Voters dent hopes of Blair and Cameron

TONY Blair and David Cameron were both dealt by-election blows overnight in formerly ultra loyal seats. In the south Wales constituency of Blaenau Gwent, Labour failed to regain a seat it lost last time to an Independent candidate while the Conservatives scraped home in Bromley and Chislehurst ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with Labour relegated to fourth place behind the UK Independence Party.

By Graham Dines

TONY Blair and David Cameron were both dealt by-election blows overnight in formerly ultra loyal seats. In the south Wales constituency of Blaenau Gwent, Labour failed to regain a seat it lost last time to an Independent candidate while the Conservatives scraped home in Bromley and Chislehurst ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with Labour relegated to fourth place behind the UK Independence Party.

Independent candidates won Blaenau Gwent's seats in both the Commons and on the Welsh Assembly, leaving Labour without a majority on the latter.

The Bromley and Chislehurst contest in south-east London was the first major by-election test for Mr Cameron as Tory leader, but the Tories' 2005 General Election over the Lib Dems of more than 13,000 shrivelled to just 663 for new candidate Bob Neill .


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Conservative party chairman Francis Maude admitted the Bromley result said the Tories still has a long way to go. “We have to supply more and more positive reasons for people to vote for us and I am sure we will do so.”

And in a radio interview, he rounded on the Lib Dem tactics in the by-election. “The fact is that the Lib Dems fought a thoroughly misleading, deeply personal, very offensive campaign directed at Bob (Neill) himself. And the fact is that some of that mud stuck to us and made a difference.”

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