WORCESTER has returned Robin Walker to Westminster for a further five years but the Conservative MP saw his majority slashed in half on a dramatic night in the Faithful City.
A stunning surge in the Labour vote saw Joy Squires come within 2,490 votes of pulling off a shock victory despite Mr Walker recorded his best ever result for the party in Worcester.
Voters across the city also snubbed the other parties as Mr Walker and Coun Squires polled a combined 46,954 of the 51,529 votes cast across Worcester.
Mr Walker will continue to represent Worcester after polling 24,371 votes, up 2,197 from two years ago.
“When this campaign started one of my targets was to increase my personal vote and the party’s vote in the city and I am delighted to have achieved that and also to see the highest Conservative vote we have ever had under the current boundaries,” he said.
“We have seen a decline in the smaller parties with their votes passing to both us and the Labour Party and that makes Worcester which has always been a bell-weather seat even more hotly contested.
Mr Walker refuted suggestions the Tories had failed to secure a commanding majority in Worcester and said no party would ever be able to treat it as a ‘safe seat’.
“In its lifetime since 1997, Worcester had been held by the Labour Party for 13 years and the Conservative Party for seven years and I am delighted to have won it for the third time with an increased vote at every election,” he said.
“I’ve always thought Worcester folk were good at keeping their MP on their toes, they ask difficult questions, they challenge you on the doorstep and we have a lively and vibrant democracy in our city.
Coun Squires said she was delighted after winning 22,223 votes, an increase of 5,335 votes from 2015.
“I hoped to give a good a show as possible but to arrive here tonight thinking we might have actually won was quite incredible,” she said.
“We are a key marginal right up there now for the taking at the next General Election which might come sooner rather than later.
“We are thrilled to have got so close, we ran a good campaign with a positive message of hope which people have responded to.
Coun Squires said the party’s manifesto had boosted her hopes in the city with its ‘clear focus’ on public services and getting investment into the NHS and schools.
“The Tories had absolutely nothing to say, I think that accounts for their poor showing across the country,” she said.
Stephen Kearney finished third for the Liberal Democrats with 1,757 votes while UKIPs Paul Hickling finished fourth with 1,354 votes.
Labour’s surge appeared to harm the Green Party as Louis Stephen’s hopes of a third place finish were smashed with just 1,211 votes while Independent Alex Rugg and Compass Party Mark Shuker polled 109 and 38 votes respectively.
WORCESTER’S RESULT IN FULL
Robin Walker (Conservative) 24,371
Joy Squires (Labour) 22,223
Stephen Kearney (Lib Dem) 1,757
Paul Hickling (UKIP) 1,354
Louis Stephen (Green) 1,211
Alex Rugg (Independent) 109
Mark Shuker (Compass) 38
Turnout – 69.9 per cent with 51,529 votes cast