LONDON, Mar 4 – Britain\’s opposition Labour Party comfortably held onto its Barnsley Central seat Friday as government coalition partners the Liberal Democrats slumped to sixth position, losing their by-election deposit.
Labour candidate Dan Jarvis secured 60.8 percent of the vote with Jane Collins of the euro-sceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) finishing second with 12.19 percent.
The ruling coalition\’s major party, the Conservatives were third with 8.25 percent in a by-election called when previous Labour incumbent Eric Illsley stepped down after admitting to fraudulently claiming parliamentary expenses.
The Liberal Democrats (LibDems), who finished second in the constituency during May\’s general election, were beaten into sixth place as voters vented their anger at the party\’s perceived defection to the Conservatives.
In a further humiliation, LibDem candidate Dominic Carman, son of renowned British lawyer George Carman, failed to accumulate enough votes to retain his deposit.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage had little sympathy for his LibDem opponent.
"This marks a big change for us," he said. "We are now the voice of opposition in British politics. The LibDems have lost that mantle.
"They\’ve been trading for years on being opposition in British politics. The reality is that the LibDems are every bit a part of that political class," he added.
Located at the centre of Yorkshire\’s coal-mining country in north England, Barnsley is one of Labour\’s safest seats and the party were overwhelming favourites to retain the seat despite the previous representative\’s misdeeds.
Former Parachute Regiment officer Jarvis, 38, will be the first Labour candidate from outside Yorkshire to occupy the seat in more than 70 years.