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The coalition has been dealt a blow in the Barnsley Central by-election, as the Lib Dems finished sixth and the Tories were overtaken by the UK Independence Party.
Labour's Dan Jarvis won the race to replace disgraced former MP Eric Illsley with a majority of 11,771 - a slight increase on the General Election result.
It is one of the party's safest seats.
Liberal Democrat candidate Dominic Carman polled just 1,012 votes, even though the party finishing in second place at the General Election.
Mr Carman admitted that the voters of Barnsley had given the party "a kicking" but said the Liberal Democrats "can take it".
Nick Clegg's party finished behind Labour, the Conservatives, UKIP, the BNP and an independent candidate.
The Liberal Democrat share of the vote fell from 17.28% to just 4.18% which meant Mr Carman lost his deposit.
Mr Jarvis described his victory as "a stunning result" and said the voters had made their feelings clear.
"Tonight the people of Barnsley central are sending the strongest possible message to David Cameron and Nick Clegg," he said.
"Your reckless policies, your broken promises and your unfair cuts are letting our country down."
UKIP celebrated a second place finish with their candidate Jane Collins telling supporters the party had "broken the back of the coalition".
Mr Jarvis resigned from the Army in order to fight the by-election after a 15-year career.
He was a Major with 1 Para and served in Afghanistan and in Kosovo.
The father of two is raising his children alone following the loss of his wife Caroline to breast cancer last year.
(c) Sky News 2011