Sheffield born Debbie Abrahams wins key by-election

A SHEFFIELD-born former public health manager has won the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election for Labour - increasing the party's majority over the Lib Dems from 103 in May to 3,558.

Debbie Abrahams, aged 50, is the daughter of a dentist. She grew up in Sheffield until she went to Salford University to study biochemistry and physiology, and then stayed in the north west.

She gained an 11.6 per cent increase in her party's share of the vote. The by-election was called after the disqualification of Labour MP Phil Woolas. Lib Dem Emlyn Watkins came second, with 11,160 votes, and Conservative Kashif Ali finished third with 4,481.

Labour Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith said: "I'm sure Debbie will show in her work the down-to-earth, common sense approach of a Sheffielder. I never expected a huge majority and such predictions were always wide of the mark. But Labour's share of the vote increased significantly."

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who joined Mrs Abrahams campaigning, said: "A lot of Lib Dem voters were disillusioned and it seems their share of the vote was propped up by Tory supporters."

But Lib Dem leader and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg, whose party's share of the vote increased from May by 0.3 per cent, said: "I think the result shows that whether we are in Government or opposition we remain a strong, united, independent party whose values continue to attract support from thousands of people."

Turnout was 48 per cent, down from 61.2 per cent at the General Election.

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