Really.

The party has repelled Ukip's tanks from its lawns in its northern heartland by winning the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner by-election.

Labour's Alan Billings won 74,060 votes (50.02 per cent) against the 46,883 (31.66 per cent) of Ukip's Jack Clarkson.

OK, so it's not exactly the general election, and turnout was truly miserable at 148,026 votes cast, or 14 per cent of those eligible to vote, but the win is still a boon to Labour, beset by problems in Scotland and apparently haemorrhaging votes to Ukip in its traditional areas.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage vowed to take Labour on after coming within 600 votes of a massive upset in the Heartwood and Middleton by-election, but the manner of victory in the PCC by-election was more convincing.

Mr Wright was the councillor who oversaw child services in the town between 2005 and 2010, and Ukip was accused of trying to exploit the grooming scandal in its election campaign.

A senior Labour source said Labour had taken "Ukip on and won".

"Let's see if (David) Cameron can do the same in Rochester and Strood (by-election)," the source added.

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