Ministers lose seats in the East

Tory gains end Labour careers

A NUMBER of Government ministers lost their East of England seats as the region swung sharply to the Conservatives.

Junior transport minister Chris Mole in Ipswich, deputy regional minister Bob Blizzard in Waveney, Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith in Basildon South & Thurrock East, Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell, and junior justice minister Claire Ward in Watford fell to the Tories.

In addition, Norwich South MP Charles Clarke – the former Home Secretary who openly called for Gordon Brown to quit before he led Labour to electoral humiliation – was a rare casualty to the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg’s party now has four seats in the East – Bob Russell in Colchester, Norman Lamb in Norfolk North, Julian Huppert in Cambridge, and Simon Wright in Norwich South.

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Ms Ward in Watford had been thought to have been in danger to the Lib Dems’ Sal Brinton – daughter of former ITN newsreader and one time Tory MP Tim Brinton – but it was the Tories who scraped home by 1,435 over the Lib Dems with Ms Ward coming in third.

The Watford victory puts into the Commons the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel Richard Harrington. The organisation’s political director Robert Halfon gained Harlow from Labour.

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Across the county, the Liberal Democrats failed to achieve the high hopes that had been fuelled by Nick Clegg’s successes in the televised leaders’ debates.

The Conservatives gained three Lib Dem seats in Cornwall and two in Hampshire, while Lembit Opik of Cheeky Girls fame was defeated by the Conservatives in the formerly safe constituency of Montgomeryshire.

However, the party did have some successes, gaining Wells in Somerset and Bradford from Labour.

The leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas had a major triumph in Brighton Pavilion and set a record – she is the first Green MP to be elected anywhere in the world under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

The Independent Kidderminster Hospital Party MP Dr Richard Taylor lost his seat after eight years to the Conservatives, but the Tories still have only one seat in Scotland, in Dumfries and Galloway.

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