NEW KINGSWOOD MP Damien Egan said fourteen years of Conservative government have “sucked the hope out of our country”.

The former mayor of Lewisham in London, who resigned to fight Thursday's by-election, overturned a Conservative majority of 11,220, securing 11,176 votes and a majority of 2,501. 

He said: “I’d like to start by thanking the voters of Kingswood for putting their trust in me and for giving me their support to represent them in Parliament.

“I have been saying, you know, the hundreds of doors that I have knocked, that the choice is: what voice do you want in Parliament? Do you want a voice on the Conservative benches defending this Government and their record after 14 years, or do you want a voice that is talking for the change that we need to see in our community?

“The issues that people talked about time and time again were the NHS, the fact that nowhere in Kingswood can you get an NHS dentist, and how hard it is to find a doctor.

“The cost-of-living crisis, which is so much more than a slogan… I spoke to people who talk so honestly and truthfully about the impact that is having on their lives.

“The families I spoke to, people having to worry about what they put in their trolley, keeping their house warm in the winter, families cancelling holidays.”

Defeated Conservative candidates Sam Bromiley and Helen Harrison left their respective counts in Kingswood and Wellingborough without speaking to reporters.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Midterm elections are always difficult for incumbent governments, and the circumstances of these elections were of course particularly challenging.

“Now, I think if you look at the results, very low turnout, and it shows that we’ve got work to do to show people that we are delivering on their priorities and that’s what I’m absolutely determined to do, but also shows that there isn’t a huge amount of enthusiasm for the alternative in Keir Starmer and the Labour Party, and that’s because they don’t have a plan."

Defeats in Thursday’s by-elections in Kingswood and Wellingborough mean the Conservatives have lost more by-elections in a single parliament than any government since the 1960s.