London: British Prime Minister David Cameron`s Conservative party won a vote for a parliamentary seat on Friday, fending off a challenge from the Eurosceptic party that beat it into third place in last month`s European elections.
Cameron and his party suggested the victory in Newark, in the English county of Nottinghamshire, was proof that the outcome of the European elections was a one-off protest that will not be replicated at a national election in May next year.
"This is a very good result for the Conservative party and for the government," Cameron said on Friday morning.
"By-elections are notoriously tricky, the last time we won one in government was over 20 years ago, and it`s a good result because we worked hard, we had an excellent candidate and we had a very clear message about our long-term economic plan."
By-elections describe votes for parliamentary seats held in-between national elections.
George Osborne, Britain`s finance minister, said the result was proof that the "politics of answers can beat the politics of anger," a barbed reference to the policies of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) which came second.
Final results showed that the Conservatives had come first with 45 percent of the vote. Their majority was less than half what it was in a national election in the same seat in 2010, however.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which won last month`s European elections, came second with 25.9 percent of the vote, up from 3.8 percent of the vote and fourth place in the same seat in 2010. It had hoped to come a much closer second.
The opposition Labour party came third with 17.7 percent of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in a coalition government with Cameron`s Conservatives, picked up just 2.6 percent of the vote and came sixth.
The Conservatives said their margin of victory was bigger than they had hoped for and that UKIP had failed to convert its previous success into a strong showing, suggesting the anti-EU party`s momentum was starting to falter.