Labour trio join forces to woo voters in by-election

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THE three newest MPs in the Commons joined forces yesterday to campaign for Labour ahead of the forthcoming Rotherham by-election.

Corby by-election winner Andy Sawford was joined in the South Yorkshire town by Lucy Powell, who won in Manchester Central, and Stephen Doughty, who claimed Cardiff South and Penarth.

The trio were in Rotherham to support Labour candidate Sarah Champion and were joined by other Labour figures including South Yorkshire MPs Michael Dugher, Caroline Flint and John Healey.

Champion said Labour’s clean sweep in the parliamentary elections this week would not lead to complacency.

She said: “We’re definitely not going to take it for granted. We need every single vote. We need everyone to come out and start voting.

“The fact that in the police commissioners elections the turnout was 15 per cent, we can’t have anything like that. We’ve got to get every vote.”

George Galloway’s Respect party has selected the former journalist Yvonne Ridley to run against Labour in Rotherham on 29 November.

Champion, who currently runs the Bluebell Wood children’s hospice in Yorkshire, said she did not see the by-election ending in a repeat of Galloway’s triumph in Bradford West.

Reports of a walk-out at the meeting which selected Champion amid calls for a local candidate prompted her to say: “The issues over the selection were really procedural. They weren’t against me at all. And all of the councillors have rallied round incredibly strongly because what we want here is a Labour MP.”

The Rotherham seat became vacant when Denis MacShane quit after wrongfully claiming at least £7,500 in expenses.