Counting under way in by-elections to pick Cameron and Cox successors


Counting is under way in by-elections to pick successors to David Cameron and Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was killed in her constituency just days before the EU referendum.

With the former prime minister taking gaining 60% of the vote in Witney, Oxfordshire, at last year's general election the Conservatives are expected to hold the seat comfortably.

Labour is clear favourite to win in Batley and Spen, Yorkshire, where former Coronation Street actress Tracy Brabin is standing as the party's candidate seeking to carry on the work of Mrs Cox.

The Tories, Lib Dems, and Ukip decided not to put up candidates in the contest as a mark of respect to the late MP, but a number of fringe parties, mainly on the hard right, have moved in to try to gain support in the highly unusual election.

Turnout in the Yorkshire constituency was just 25% - one of the lowest by-election turnouts since the Second World War.

In Witney, where the Lib Dems are hoping to knock Labour into third place, the turnout figure was 47% - still well down on the general election.

Mr Cameron quit the seat last month after insisting he did not want to become a "distraction" to Theresa May while she established herself in Downing Street.

He has however been out with his successor in Number 10 campaigning for Tory candidate Robert Courts.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also visited the constituency to back his party's veteran candidate, Duncan Enright, who lost out to Mr Cameron by more than 25,000 votes in 2015.

The Liberal Democrats are represented by businesswoman Liz Leffman, and Ukip by Dickie Bird, in the Oxfordshire seat.