Gordon Brown as Conservatives win poll

May 23rd, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, May 23 (DPA) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was facing increased political pressure Friday after a stinging defeat for the ruling Labour Party at a crucial mid-term by-election. The Conservatives emerged from the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, in the northern English county of Cheshire, with 49.9 percent of the vote, with Labour trailing at 30.6.

It was the first time in almost 30 years that the Conservatives took a constituency from Labour in a by-election, and follows a serious setback for Labour in local elections and the London Mayoral contest on May 1.

The Guardian newspaper said Friday the latest result showed that Brown, who took over as prime minister in June, was facing the “greatest crisis of his leadership.”

Other commentators spoke of a spectacular victory for the Conservatives which indicated a sea-change in British politics.

Projected to national level, the Crewe and Nantwich poll would give Labour an estimated 20-per-cent share of the vote.

A string of recent opinion polls has underlined Brown’s unpopularity as leader and, more importantly, shown that up to 75 percent of voters believe he is not the right man to steer Britain through the present economic difficulties.

The by-election became necessary after the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody, a veteran Labour member of parliament who had held the seat since 1983.

Her daughter, Tamsin, who stood for Labour in the by-election, conceded defeat after a massive 18-percent vote swing to the Conservatives.

Edward Timpson, the Conservative victor and heir to a shoe repair empire, said the election showed that the Conservatives had regained the political middle ground in Britain.

“Gordon Brown does just not get it, and the government needs to change,” he said.

The next general election is due, at the latest, in May 2010.

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