UK Conservatives hold Commons seat vacated by ex-PM Cameron

Britain's Conservative Party has retained the seat in Parliament vacated by the former prime minister, David Cameron, but with a sharply reduced majority.

Conservative candidate Robert Courts won the rural English seat of Witney, taking 45 percent of the votes cast — down from the 60 percent Cameron achieved in the 2015 national election.

The centrist Liberal Democrats surged past Labour into second place. Green candidate Larry Sanders — brother of former Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders — came fourth with 3.5 percent.

In another special election Thursday, Labour candidate Tracy Brabin was elected to the northern England seat of slain Labour lawmaker Jo Cox.

Cox was shot and stabbed to death June 16. As a mark of respect, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did not contest the election.