All the big players have been putting their own spin on Norwich North. Here’s a summary of their reactions to the election of Chloe Smith as the constituency’s newest member of parliament.
Bob Blizzard, Labour’s MP for Waveney, said: “Clearly it is always disappointing to lose but the circumstances of this by-election were unique and that made it hard for us from the start, but we ran a good campaign.
“It is significant the Tories failed to even gain as many votes here as they did in 2005, despite David Cameron coming to the constituency six times.
Prime minister Gordon Brown said: “This is clearly a disappointing result but I think when people look at this constituency what is happening the voters were clearly torn between what was happening. over MPs’ expenses and at the same time their loyalty to Ian Gibson.
“I don’t think that any part can take a great deal of cheer from us. The Conservative vote went down, the liberal vote went down. and I think it’s a lesson we’ve all got to observe that we’ve got to clean up Westminster politics and we’re doing that.”
Victor Chloe Smith said: “Roll on the General Election when the British people also have the opportunity to vote for change.
“This by-election has been a victory for honest politics. The people of Norwich North have rejected the old politics of personal attacks, of bickering, of smears. They voted for change and in doing so they have sent a message to Gordon Brown.”
A Conservative party spokesman added: “Chloe Smith ran a very positive campaign while the Labour party were involved in negative tactics. This result is the voters sending a message to Gordon Brown and showing the voters want a change.”
Party leader Nick Clegg said: “I would like to congratulate April Pond for leading an excellent campaign in which she was an incredibly strong local candidate.
“Gordon Brown’s growing failure as prime minister and his ham-fisted treatment of a popular MP have resulted in disaster for Labour.
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party offering a different, fairer vision for Britain and we will continue to fight the two establishment parties.”
Ukip’s candidate Glenn Tingle said: “Obviously, I would like to have won but I am pleased with what we achieved because we can build on this result in the future.
“I believe the voters in this area will remember Ukip when the general and local elections come around. I would like to thank the Norwich North voters for their support and my campaign team, who worked so hard.”
Green candidate Rupert Read said: “I think we did really well. We were coming from a base of 2.7 per cent, way more than tripled our vote, by far the best Green party vote in a by-election.
“This is the end of free party politics in Britain, multi-party politics has arrived.
“I think there is ongoing deep disillusionment with the three main parties. One difference between us and them was they had financial resources that they ploughed into Norwich North, we were fighting in this election against parties which had far greater resources than we had.
“I think it makes the case for proportional representation all the more urgent. It would be mad to go into the next general election with a five-party system in the country under a first-past–the-post system.”
“You could get a massive Conservative landslide with Conservatives just getting 35 per cent of the vote. That would be completely ludicrous, not to mention disastrous.”