The Conservative Party held onto Boris Johnson’s former constituency but lost anoter by-election in what was forecast to be a difficult vote for Rishi Sunak.
Labour had hoped to take Uxbridge and South Ruislip after Johnson’s resignation, but Conservative Steve Tuckwell managed to retain the seat following a recount.
The Conservative victory means that Mr Sunak has been spared the prospect of being the first prime minister since 1968 to lose three by-elections on the same day.
While the party retained Uxbridge, it did however lose in Somerton and Frome, where the Liberal Democrats polled 21,187 compared to the Conservative 10,079.
READ MORE: Tories hold Uxbridge with two more by-elections yet to declare
In Selby and Ainsty, Labour hope to take a seat where the Conservatives were defending a 20,137 majority.
London mayor Sadiq Khan’s policy of expanding the Ulez low emission zone to outer boroughs – including Uxbridge and South Ruislip – has been blamed for the party’s failure to take the seat.
Labour candidate Danny Beales had distanced himself from the policy, saying it was “not the right time” to expand the £12.50 daily charge for cars which fail to meet emissions standards.
The failure to overturn the Tory majority in the seat was dubbed “Uloss” by a party insider in a sign of the unease at Mr Khan’s plan.
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In public, senior Labour figures acknowledged Ulez had been a factor in the vote.
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed told the PA news agency: “I think there’s been a number of issues at play, but there has certainly been a number of voters who have said to us that they are very concerned about Ulez.
“Everyone wants to see clean air. But for some people, I think, given the chaos that there is in the economy, because the Conservatives have crashed it and the cost-of-living crisis that they fuelled, that this is the wrong time to introduce a charge for Ulez.”
In his victory speech, new MP Mr Tuckwell said Mr Khan had cost Labour the seat.
“It was his damaging and costly Ulez policy that lost them this election,” he said.
“This wasn’t the campaign Labour expected and Keir Starmer and his mayor Sadiq Khan need to sit up and listen to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip residents.”
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