February 24, 2017 / 2:24 AM / 8 months ago

Labour Party hold off UKIP to win Stoke by-election

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s opposition Labour Party won a parliamentary by-election for the Stoke Central seat on Friday, fending off a challenge from the anti-European Union UK Independence Party which had hoped to capitalise on the area’s pro-Brexit stance.

Labour party candidate Gareth Snell hugs his wife Sophia after winning the Stoke Central by-election in Stoke on Trent, February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Labour won by a comfortable margin over UKIP, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives in third.

The former industrial city had been a safe Labour seat since 1950, but the party’s support for staying in the EU put it at odds with 70 percent of Stoke voters who backed Brexit.

UKIP’s failure to capitalise on that sentiment, despite pouring resources into the campaign and putting party leader Paul Nuttall forward as its candidate, is expected to raise questions about the party’s ability to build its influence in parliament, where it currently has just one seat.

Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden

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