Polls close in West Lancashire by-election

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Polls have closed in the West Lancashire by-election.

The ballot was held on Thursday in the Labour-held seat after Rosie Cooper, who represented the constituency for 17 years, accepted the role of chairwoman of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Polls opened at 7am in the constituency, which Ms Cooper last won in 2019 with a majority of 8,336.

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour, which is enjoying a significant lead in the polls against Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, will be confident of holding the seat.

London Labour Conference
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has led his party to a big opinion poll lead over the Tories (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Conservatives came second in the last election, polling just over 19,000 votes, with the Liberal Democrats in third.

It is the latest by-election test for Mr Sunak since entering Downing Street last October and comes amid a cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation and a wave of industrial action across the UK.

New Tory chairman Greg Hands, who replaced the sacked Nadhim Zahawi this week, has been charged with steering his party towards the local elections in May amid pressure on the Prime Minister to get his party in fighting shape ahead of the next general election in around 18 months time.

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