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Richard Benyon retains his Newbury seat

Ellis Barker

Reporter:

Ellis Barker

Email:

ellis.barker@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886639

Richard Benyon retains his Newbury seat

Richard Benyon has held onto his Parliamentary seat for the Newbury constituency with a huge majority of 26,000 over second place candidate, Liberal Democrat Judith Bunting.

Overall, Mr Benyon polled 34,973 votes compared to Judith Bunting's 8,605.

In third place was UKIP's Catherine Anderson, with 6,195 votes, followed by Labour's Jonny Roberts (4,837), Green's Paul Field (2,324), Apolitical Democrat Peter Norman (228), Independent Barrie Singleton (85) and Patriotic Socialist Party's Andrew Stott (53).

The Conservative share of the vote in Newbury increased to a whopping 61% while the Lib Dem's crumbled from 35% share five years ago, to just 15%. There were big jumps in vote share too for UKIP who polled 10.8% of the vote compared to 2.5% in 2010 while the Greens jumped to 4.1% of the vote from 0.8. Labour also doubled its share from 4.3% to 8.4%.

A jubilant Richard Benyon said in his victory speech: "The dawn has broken and it’s not a red dawn but a blue one” to a loud applause from supporters in the room.

“It has been a herculean effort" he added, and he went on to pay tribute to David Holtby who was the three-time Conservative MPs agent who passed away in June 2013.

He told Newbury Weekly News that he was "overjoyed" by the result.

He said: "I am absolutely blown away. I can't believe that we have achieved an even bigger majority than what the Liberal Democrats achieved [in the 1993 by-election]."

He went on to thank his team, his family and the people of West Berkshire.

Liberal Democrat Judith Bunting refused to speak to the Newbury Weekly News following the results, visibly upset at the election result. 

Paul Field of the Green Party was very positive about their efforts - having increased his vote share almost five-fold.

He said: "From a Green Party point of view its a stunning achievement. We have got nearly five times the level of support since 2010. That has to be seen as great in the bigger picture.

"We think its disappointing but we are here now in West Berkshire, and we are a serious party here."

Jonny Roberts of the Labour party said: "We are pleased with the result, particularly when you look at the national picture as well."

Peter Norman of the Apolitical Democrats said: "It's pretty staggering really that Richard Benyon has increased his vote by that amount. Obviously I am disappointed that we couldn't take more votes this time."

The results were confirmed at 5.31am today (Friday) at Newbury Racecourse.

It is the third consecutive time Mr Benyon has won the Newbury seat.

In Newbury, the turnout was 72.3 per cent, down two per cent on the 2010 election.

For those of you who missed out on the live action overnight, you can check out our NewburyToday blogs for:

Newbury - http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/14482/Newbury-General-Election-results-and-reaction.html 

Reading West - http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/14485/General-Election---Reading-West.html 

North West Hampshire - http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/14489/LIVE---GENERAL-ELECTION-.html 

Elsewhere in Berkshire, Alok Sharma retained his Reading West seat with 23,082 votes beating Labour candidate Victoria Groulef into second place with 16,432 votes.

In his speech Mr Sharma said: "I thank everyone who voted for me and everyone who didn't as it's part of the democratic process and it's fantastic that we had so many people turn out to vote in this constituency.

"We have had a remarkable result across the country. Conservatives have been winning the length and breadth across the country and David Cameron is still our Prime Minister.

In North West Hampshire, Conservative candidate Kit Malthouse retained the party's seat previously held by Sir George Young.

He said he had been on a "fantastic journey" over the last few months and said he vowed to "do my best and serve these people to the best of my ability."

He thanked his "extraordinary" wife Juliana Farha for her support and added: "I would not be here without her."

Mr Malthouse won 32,052 votes.

In second place was UKIPs Sue Perkins with 8,109 votes, followed by Labour's Andrew Adams with 7,342 votes, Alex Payton (Liberal Democrat) with 5,151 votes and Dan Hill (Green Party) with 2,541 votes

The total turnout for North West Hampshire was 70 per cent.

For the full blog on North West Hampshire, visit http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/14489/LIVE---GENERAL-ELECTION-.html 

In Basingstoke, Maria Miller retained her seat for the Conservatives while in Devizes, Tory Claire Perry retained her set.

