First day in the job for Andy Sawford as voters react to Labour triumph

Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to the press after Andy Sawford won the Corby by-election
Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to the press after Andy Sawford won the Corby by-election

Corby’s new Labour MP Andy Sawford travelled to Rotherham on Saturday a day after being elected to replace Conservative Louise Mensch.

Mr Sawford joined fellow Labour winners in Rotherham to help his party’s campaign for the forthcoming by-election there.

It comes after Mr Sawford told the Prime Minister middle England had spoken, and said “the road to Downing Street runs through Corby”.

But while Labour gained the seat on a hefty swing of 13 per cent from the Tories, voters at the Oliver Twist pub in Irthlingborough – part of the Corby constituency – today (Saturday) suggested politicians of all parties had a long way to go if they were to inspire the electorate.

One regular, John York, from Irthlingborough, said he did not vote, and predicted Labour gaining the seat would have little effect. “There will be no difference whatsoever,” he said. “All parties will say things just to get your vote. They all just want power.”

The turnout at the by-election was just under 45 per cent, down from nearly 70 per cent at the general election in 2010 but still higher than the other two parliamentary by-elections which also took place this week.

Dave Moore, who did cast a ballot on Thursday, said he had been inundated with election literature, and was glad the campaign was over.

He said: “On one day last week I had 11 different leaflets, two or three from some of the parties.

But Mr Moore said the parties would ignore him until the next election. He added: “We probably won’t hear from them again.”

Angela Abbott, a barmaid at the pub, on the High Street, said she was not disengaged.

“I have never not voted,” she said. “It gives me a right to grumble afterwards.”

But she said the varied nature of the Corby constituency – which also includes much of East Northamptonshire – meant it was difficult to keep all sides happy.

“Will it make a difference that the MP is from a different party? In Irthlinborough, no. In Corby, it probably will.”