Labour has won the by-election in Barnsley Central, leaving the Liberal Democrats red-faced in to sixth place behind UKIP, the British National Party (BNP) and a local independent. The Tories were beaten into third pace.

The by-election in Barnsley Central was caused by the resignation of Eric Illsley, the Labour MP jailed in February for 12 months for expenses fraud.

Labour was expected to win but the results are embarrassing for the coalition.

The Lib Dems were overtaken by not only Labour and the Conservatives but also Ukip, the BNP and a local independent.

Meanwhile, the Tories saw their vote share drop severely in the by-election and the anti-Brussels Ukip beat them into third.

Barnsley Central is traditionally a Labour stronghold, so there were no surprises that the party retained its seat and newcomer Labour MP, Dan Jarvis, a former army major, increased the party’s majority from 11,093 to 11,771.

The Lib Dems admitted they had been given a “kicking” in the by-election.

Party president Tim Farron said: “It was a poor result for us. It was a poor result for the Tories. The coalition parties didn’t do very well here. Surprise, surprise.”

However, Farron couldn’t resist a dig about the poor number of ballots cast. Only  36.5% of registered voters cast their ballots, down from 56.45% last year.

“Perhaps the biggest story is that 70% of people didn’t think it was worth bothering,” the Lib Deb said.