Election 2015: Conservative Matt Hancock ‘humbled’ as he retains West Suffolk seat
- Credit: Archant
He was announced as winner at 5am, with UKIP’s Julian Flood coming second by 14,984 votes.
Matt Hancock retained his West Suffolk constituency seat in the early hours this morning, with UKIP’s Julian Flood coming second by 14,984 votes.
Voter turnout was up 0.4% since 2010 to 64.9% and Labour’s Michael Jefferys came third with 8,604 votes.
Mr Hancock MP, who was standing for the second time in the constituency, said afterwards: “I am delighted that 25,000 people in west Suffolk placed their trust in the Conservatives.
“I am humbled to be able to represent the people of West Suffolk and now I will get on with job of ensuring a strong economy and fighting for my constituents.”
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The turnout was described as disappointing by many candidates, with Mr Jefferys joining the Green Party’s Niall Pettitt in criticising the “extremely poor” numbers.
A despondent Mr Jefferys, who had been shocked by his party’s performance in the exit polls at the start of the count, said: “We need to look at ourselves and work out why so many people do not bother to vote. I am extremely disappointed with the exit polls for Labour, it is not a positive picture.”
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UKIP’s Julian Flood, who was reluctant to speculate until the results were announced at 5am, said that it was a good start.
“I hope to stand again in 2020 when I think we will have a real chance of success,” he said. The Suffolk County Councillor added: “Today is a result to build on. We have come on leaps and bounds since 2010 when we got just 6% of the vote.
“We have four UKIP county councillors who will now have to continue to work even harder in a constituency represented by a Tory minister. He wont be able to properly represent his constituents.”
The count was held in Newmarket Leisure Centre, where most of the candidates held an all night vigil while the ballots were totted up. However, the fourth placed Liberal Democrat, with 2,465 votes, Elfreda Tealby-Watson left long before the count finished.
The fifth placed Mr Pettitt, who earned 1,779 votes, called for electoral reform after the result came in.
He said: “More than two thirds of the electorate are not being represented in West Suffolk. The Green Party will continue to campaign for a more proportional system.”
The result was a shock to no one, as the seat has remained Conservative since it was created in 1997.
Mr Hancock, who was the Energy Minister in the Coalition Government, was never really under threat, despite him rejecting the concept of “safe seats”. He said: “I reject the idea of safe seats, the day you start taking your seat for granted is the day you are not fit to do the job.”