In Reading East, the Conservatives retained their seat with Rob Wilson receiving a majority of more than 6,000 over second placed candidate, Labour’s Matt Rodda. In total Mr Wilson polled 23,217 of the votes– a 46 per cent share - compared with Mr Rodda’s 16,697.

In third place was the Liberal Democrat’s Jenny Woods (3,719), which represented a 20 per cent fall in the share of the vote for the party compared with 2010. The Lib Dems were followed by UKIP’s Christine Forrester (3,647) and Green Party candidate Rob White on (3,214).

The turnout was 67.6 per cent.

The Conservatives have held on to their parliamentary seat for the constituency of Wantage with Ed Vaizey getting a huge majority of 21,749 which represented a 53.3 per cent share of the vote.

Labour’s Stephen Webb was second, polling 9,343 votes.

He was followed by Liberal Democrat Alex Meredith on 7,611, UKIP’s Lee Upcraft on 7,288 and The Green Party’s Kate Prendergast on 2,986.

The turnout for Wantage was 69.8 per cent.

At the start of what turned out to be a remarkable evening, Sunderland was the first to declare with Labour winning in Sunderland, Houghton and Sunderland south, Washington and Sunderland west.

Labour candidate Andrew Smith significantly increased his majority in Oxford East from 4,581 in 2010 to 15,280 this year, with a total of 25,356 votes.

It compared to 10,076 votes for Conservative, 5,890 for Greens, 5,453 for Liberal Democrats and 3,451 for UKIP.

Conservative Justin Tomlinson held onto his seat in North Swindon after receiving 50 per cent of the votes (26,295), followed by Labour's Mark Dempsey (28 per cent, 14,509), UKIP's James Faulkner (15 per cent, 8,011) and Green Party's Poppy Hebden-Leeder (3 per cent, 1,723).

Conservative Robert Buckland also held onto his seat in South Swindon with 22,777 votes (46 per cent).

Conservatives also hold seats in Wiltshire South West and Salisbury, and in North East Hampshire, Conservative Ranil Jayawardena won 66 per cent of the votes.

In Wokingham, the turnout is just over 72 per cent.

Exit polls are currently predicting Conservatives will win 316 seats, up by nine but still not a majority, with 239 Labour seats, down by 19, 58 seats for the Scottish National Party (SNP), 10 seats for the Liberal Democrats, down 47, four seats for Plaid Cymru, two for UKIP and two for The Green Party.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labour are said to have been most popular nationally among the poor and the young, and Conservatives among the rich and the old.

Speaking live from the count at Newbury Racecourse, Lib Dem candidate Judith Bunting told reporter Wil Walker: "I don't know whats going to happen. On the one hand people have been responding very positively on the street here and on the other hand with the national picture, of course we are worried."

She admitted that the West Berkshire Council would probably be Conservative led once votes are counted for local elections tomorrow and said that she would "absolutely" stand again for the Newbury seat if she is not elected tonight.

At the last election in 2010, the Conservatives won 307 seats, Labour 258, Lib Dems 57, Democratic Unionist Party 8, Scottish National Party 6, Sinn Fein 5, Plaid Cymru 3, Social Democratic and Labour Party 3, Alliance Party 1 and Greens 1.

Reading West candidate for The Green Party, Miriam Kennet, told NewburyToday on her party's chances nationally: "The Guardian had us on three per cent, which I think is wrong.

"We've had a huge surge of members.

"I was out in Tilehurst and people asking for a membership form but whether that translates into votes is another thing.

"We now have more members that UKIP and the Lib Dems put together.

"It's massive, there's something very big happening."

She also predicted that Caroline Lucas would hold onto Brighton Pavilion and that her party would win in Bristol.

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown, took to social media promising to "eat his hat" if the exit polls turned out to be right earlier this evening, prompting a flurry of similar tweets from politicians up and down the country.

Among them is Devizes Claire Perry who said: "If I win my seat I will eat a whole Marshalls Lardy cake. #ge2015".

Former Reading West Labour MP Martin Salter on the national picture from the Reading count: "I think the Conservatives led an overwhelmingly negative campaign and built up a bogey man of the SNP and in doing so strengthened the SNP position in Scotland, which of course is ironic for a Conservative and unionist party.

"All they've done is hasten the break up of the UK for short term political gain.

"No doubt there will be a Conservative led government of some disposition."

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