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No need for ‘Fergie time’ as Reds cruise to victory in Stratford and Urmston by-elections | Politics news


Fergie would surely approve.

In the Manchester Suite in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand at Old Trafford, his Reds secured a resounding victory over their opponents in Blue.

In this case, there is no need for “Fergie time”, “blow-drying” or “squeaky-ass time”. This win was a walkover.

However, this time we are not talking about the triumph of Manchester United, but about the triumph Work A party that Sir Alex had supported since he had been an apprentice in the Havan shipyards many years ago.

Trafford Council has chosen this large hotel suite – almost the size of a football pitch – in the United grounds for the Stratford and Urmston by-election count.

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And at the ground, where former club captain Roy Keane once derided the “shrimp sandwich crew” among the club’s supporters, there were even sandwiches served here to counters, controllers, party activists and the media at half-time. (Yes, half. There was a break between the inspection and the count, which probably extended the count to an hour.)

But the by-election result, announced at around 2.45am, was always going to be a comfortable victory for Sir Alex’s Reds. Labor has defended the majority of more than 16,000 votes won by former MP Kate Green in the 2019 general election.

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Next month she becomes one of Greater Manchester’s deputy mayors, Everton native Andy Burnham, a fact Sir Alex is no doubt well aware of.

In 2019, Ms Green won just over 60% of the vote to the Tories’ 27.5%. But this was with a turnout of almost 70%.

Turnout was just under 26% in this by-election on a day of sub-zero temperatures and Royal Mail strikes potentially disrupting postal voting.

This meant that the significance of the result was only related to a share of the vote, not a majority, although Labour’s majority was just under 10,000.

Labor – and Sir Alex – will be delighted that new MP Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, has seen his share of the vote rise from just over 60% to just under 70%.

And what gave Labor a further boost was the fall in the Tory share to less than 16%. This is a form of departure.

A woman leaves Sharon Youth Center in Stratford after voting in the Stratford and Urmston by-election after Kate Green stepped down.  Nine candidates are vying to succeed her as Labor MP for Greater Manchester South West.  Photo date: Thursday, December 15, 2022.
The turnout was 25.8%, with Andrew Western winning 69.65% of the vote – a 9.34% increase on the 2019 general election.

The Manchester suite is decorated with large photographs of the club’s most decorated winners over the years.

To the right of the tribune, where the results of the by-elections were announced, were three former England captains, Wayne Rooney, Bryan Robson and David Beckham. From left, current United and England star Marcus Rashford, Fergie himself and club legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

A photo of Sir Alex shows him proudly holding the Premier League trophy, which he has won many times.

Bobby Charlton’s photo shows him holding the European Cup won by United in 1968, when, of course, the UK had a Labor Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

After the by-election results, Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central and die-hard Manchester City fan no less, told Sky News that despite the by-election results and Labour’s big polling, Sir Keir Starmer keeps telling his shadow office so as not to calm down.

This is the sort of warning Fergie would have given his Reds, both Manchester United and the Labor Party.

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