Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has successfully passed his first electoral test as his party comfortably won the Oldham West and Royton by-election.

Jim McMahon retained the seat for Labour with a majority of more than 10,000, despite UKIP’s hopes of making a breakthrough.

The result will come as a major relief to Mr Corbyn who has endured a torrid week for his leadership following Labour splits over air strikes in Syria.

Turnout was higher than expected at just over 40%, and Labour's success appears to have been secured with an effective postal vote operation.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage branded the result "perverse" and said "serious questions need to be asked".

He claimed to have "evidence from an impeccable source that today's postal voting was bent".

Mr McMahon, the leader of Oldham Council, said: "I am delighted to have been elected tonight… the sooner we kick the Tories out and get a Labour government back in, the better for all of us. The hard work starts now."

Mr McMahon polled 17,322 votes, with UKIP's John Bickley trailing in second on 6,487, a majority of 10,837.

Labour's share of the vote increased to 62.7% and there was a 2.39% swing from UKIP to Labour.

The Labour leader tweeted his congratulations, saying: "I am delighted that Labour has not only won the Oldham West and Royston by-election - but increased our share of the vote since the general election in May.

"By-elections can be difficult for the party holding the seat, and turnouts often low. But to increase our share of the vote since the general election is a vote of confidence in our party.

"It's a clear demonstration that Labour is the party working people trust," Mr Corbyn added.