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Conservatives seize Rossendale & Darwen
NEW Darwen and Rossendale MP Jake Berry said people ‘had shown they are ready for change’ after the Conservatives took the seat for the first time in 18 years.
With a 7.05 per cent swing to the Tories, Mr Berry polled 19,691 votes – 4,493 ahead of outgoing Labour MP Janet Anderson.
The seat was number 71 in the list of Conservative’s hit list and Mr Berry, a 31-year-old solicitor from Cheshire, thinks he managed to grab victory because ‘people are fed up with and feel let down by 13 years of the Labour Party'.
After only two hours sleep yesterday, Mr Berry got stuck into his first day’s work by visitng the local election counts in Rossendale and Blackburn with Darwen.
He said: “It’s a fantastic feeling of elation to represent the people of Rossendale and Darwen.
“I hope and believe that I will be working under a Conservative Government though at this stage, things are still unsure.
“What we all have in mind is working in the best interests of the people, even if that ends up as part of a coalition.”
He added: “I think we have done well because people were fed up and felt let down by 13 years of the Labour Party.
“People are upset at record levels of youth unemployment and the deepest recession since the 1930s.
“People have voted for change, for a fresh start, and for youth.
“I want to reassure people that now I am MP I am committed 100 per cent to health, education and getting the economy moving again.”
Mrs Anderson, who was the constituency’s longest-serving member in its 27-year history, remained upbeat despite her loss.
She said: “Of course I’m disappointed, but it’s been a huge privilege to have served Rossendale and Darwen for 18 years.
“I always knew this would be a fight, and we have campaigned hard, but the people have spoken and it is now for Jake Berry to continue all the good work Labour has done in this constituency.
“I really hope that he will work for hard-working families and maintain the excellent Sure Start scheme.”
Other candidates made a swift exit from the count after the results were announced.
English Democrat candidate Michael Johnson said the priministerial television debates delivered ‘a fatal blow to democracy’.
He said they had “made this a three-way race and everyone else has not been given a look-in.”
Turnout at 78.24 per cent – up 10 per cent on 2005. This is not a record high, however.
That still stands at 83.1 per cent set in 1992 when Anderson narrowly defeated David Trippier by 120 votes.
JANET Anderson looked extremely precarious in a seat that straddles two councils, neither of which is any longer Labour-controlled.
When you added the national opinion poll forecasts to controversy over her own expenses claims it would have been a big surprise if she had won.
In fact the seat she had held for 18 years now looks comfortably Conservative.
Labour cannot complain about turnout either. It was up ten per cent on 2005 but that didn’t help.