Election 2015: Jo Churchill says she is about reaping the benefits of hard work following huge majority win
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Jo Churchill has been elected as the new MP in Conservative safe seat Bury St Edmunds with a strong majority.
A total of 31,815 voters decided they wanted Mrs Churchill to represent them in the House of Commons, an improvement on the 27,899 achieved by David Ruffley at the last election.
The count did not get underway until around 4.30am after verifying of the ballot papers took longer than expected.
And at one stage we were told a box had been lost, although this was apparently quickly accounted for and was not the reason for the overall delay.
Following the declaration, Mrs Churchill said: “It feels absolutely fantastic.
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“We’d had a few weeks where people have been calling it neck-and-neck.
“I am not complacent by nature. I am about hard work and then hopefully reaping the benefits of that hard work.
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“This is the first hurdle as far as I’m concerned.”
Mrs Churchill added she thought it was said that some parliamentarians with a lot of experience had their careers ended, no matter what their party.
And having been up for 27 hours she said after getting breakfast she was looking forward to “serving as a good constituency MP”.
The result was unlikely to ever have been in doubt, with the Conservative Party having held Bury St Edmunds for more than 100 years.
However it was the battle for second which threw up a surprising result.
In 2010 Liberal Democrat David Chappell leapt above his Labour counterpart but this year, echoing the collapse of his party around the UK, he finished bottom of the five candidates with just 3,581 votes.
He said he felt his campaign on the ground appeared to go well but the opinion polls always caused a niggling worry in the back of his mind.
Labour regained second spot, candidate Bill Edwards getting 10,514 votes and fighting off the challenge of UKIP’s John Howlett, who was third with 8,739 votes.
Mr Edwards also thought his campaign had gone “pretty well”, but added: “You always feel you could do better, but that applies to everything.”
Mr Howlett had said during the count he was quite confident of achieving a second place finish, but that this election had again shown why electoral reform was needed.
The Green’s Helen Geake finished in fourth place with 4,692 votes, recording her party’s first finish in a place other than last in Bury St Edmunds.
And as the result was announced she looked delighted at having achieved that aim.
She said: “I’ve been really heartened by the number of people who have been so interested.
“I think everyone has got an opinion, some people have got some strongly held and passionate opinions and that’s fantastic.”
Full Bury St Edmunds result: Jo Churchill (C) 31,815, Bill Edwards (L) 10,514, John Howlett (UKIP) 8,739, Helen Geake (Gn) 4,692, David Chappell (LD) 3,581. Maj: 21,301. Turnout: 69%. No change.