KATE Hollern swept back as MP for Blackburn in the early hours of yesterday with only a small dent in her majority.

The constituency bucked the national and local political trend as she secured a comfortable win.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs Hollern, who was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Parliamentary Private Secretary, said she was ‘humbled and honoured’ to be re-elected and pledged to fight inequality.

She said the national result was ‘disappointing’ and that Labour would have to reflect on what had gone wrong.

Mrs Hollern secured 29,040 votes to Conservative rival Claire Gill’s 10,736 giving her a majority of 18,304 down on 2017’s 20,368.

Both main parties saw their actual totals decline on 2017 as turnout fell from 67.2 per cent to 62.9.
Mrs Gill praised the ‘wonderful people of Blackburn’ despite her defeat but said she would be celebrating her party’s national success ‘with a glass of champagne’.

Brexit Party candidate Rick Moore was best of the rest coming third with 2,770 votes and keeping his deposit.

Liberal Democrat candidate Beth Waller-Slack came fourth with 1,130 votes leaving Green Dr Reza Hossain and Independent Rizwan Shah trailing in with 741 and 319 votes respectively.

Mrs Hollern said afterwards: “I am very pleased to be re-elected as MP for Blackburn despite the results elsewhere.

“I am very proud of all the people in Blackburn Labour Party who worked so hard for this victory.

“We withstood everything that was thrown at us.

“I am humbled and promise to work hard for my constituents in what will be difficult times ahead.

“We are now a very divided country and I will seek to heal divisions and protect the vulnerable and our National Health Service.”

She refused to be drawn on what would happen next as Mr Corbyn confirmed he would not lead Labour at the next election.

She said: “It is too early for that discussions. We need to go away and reflect on what happened in this campaign before we decide how to go forward.”

Mrs Gill said: “I knew it was going to be a difficult gig when I accepted the nomination for Blackburn.

“I have enjoyed the campaign. The people of Blackburn are wonderful.

“I am pleased that we cut Labour’s majority.

“Before I decide whether to stand again here or anywhere else I need to reflect on what I have learned.

“I am looking forward to Prime Minister Boris Johnson going back into Number Ten Downing Street.”

Mr Moore said: “We gave it everything we could. 

“I am pleased to have kept my £300 deposit with 6.2 per cent of the vote, well above the five per cent threshold.

“We did not split the Leave vote and keep Labour in. The Brexit Party and Conservative vote together would not have defeated Labour.”

Mrs Waller-Slack said: “I am pleased we almost doubled the Liberal Democrat vote from 709 last time round.

“We now need to work with the community in Blackburn so we can increase that vote again at the next election.

“I shall be playing my part in that work.”

Green Party agent Robin Field said he wad ‘disappointed’ with the party’s showing.

General Election result: Kate Hollern, Labour - 29,040; Claire Gill, Conservative - 10,736; Rick Moore, Brexit Party - 2,770; Reza Hossain, Green Party - 741; Rizwan Shah - Independent - 319. Majority 18,304. Turnout 62.9 per cent.