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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Election 2019: What the Conservative victory means for Nottinghamshire

Every single seat outside the city was won or held by the Conservatives, increasing their vote share across the board.

FIRST PUBLISHED

It’s hard to overestimate the scale of the Conservatives’ victory in Nottinghamshire.

The former coal-mining Labour heartlands, firmly working-class and heavily Brexit leaning, have become safe Conservative seats overnight.

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The electoral map of Nottinghamshire now shows an enclave of red in the city, and a sea of blue surrounding it.

Every single seat outside the city was won or held by the Conservatives, increasing their vote share across the board.

In seats where the Conservatives would barely have bothered in previous years, their candidates romped home, leaving Labour with a huge task on their hands to turn them around next time.

In Bassetlaw, a seat held by Labour since before the Second World War – usually with huge majorities – the Conservatives won a majority of more than 14,000.

Vernon Coaker, the Labour MP for Gedling for 22 years, lost his seat.

In Ashfield, Labour was well-beaten into third place.

Mansfield, which until 2017 had been red for as long as anyone can remember, is now a very safe Conservative seat.

Even Broxtowe, one of Labour’s key target seats, fell easily to the Conservatives in the end.

As the scale of the losses became clear, there were tears at counts from Labour activists and candidates across the county, as even the safer seats fell to the Conservatives.

The two MPs who left their parties in February to join the Independent Group for Change – Anna Soubry in Broxtowe and Chris Leslie in Nottingham East – both lost their seats.

But despite the results in the county, the city stayed firmly red. In Nottingham South and Nottingham East, while the Labour vote was down the Conservative vote was too, and the party still has healthy majorities in both.

In Nottingham North, however, the lead narrowed considerably. Labour’s Alex Norris held the seat, despite the Conservative advances.

Lilian Greenwood, who remains the Labour MP for Nottingham, described the night as ‘devastating’ for her party.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “You won’t be surprised to hear me say while I’m absolutely delighted to be re-elected to represent our city in Parliament, tonight’s results are devastating for the Labour Party.

“Many of my friends and colleagues who’ve worked hard and with great integrity have lost their seats.

“Labour must reflect and rebuild and offer a real alternative and I intend to be part of that process.”

As the Labour soul-searching begins in earnest, even Conservatives admitted the scale of the victory surprised them.

Darren Henry, the former RAF man turned Broxtowe MP, admitted he was ‘shocked’ at how well he and his party had done.

For him, Brexit was by far the biggest reason people turned away from Labour.

Asked whether he thought Brexit or Corbyn had been a bigger factor in voters moving away from Labour, Mr Henry said: “Brexit. Definitely Brexit. It’s all about not having a narrative over the last few years.

“I spoke to people on the doorsteps who were Remainers and were upset that Parliament was frustrating the will of the people. They just want it done.”

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

RESULTS

Ashfield: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Gain

Bassetlaw: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Gain

Broxtowe: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Gain

Gedling: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Gain

Mansfield: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Hold

Newark: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Hold

Nottingham North: General Election results – LABOUR Hold

Nottingham South: General Election results – LABOUR hold

Nottingham East: General Election results – LABOUR Hold

Rushcliffe: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Hold

Sherwood: General Election results – CONSERVATIVE Hold

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