Even if Corbyn may not have been the key figure in persuading Oldham to vote Labor, his perceived toxicity among white, working-class voters was not strong enough to drive them into the arms of Ukip.
“This campaign shows just how strong our party is, not just here in Oldham, but all over the country”. Labor’s share of the vote actually increased by 7.5 percent to 62.3 percent.
At the end of a week that has seen Labor MPs seek police protection from mobs expressing loyalty to Corbyn, the atmosphere within the party remains sulfurous.
The Labor leader visited Oldham once, compared to Nigel Farage’s seven.
“It shows the way we’ve driven the Tories back on tax credits, on police cuts, on their whole austerity agenda and narrative”.
The Labor leader told cheering supporters: “It shows just how strong, how deep-rooted and how broad our party, the Labor Party, is for the whole of Britain”. “I think they are a bit of an irrelevance in the debate”, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today program.
Mr. McMahon polled 17,209 votes, with Ukip’s John Bickley trailing in second on 6,487, a majority of 10,722.
The result discredited Corbyn’s internal critics, who had hoped a weak showing would help spark a leadership coup.
Turnout was higher than expected at just over 40%, and Labor’s success appears to have been partly secured by an effective postal vote operation.
Labor’s deputy leader Tom Watson has dismissed Momentum, a pressure group accused of targeting opponents of Jeremy Corbyn, as a “bit of a rabble”. The Labor leader hailed the result as a “vote of confidence in our party” while Ukip claimed the volume of postal votes cast in the constituency had “distorted” the outcome. In response, McMahon pointed out that “there is nothing wrong with people making a democratic decision not to support Ukip“.
“So I wouldn’t get too excited about it if I was Jeremy Corbyn”.
But it has not changed the underlying dynamic of conflict between Corbyn and most of the party membership on one side, and the overwhelming majority of Labor MPs on the other.
The message to Mr. Danczuk described him as “f****** scum”, adding: “I’m going to find you and do you some serious damage”.
Ukip targeted the apparent split in its campaign and Mr. Farage said the poll “could well be within a few hundred votes”.
“But I think really what you had was a candidate who was well-known locally and was addressing the issues that people were concerned about on the doorstep”.
He also blamed the area’s large migrant communities for the result, claiming: “The electoral process is now dead in those areas”.
“They can’t speak English, they have never heard of Ukip or the Conservative Party, they haven’t even heard of Jeremy Corbyn”, he said.
Mr. McMahon said: “The sooner we kick the Tories out and get a Labor government back in, the better for all of us”.
McMahon, who will now stand down from his council position to focus on his new duties as a MP, said the result was staggering and is something his close friend Michael Meacher “would be proud of”. “The hard work starts now”.