Rotherham by-election, 2012

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Rotherham by-election, 2012
United Kingdom
2010 ←
29 November 2012 → 2015

  Sarah Champion MP.jpg
Candidate Sarah Champion Jane Collins Marlene Guest
Party Labour UKIP BNP
Popular vote 9,966 4,648 1,804
Percentage 46.46 21.67 8.41

  Yvonne Ridley.png
Candidate Yvonne Ridley Simon Wilson
Party Respect Conservative
Popular vote 1,778 1,157
Percentage 8.29 5.39


Map showing the Rotherham Parliamentary constituency within the county of South Yorkshire.

MP before election

Denis MacShane

Subsequent MP

Sarah Champion

The Rotherham by-election was a by-election for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Commons constituency of Rotherham. The by-election was caused by the resignation of its Member of Parliament Denis MacShane after the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee found that he had submitted 19 false invoices "plainly intended to deceive" the parliamentary expenses authority,[1][2][3] an issue dating back to 2009 and a wider parliamentary expenses scandal in the UK. MacShane accepted the office of Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds on 5 November 2012,[4] formally vacating his seat. The election took place on 29 November 2012,[5] at the same time as by-elections in Croydon North and Middlesbrough which were caused by the deaths of the sitting MPs.


Rotherham Borough Council released the statement of persons nominated on 14 November 2012, confirming 11 candidates for the by-election.[6]

The Liberal Democrats' candidate, Michael Beckett, was announced by BBC Look North on 13 November 2012. The Labour candidate Sarah Champion is chief executive of Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in Rotherham.[7] Ex-miner Ralph Dyson was confirmed as the candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on 9 November 2011.[8]

Clint Bristow stood with no party description, but is a local organiser for the English Defence League.[9][10]

Local resident Jane Collins was the candidate for UKIP, who previously stood for the party in the 2011 Barnsley by-election where she achieved second place with 12.2% of the vote, beating both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.[11] Marlene Guest had stood for the BNP in Rotherham previously.[12]

Respect confirmed their selection of Yvonne Ridley on 12 November.[13] Ms Ridley is a broadcaster, known for being kidnapped by Taliban forces while she was working in Afghanistan for the Sunday Express newspaper. Subsequent to being freed, she converted to Islam and has adopted a strong anti-Zionist position, saying "any Zionism in Respect would be hunted down and kicked out".[14][15]

English Democrats candidate David Wildgoose stood in the 1994 Rotherham by-election as a Liberal Democrat when Denis MacShane was first elected, coming second with nearly 30% of the vote. At the previous General Election, he stood for the English Democrats in Sheffield Hallam against the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Simon Copley, a charity fundraiser and church leader, stood as an Independent candidate saying he offered a "moderate alternative".[16]


During the election campaign, social workers removed three children from foster care on behalf of the local council on the grounds that the foster parents were members of UKIP. The local council said that the children were "not indigenous white British" and that they had concerns about UKIP's stance on immigration. The decision attracted widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, including from the Labour leader Ed Miliband[17] and Conservative Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove. The Labour Leader of Rotherham Council has also launched an inquiry.[18] Leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage said that he was "appalled and upset" by the decision.[19][20] He said that his party is officially constituted as a non-racist, non-sectarian, libertarian party, as defined in the party constitution.[21] In May 2013, Rotherham council apologized saying that communication about the decision gave the incorrect impression that it related solely to the couples UKIP membership.[22] This was incorrect, the children were removed because it was in their "best interests" though full details couldn't be given "for legal reasons".[22] The council said it had "taken action to strengthen the way it made decisions and how it communicated information."[22]


Labour won the by-election.[23] The result was poor for the two parties of the governing coalition with the Conservatives dropping to fifth place, while the Liberal Democrats were in eighth place, described as the worst ever performance by a major party in a by-election,[24] although not the lowest vote share.[25]

UKIP finished in second place. Their candidate Jane Collins had previously been the only UKIP candidate to come second in any UK parliamentary election at Barnsley Central in 2011. UKIP also came second in the Middlesbrough by-election held on the same day as Rotherham. The UKIP vote share was, at 21.7%, the highest ever recorded for that party in any parliamentary election (however they had polled more votes in both the Corby by-election and in Buckingham at the 2010 General Election, and their record for highest share was broken at Eastleigh three months later).

