A ruling party losing a by-election is not that uncommon and often marks a party on its way out. John Major saw his majority of 22 turn into a minority of -1 by the time of the 1997 general election. However, there are a couple of things to take away from this by-election. First is that people are as angry about how Brown handled the expenses scandal as much as they are upset over the scandal. Second is that Labour does not have an effective attack against the Tories. Labour tried at attack the Tories over the possibility of a Conservative government making spending cuts but the attacks had no effect.
There was the usual grumbling from Labour quarters about Brown's leadership but again the opposition is not yet strong enough to topple the Prime Minister and Labour is now looking to electoral reform as its main issues.
In the meantime, Chloe Smith is now the the youngest member of Parliament and has a year to use incumbency to strengthen herself for what appears to be a good election for the Tories. The Backbencher congratulates Chloe Smith on her election.