April 5, 2019 / 6:45 AM / 7 months ago

Britain's opposition Labour Party holds Welsh parliamentary seat

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s opposition Labour Party defeated the governing Conservatives in a by-election, retaining a parliamentary seat as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to ratify her Brexit divorce deal.

Britain has been thrown into crisis by an impasse over Brexit: neither May’s deal nor any alternatives have been able to command a majority in a series of votes in the 650-seat House of Commons.

Labour won 40 percent of the vote in the Welsh seat of Newport West, down from 52 percent in the 2017 election on a lower turnout.

Thursday’s by-election was triggered by the death in February of Paul Flynn, who had been the representative for Newport West since 1987.

New candidate Ruth Jones won a majority of 1,951, down from Flynn’s 5,658 majority at the last national election in 2017.

The area, which voted in favor of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum, saw a swing towards the Conservatives, with the eurosceptic UKIP party increasing its vote total and coming third.

Jones said she would await the outcome of cross-party talks between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and May before making clear how she would vote on Brexit in the future.

“It’s difficult to say exactly what I would or wouldn’t do. I don’t know what’s on the table at the moment,” she told the BBC after her election.

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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