Shock for Tories nationally but locally MPs stand strong
Voters locally showed their faith in the Tory party as the MPs in the Mercury area not only retained their seat but increased their majorities.
Nationally the Conservatives were rocked by last Thursday’s snap General Election, which Prime Minister Theresa May called to give her a “clear mandate” entering into Brexit negotiations.
But instead the party lost seats and failed to get an overall majority, while the Labour party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, made significant gains.
Locally the picture stayed the same with Stamford MP Nick Boles, Rutland MP Sir Alan Duncan and John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings keeping their seats.
And Ben Bradley, who has been standing in for Mr Boles while he undergoes treatment for cancer, even grabbed the Mansfield constituency himself from Labour MP of 30 years Alan Meale.
Mr Boles, who is still recovering from cancer didn’t attend the count for the Grantham and Stamford constituency, which incorporates Bourne.
Following Mr Boles’ victory, his election agent Kelham Cooke read out a message on his behalf. It said: “I am sorry I can’t be here to acknowledge in person the responsibility entrusted to me once again by the people of the Grantham, Stamford, Bourne and the villages in between. I want to thank all my supporters, and look forward to picking up the reins as MP once again in the next few weeks and months.
“I also want to thank the returning officer and all those who have officiated on this election day and who have kept us all safe. As a country we are blessed to enjoy these democratic freedoms and I promise to do everything in my power always to defend them.”
Labour’s Barrie Fairbairn put in a better performance compared with the 2015 election when he was pipped into third place by UKIP with just 9,070 votes.
Mr Fairbairn said: “Personally I am delighted that Labour is beginning to grow a foothold in Grantham and Stamford. Looking back at 2010, this is a significant advance, and so I think I can say irrespective of the national picture, there has been some consolidation of the Labour vote and I would like to think that in part that is due to the work I have done. I have answered every single piece of correspondence that has been in front of me.”
Mr Fairbairn added: “Theresa May has failed by her own audit. The position is she is not going to have a landslide and we are not in effect going to have an elected dictatorship which really is in the best interests of the nation.”
Third-placed Anita Day, of the Liberal Democrats, thanked those who had voted for her and said, while the result was not as good as she would have liked, she felt she had made a good effort with the voters. Independent candidate Tariq Mahmood, a consultant gastroenterologist at Grantham Hospital, said he was happy with the support he had got, much of it from his patients.
In Rutland and Melton, Sir Alan Duncan was voted into power for a sixth consecutive time, polling 36,169 votes, nearly three times that of his nearest rival.
The deputy Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs increased his majority from 21,930 to 23,104 with his latest victory.
Speaking moments after he was elected at about 4.30am, Sir Alan said: “I am very pleased to be returned for a sixth time for this fantastic constituency and with an increase in my majority.
“To have gained a majority of more than 23,000 is very satisfying.
“I will continue to raise matters of concern for the people of Rutland and Melton.
“I am disappointed with the overall picture but I hope that we can continue in Government and provide the stability that the country needs.”
Labour’s Heather Peto polled 13,065 votes to be placed second.
It was increase of 4,682 on Dr James Moore who collected 8,383 votes for Labour in 2015.
Heather felt that at the start of General Election campaign many people had viewed Labour with suspicion but that by the end lots of those supported Jeremy Corbyn MP.
She said: “We have increased Labour’s number of votes in Rutland and Melton by almost half on 2015.
“I hope to be back for Labour in Rutland and Melton in 2022 to win.”
Ed Reynolds, representing the Liberal Democrats, was third with 4,711 votes, John Scutter, of UKIP, gained 1,869 to just clinch fourth spot ahead of Alastair McQuillan, of the Green Party, who got 1,755 votes.
A humbled but delighted John Hayes said he would stay on as MP for South Holland and the Deepings for as long as the electorate want him.
Conservative Mr Hayes easily won a sixth term, despite spirited opposition from Labour’s Voyteck Kowalewski.
Mr Hayes received 35,179 out of the 50,314 unspoilt papers, which was 69.9 per cent of the vote, up from 29,303 and 59.6 per cent in 2015.
After the declaration, he said: “I’m obviously elated, delighted and very humbled, with a strong sense of duty.
“It was a really strong night here but clearly it was a very mixed night for my party. I didn’t expect to get such a big majority.
“I will continue to work for this constituency. My prevailing ambition has always been to be a constituency MP.
“I actually get an immense thrill from taking up difficult cases for people, their causes and campaigns and trying to better people’s lives and change the wellbeing of people who live where I live. So that has to be my first priority.”
l See page 103 for Nick Boles’ column