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Conservatives gain key seat

July 25, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Britain's opposition Conservatives won a parliamentary seat from the ruling Labor party, securing a big majority that would give them a landslide if repeated at a national election due within a year.

The poll for the Norwich North seat, prompted after the local member of parliament resigned in protest over being punished for his role in an expenses scandal, was being watched for clues to the outcome of the forthcoming general election.

Conservative candidate Chloe Smith, who at 27 becomes Britain's youngest MP, beat her Labor rival into second place by a commanding margin. She captured 39.5% of the vote, against a Labor share of just over 18%.

Labor had held the seat in eastern England since Tony Blair swept to power in a landslide victory in 1997, ending 18 years of Conservative rule.

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