US election special: Region reacts to Obama's win

THE region's MPs have welcomed Barack Obama's historic election win, with one claiming it was as life changing as Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom.

THE region's MPs have welcomed Barack Obama's historic election win, with one claiming it was as life changing as Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom.

Although the UK Conservatives and US Republicans are sister parties, Tory MPs seemed relieved that John McCain had been defeated.

At the base of this story are links to all the US election reaction that you need, with a chance to read Obama's personal blog, catch up on the reaction of the public in Suffolk and even a timeline to the historic election win.

The Chicago senator becomes the first African American to claim the White House - and achieved his victory by sweeping states across the country from California and Hawaii in the west to Florida and Massachusetts in the east.

He won more than twice the electoral college votes of challenger John McCain - and Democrats carried states like Virginia which have voted Republican in presidential elections for a generation.

With only North Carolina and Missouri still to declare, Mr Obama won more than 52 per cent of the popular vote in the US with his opponent claiming just under 47pc.

Most Read

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley said: “Obama's election will make the world a slightly safer place. The perception of the United States in Middle East and Moslem countries will improve.

“His election has done western decency a big favour. He will make western countries less of a threat to the rest of the world.”

Mr Ruffley said on foreign policyMcCain would have been a loose cannon whereas Obama was calmer and more in tune with the need to talk peace.

Richard Spring (West Suffolk) confessed he would have voted for Obama: “McCain is a wholly admirable man, an all-American hero, but Americans voted on the unpopularity of the Bush administration, the state of America' relations with the outside world, the weakness of the United States economy, and the banking crisis.”

Douglas Carswell (Harwich) said he “was as pleased as Punch” at Obama's victory. “He is anti-establishment and he refused to take a penny of taxpayers' money for his campaign, relying entirely on the internet to finance his campaign.

“As an MP who is anti-establishment and wants to clean up party financing over here, I'm delighted that Obama won through,” said Mr Carswell, who spent election night watching the returns at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said it was a “fabulous result for progressive politics. Labour MPs welcome the sweeping electoral endorsement of a man who holds similar values to us.”

Liberal Democrat Bob Russell (Colchester) described the election outcome as “brilliant.”

He added: “It was one off those great moments in political history, as life changing as Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom from Robben Island.”

Mr Russell said the two speeches overnight from Obama and McCain raised the level of the campaign. “McCain's concession speech was superb - Obama's was even better.”

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns, who is a Democrat-supporting Tory, said he was thrilled at the triple whammy of Obama's party winning the presidency, the senate, and the congress.

“I'm looking for a significant change in foreign policy to reconnect America with countries whose friendship has been strained by Bush.

“Domestically in America, I believe we'll see the introduction of universal health care, ending the disgrace of 49million middle class citizens being unable to afford medical insurance.”

Brooks Newmark, Tory MP for Braintree, said Obama's presidency would be positive on foreign policy which would be an antidote to the Bush years. “I have less confidence on his economic policy.

“A lot of new senators and congressmen have been elected with pledges to protect American jobs, which could lead to protectionist tariffs imposed on imports.”

David Burch, East of England policy manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We would echo the congratulations that have been expressed to Senator Obama on his election as the next President of the United States of America.

“Businesses in the UK cannot escape the effects of what is happening to the American economy and the downturn in the global financial situation.

“We hope that the conclusion of the presidential election will bring some stability to the worldwide economy and help to lead to an improvement in the business climate for our members in this country.

“At a national level, we have written to the US Ambassador and offered any support we can give in dealing with small business issues.”

Moments after Mr McCain conceded victory, Mr Obama spoke to a crowd of hundreds of thousands in his home city. In a powerful victory speech he recognised the historic nature of his victory.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

"We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was looking forward to working with the new US President.

In a statement, Mr Brown said: “I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Barack Obama on winning the Presidency of the United States.

“I would also like to pay tribute to Senator McCain who fought a good campaign and has shown the characteristic dignity that has marked a lifetime of service to his country.

“The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is vital to our prosperity and security.

“Barack Obama ran an inspirational campaign, energising politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future.

“I know Barack Obama and we share many values.

“We both have determination to show that government can act to help people fairly through these difficult times facing the global economy. And I look forward to working extremely closely with him in the coming months and years.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter