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Ex-Gurkha wins by-election in Kent

Labour has been beaten in a by-election in one of its safest seats in Medway, Kent and by an ex-Gurkha.  Mark Reckless has the story of Tashi Tamang Bhutia's victory:

"Tashi's victory is first and foremost testament to his decency, honesty and modesty.

Second, it reflects many core-Labour voters coming out for Tashi because of how they felt about Gordon Brown doing everything he could to deny Gurkhas fair treatment in the UK. Helpfully, the two Labour ward councillors who remained in post gave this as one of their reasons for resigning the Labour whip.

Third, the result is a huge personal defeat for Jonathan Shaw, the constituency's MP, who insisted on imposing a candidate against the better judgment of many in the local Labour party. Jonathan's face was redder than his rosette in his lonely vigil at the count, as well it might have been in light of the shocking comments made by his chosen candidate.

Finally, it seems that council taxpayers have voted for substantial savings in councillor allowances. Labour have now been reduced to such a rump, 10 out of 55 seats in the Medway Towns, a conurbation of a quarter of a milllion people, that their spokesmen may all lose their special responsibility allowances."

Tracey Crouch - our General Election candidate for the constituency - will be entitled to a big smile this morning.

Pickles 10.45am: Statement from Eric Pickles:

"I am delighted that Tashi Tamang Bhutia's  has won this seat.

"This is further proof of the invaluable contribution the Ghurkha community makes to British society.

"It is a shame that the government had to be dragged kicking and screaming before they woke up and realised the Gurkhas should be treated as honoured veterans of our armed forces."


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