Tories keep control of Suffolk Coastal as Labour secure second spot
- Credit: Archant
Conservative Therese Coffey triumphed once more in Suffolk Coastal as Labour took a hard-fought second place.
Counting started promptly at the headquarters of Suffolk police in Martlesham but did then get slightly delayed after boxes from Halesworth were stranded when the vehicle they were travelling in got a flat tyre.
All the votes were verified by 1am with a final declaration being made on the result at 4am with Dr Coffey increasing her majority by 4,000.
Labour's Cameron Matthews took second place ahead of Liberal Democrat Jules Ewart.
Dr Coffey said she was delighted with the result but also paid tribute to her opponents.
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"I am absolutely thrilled to be elected. I can't believe this is the fourth time in ten years," said Dr Coffey.
"I think it was a very tiring campaign trail. Nobody really wanted an election in December.
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"I hope we get back into making sure that Parliament works properly for the priorities of the people.
"I am looking forward to getting back to representing the people of Suffolk Coastal."
Dr Coffey said she hoped she would be able to "continue to strike the right balance" between work in her constituency and her role in Westminster as secretary of state for work and pensions.
Dr Coffey identified a number of local issues that she hoped to tackle straight away.
"I will be on the phone to Network Rail tomorrow about these signalling issues," said Dr Coffey, speaking of the recent rail issues in Suffolk.
Ms Ewart said despite the result she said that campaigning had gone well in the district and that she felt she had "managed to rebrand the party" amongst local voters.
Green candidate Rachel Smith-Lyte said that she had "done what she could" in the constituency with limited resources.
Ms Smith-Lyte said that she felt that the party's message had gone down well with younger voters and the future looked bright for the party in the constituency.
Turnout was 71.4%, slightly down from 73.2% two years ago - although the actual number of voters who took part was slightly higher.
The result in full:
- Therese Coffey (Con) 32,958
- Cameron Matthews (Lab) 12,425
- Jules Ewart (LibDem) 8,719
- Rachel Smith-Lyte (Green) 2,713
- Tony Love (Ind) 1,493