The British National Party's third place was the highest ever placing for that party in a by-election, although they had polled more votes and a higher share elsewhere. Additionally the BNP result represented a decline in their vote from the 2010 General Election, in what had been one of their strongest performances that year. For Respect, Yvonne Ridley obtained the party's third best by-election result, surpassed only by her own performance in Leicester South in 2004 (fourth with 12.7%), and George Galloway's gain of Bradford West in March 2012.

Rotherham by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sarah Champion 9,966 46.3 +1.7
UKIP Jane Collins 4,648 21.8 +15.9
BNP Marlene Guest 1,804 8.5 -1.9
Respect Yvonne Ridley 1,778 8.3 N/A
Conservative Simon Wilson 1,157 5.4 -11.3
English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.3 N/A
Independent Simon Copley 582 2.7 N/A
Liberal Democrat Michael Beckett 451 2.1 -13.9
TUSC Ralph Dyson 261 1.2 N/A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.2 N/A
no description Clint Bristow 29 0.1 N/A
Majority 5,318 24.5 -3.4
Turnout 21,430 33.63 -25.37
Labour hold Swing -7.1

Previous result[edit]

General Election 2010: Rotherham[26][27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Denis MacShane 16,741 44.6 −13.1
Conservative Jackie Whiteley 6,279 16.7 +3.4
Liberal Democrat Rebecca Taylor 5,994 16.0 −0.4
BNP Marlene Guest 3,906 10.4 +4.5
Independent Peter Thirlwall 2,366 6.3 N/A
UKIP Caven Vines 2,220 5.9 +2.0
Majority 10,462 27.9 -7.7
Turnout 37,506 59.0 +4.9
Labour hold Swing −8.3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MP's expenses: Denis MacShane resigns over false invoices". BBC. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Standards and Privileges Committee (2 November 2012). Second Report - Mr Denis MacShane (Report). UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Denis MacShane Resigns". Denis MacShane. 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Three Hundreds of Chiltern - Regional News Network". 5 November 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  5. ^ < "Croydon, Middlesbrough and Rotherham by-election dates set". BBC News. BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived 20 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Rotherham byelection candidates", BBC News Sheffield and South Yorkshire
  8. ^ TUSC to stand in Rotherham and Middlesbrough by-election TUSC
  9. ^ Hope Not Hate Exclusive: EDL Stand Candidate in Rotherham By Election Hope Not Hate
  10. ^ EDL member to stand for Rotherham byelection EDL News
  11. ^ "Lib Dems slump to sixth as Labour win Barnsley poll". BBC News. BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Marlene Guest: electoral history The Guardian
  13. ^ "Yvonne Ridley Respect candidate in Rotherham election", BBC News, 12 November 2012
  14. ^ David Hirsh "Zionism is not apartheid",, 2 August 2006
  15. ^ Respect is a 'Zionist Free Party' Engage
  16. ^ "Rotherham by-election candidate list". BBC News. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  17. ^ Ed Miliband: 'Urgent investigation' into fostering row, BBC News, 24 November 2012
  18. ^ Decision over UKIP couple fostering 'indefensible' - Gove, BBC News, 24 November 2012
  19. ^ UKIP leader 'very upset' over foster row, BBC Radio4, 24 November 2012
  20. ^ "Nigel Farage "appalled" at fostering decision". Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Constitution of The UK Independence Party". Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c "Rotherham Council apologises over UKIP foster row". BBC News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "Labour holds Rotherham seat". ITV News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  24. ^ LibDems' Rotherham By-Election Results "Worst Ever" Recorded for major party Huffington Post
  25. ^ Transcript - Interview 2/12 Tim Farron, President of Liberal Democrats Sky News Press Office
  26. ^ Statement of Persons Nominated
  27. ^ "UK > England > Yorkshire & the Humber > Rotherham". Election 2010. BBC. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.