Conservatives hold Waveney seat with largest majority yet
- Credit: Archant
A familiar face will return to Parliament to represent Waveney in the new year after romping to victory, almost doubling his 9,000 majority.
Conservative candidate Peter Aldous retained the seat he first won nine years ago, and extended his majority to the largest in the history of the constituency.
His 31,778 votes dwarfed that of Labour candidate Sonia Barker, who picked up 13,776.
Not since Labour's Bob Blizzard claimed a majority of more than 12,000 in 1997 has a candidate reached five figures, with Mr Aldous claiming a majority of 18,002.
Turnout across the constituency, however, fell by more than 3pc from 65.3pc to 62pc, with 51,318 votes cast in Waveney on Thursday.
Speaking after the victory, Mr Aldous said: "It is an enormous privilege and honour and I am very conscious a lot of people have voted for me.
"There is a very clear message there and I got it on the doorstep that people felt Parliament had been going around in ever-decreasing circles and we needed to address Brexit to get that out of the way and get on with the other challenges the country faces which, really, we haven't done over the last four years or so.
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"To my mind that is a clear message that I have got to take down to Westminster on behalf of the people of Waveney.
"There are issues with the NHS, education and crime, but locally there are issues like the Third Crossing, infrastructure and jobs, which we have started addressing with the offshore renewable energy."
Labour candidate Sonia Barker praised the work of her team during the election campaign.
She said: "Having worked so hard for five weeks, I have to hugely thank my team and everyone who put the X on the ballot paper for me.
"I am disappointed for the vulnerable people who rely on foodbanks and those on Universal Credit worrying and wanting a Labour government to change things."
Green candidate Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw finished third with 2,727 votes, followed by Liberal Democrat Helen Korfanty with 2,603 votes and Dave Brennan, of the Christian People's Alliance, with 245 votes.
Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw labelled the result "predictable" for the party due to a rise in tactical voting, despite the party claiming more than 10,000 votes for all three candidates in Beccles and Worlingham in the East Suffolk Council elections earlier this year.
The party did, however, retain their deposit for the first time in Waveney after picking up 2,727 votes.
She said: "There has been such a rise in tactical voting and that is a real threat for the Green party.
"In many wards, like Waveney, it won't make any difference but people are almost scared to vote for us in case it is a wasted vote.
"We can't expect those results to translate to the general election.
"We need a genuine democracy and electoral reform. It's fundamentally wrong that people can't vote for what they believe in. We've not had majority rule since 1935 and most of the electorate aren't represented."