Election 2015: Bernard Jenkin ‘astonished’ after majority in Harwich and North Essex surges

The first ballot boxes are emptied to be sorted in Colchester Leisure Centre.

The first ballot boxes are emptied to be sorted in Colchester Leisure Centre. - Credit: Su Anderson

Bernard Jenkin admitted he was “astonished” after extending his majority to more than 15,000 when winning the Harwich and North Essex seat for the Conservatives.

The newly-elected MP said he will focus on immigration and the UK’s relationship with Europe among other issues during the next Parliament.

Mr Jenkin received 24,722 votes, which gave him a majority of 15,174 to second-placed Edward Carlsson of the Labour Party (9,548).

In 2010, Mr Jenkin’s majority was 11,447.

The declaration was made at 5.50am following a turnout of 70%, up slightly from 69.3% in 2010.

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Speaking afterwards, Mr Jenkin said: “I am absolutely delighted. Astonished – it is better than I could have hoped for.

“I think it is more than 50% which is a huge vote of confidence and I will be proud to once again serve the constituency for another five years.

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“The public is lending their trust to the Conservatives but we have to earn their trust in the years ahead.

“We have to continue the deficit reduction programme, we have to renegotiate a new relationship with our European partners, and we will put that to a referendum, we have to establish some controls over immigration which we have not yet done.

“But we also have to be mindful that the economic recovery has not reached a lot of people. That is what most struck me most when talking to voters during this election.

“People should not have to be on zero-hours contracts and people should not have to depend on food banks. They do very good work and may have a role in the welfare system, but people should not be left in that position.

Historically the constituency has had a chequered past. The Harwich seat was won by Labour in 1997 and held for eight years, until being merged with Clacton in 2005 when it was re-taken by the Conservatives.

Its composition then changed again when Harwich was added into the north Essex seat under Mr Jenkin, still with the Conservatives – who have held the North Essex constituency since 1992.

Mr Jenkin added: “The overall result in the national result has been much better than I think my general expectation was.

“I always thought it might be possible but people would distil a better decision from the indecision indicated by the polls but this has very much been a better night than I feared.

“The real significant point is that the collapse of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives’ improved position means we don’t need a coalition.”

The full result was: Bernard Jenkin (C) 24,722, Edward Carlsson (L) 9,548, Mark Hughes (UKIP) 8,464, Dominic Graham (LD) 3,576, Christopher Flossman (Gn) 2,122.

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