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Lib Dems surge as Tories come fourth in Hartlepool

September 30, 2004 2:00 AM

Labour came close to losing Hartlepool - one of their safest seats - as Liberal Democrat candidate Jody Dunn won a 19 per cent swing. The party came from third place to cut the Labour majority to just 2,033 votes.

The Conservatives suffered the humiliation of being beaten into fourth place behind UKIP. At the last General Election they had been second.

This is the fourth parliamentary by-election in a year when the Liberal Democrats have proved to be the main challenger to Labour, each time coming from third place. The Lib Dems have won two - Brent East and Leicester South - and Labour have narrowly held the other two.

It's clear that the Liberal Democrat message of freedom, fairness and trust strikes a chord all across Britain. More and more people are looking to the Liberal Democrats for a positive alternative to Labour. They see the Conservatives as a lost cause.