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‘Humbling’ - Tory Giles Watling describes winning Clacton seat with 25,000

PUBLISHED: 05:20 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 05:55 13 December 2019

Giles Watling (right) shakes the hand of Andy Morgan after retaining his Clacton seat following the 2019 General Election Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Giles Watling (right) shakes the hand of Andy Morgan after retaining his Clacton seat following the 2019 General Election Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

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Re-elected MP Giles Watling has admitted he is ‘humbled’ after winning the Clacton seat by the largest majority the Conservative party has ever had in the area.

Giles Watling retained the Clacton seat for the ConservativesGiles Watling retained the Clacton seat for the Conservatives

The Tory candidate racked up 72% of the votes in the Clacton constituency. He polled 31,438 votes, a majority of 24,702 over Labour candidate Kevin Bonavia.

Mr Watling looked overjoyed as he was crowned the winner at just after 3.30am, beating six other candidates to retain his Clacton seat - which includes coastal towns Walton, Frinton and Jaywick.

Speaking of his triumph, Mr Watling said: "It's kind of humbling to win, especially by a fair few.

"Now we've just got to get this Brexit thing done and then move on, and then let's get on with the really important things such as health, policing, infrastructure and schools."

When asked what will be a priority for the MP, Mr Watling said: "I've got some campaigns which I am running already, one which is elder abuse, which I want to bring into the same realm as child abuse, because it is so tragic that some of our elders are abused in such horrific ways.

"The other thing I want to improve is the infrastructure connections to our area."

He continued: "I rather think that at least Boris will have a really decent majority to actually fulfil some of the functions of government."

Mr Watling previously swept to victory for the Conservatives in the 2017 General Election with a record majority of 15,828 over Labour. He regained the seat his party lost in 2015, when it was notably the one UKIP seat in the country.

Clacton's turnout has dropped over recent years - this year 61.5% voted compared to 63.8% and 64.1% in 2017 and 2015 respectively.

Labour candidate Kevin Bonavia came second with 6,736 votes, while Liberal Democrat Callum Robertson came third with 2,541 votes.

Green candidate Chris Southall received 1,225 votes, Independent Andy Morgan with 1,099, Independent Colin Bennett obtaining 243 and Just-John Sexton for the Monster Raving Loony Party had 224.

Labour candidate Kevin Bonavia said of the Tory victory nationally: "We may have five years of some very turbulent times and I really feel for the most vulnerable people in our society and those who are struggling to make ends meat."

When asked what is next for the Labour party, Mr Bonavia said that they must continue to rebuild and find out where they went wrong with their 2019 campaign.

He said: "We can start blaming other people for our result, but I think the responsibility always lies with us.

"Even if other people have not behaved, or they have told lies, or all of that considered, we have to overcome and we have to be able to persuade people and get them to believe in us.

"We will rebuild, because we have to. This country needs an alternative."

There were seven candidates altogether contesting the seat, which has been in existence since 2010.

The seat was created following a review of the Parliamentary representation of Essex, formed from the abolished Harwich constituency, excluding the town of Harwich itself and surrounding areas.

You can check out the live blog from the north Essex constituencies here.


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