Essex turns to the Tories

Labour vanquished in blue rout

ESSEX swung sharply to the right in the General Election as the county became engulfed in a sea of blue.

The two best individual results for Tory candidates were in Chelmsford and Clacton.

In the new seat of Clacton, Douglas Carswell stormed home by a majority of more than 12,000 on a swing of 9.7%.

The result humbled Labour’s Ivan Henderson, who was defeated by Mr Carswell in 2005 in the former Harwich constituency. Mr Henderson had been hoping to take his revenge, but his Tory rival - one of the most Eurohostile MPs in the House of Commons and the man who led the revolt leading to the downfall of Speaker Michael Martin - had the momentum and the resources to see off his rival.

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In the county town, the Liberal Democrats had been confidently predicting that candidate Stephen Robinson would unseat Tory MP of 23 years Simon Burns, especially as the boundaries had been redrawn to remove many of prosperous rural areas from the constituency.

But Mr Burns showed all his fighting spirit to retain the seat with a majority of 5,110 as the Labour vote collapsed.

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Tories John Whittingdale and Mark Francois had a friendly tussle to which one would have the highest majority and lay claim to be one of the safest Conservative seats in the whole of the UK.

Both swamped their political rivals In Rayleigh & Wickford, Mr Francois was elected with a an incredible majority of 22,238 or 42.7% - triumphing over Mr Whittingdale in neighbouring Maldon, who won by “just” 19,407 or 40.5%.

Priti Patel becomes the first woman MP from an ethnic minority to be elected in the East of England when she triumphed in Witham by 15,000 votes obtaining more votes than the other candidates combined.

Ms Patel’s parents, who formerly owned the London Road sub post-office in Ipswich, fled the brutal Idi Amin regime in Uganda in the 1970s.

And in next door Braintree, Brooks Newmark romped home with a majority of 16,121, again by an overall majority.

Further afield, Labour’s Angela Smith in Basildon South & Thurrock East and Bill Rammell in Harlow - both Government ministers - lost to Tories, and Tory turned Independent-with-UKIP-support Dr Bob Spnik was defeated in his Castle Point constituency to Tory Rebecca Harris - Suffolk South Tory Tim Yeo’s chief of staff - by 7,632.

The Tories comfortably held their two seats in Southend, Brentwood & Ongar - the constituency of Tory Party chairman Eric Pickles - and Epping Forest.

After three recounts, the Tories gained Thurrock West, leaving Colchester as the only non-Tory seat in Essex.

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