The final results are:
Labour 14,718 42.1%
Lib Dem 11,160 31.9%
Conservative 4,481 12.8%
UKIP 2,029 5.8%
BNP 1,560 4.5%
Others 958 2.8%
So Labour has a majority of 3,558 and just over 10%.
First of all, congratulations to Debbie Abrahams who will be delighted to be the latest addition to the House of Commons. She fought a good campaign (certainly compared to her predecessor) and deserves credit for it.
There is something for everyone in this result.
Labour will (rightly) claim that it is a decent victory for them increasing their vote share by over 10% on the May 2010 general election result. Debbie Abrahams even gained 534 more votes than Phil Woolas did last year (14,718 vs 14,186) despite the fact that the turnout was only 48% (vs 61.2% last May).
The Lib Dems will (rightly) claim that their vote held up well under the circumstances. They even ended up 0.3% higher than their general election performance. Given the national situation and some national opinion polls having them down in single figure percentage points this is a creditable result and will give Nick Clegg some comfort that the Lib Dem vote has not collapsed as many commentators predicted and Lib Dem activists feared.
Despite a poor result the Conservatives will (rightly) point out that having come third at the general election, their vote was always going to be squeezed mercilessly and there was doubtless some tactical voting going on. Secretly David Cameron will be pleased that the Lib Dems managed to hold their own even if it was at the expense of his own party. The last thing he wanted was for his government to be threatened by a Lib Dem wobble triggered by this result. As things stand that is now unlikely.
And even UKIP can (rightly) point to a decent increase in its votes.
All in all it there are positives for just about everyone. Oh, except the BNP who (rightly) lost votes and vote share.