General Election 2019: Rosie Duffield increases Labour majority in Canterbury

Image courtesy of Rosie Duffield | Facebook

Labour’s Rosie Duffield has won a second term as the Member of Parliament for Canterbury, Whitstable and surrounding villages.

The Kent constituency was the second-most marginal seat in the Meridian region before the general election, under 2% with a majority of just 187.

However, against the odds of a Conservative gain, Ms Duffield was re-elected with 29,018 votes, increasing her majority to 1,836.

The 48-year-old saw off competition from Tory Brexiteer and Sevenoaks councillor, Anna Firth, who polled 27,182 votes.

An Ipsos/MORI exit poll, in collaboration with BBC/ITV/SKY, erroneously predicted that the Conservatives had an 88% chance of winning the seat it previously held since World War One.

The Liberal Democrats’ Claire Malcolmson – sworn in last-minute after former journalist Tim Walker stood down for fear of dividing the remain vote– got 3,408 votes.

Independent candidate Michael Gould lost his candidacy deposit by getting 505 votes.

The number of rejected papers was 240.

“We’ve bucked the national trend here once again.”

Duffield, a former teaching assistant and part-time satirical writer, defeated Sir Julian Brazier in 2017, making her the first non-Conservative Member of Parliament to represent Canterbury since the constituency’s reformulation in 1885.

After being declared the first MP overnight in the South East, Duffield rejoiced in delight saying she was “absolutely thrilled, we've bucked the national trend here once again” and that she was excited “to keep the best job in the world."

She added: "Thank you very much to my team who have had a very difficult year and do an amazing job. Thank you very much for the other candidates who have all been really lovely and very polite. I've enjoyed all our debates. There's no way I can thank all those that have volunteered enough. Canterbury is the best place in the world."

The city remains the only seat in the Kent county not to be held by the Conservatives.

National turnout decreased from the previous contest 2 years ago to 67%. Meanwhile, the turnout in Canterbury was 76% in what appears to be part of the so-called #YouthQuake. On polling day, students lined up in their droves on campus to cast their ballot in the Senate, with Kent Union handing out doughnuts and coffee to those waiting outside the cold weather.

“Terribly sad picture nationally.”

The Conservative Party won the general election with 364 seats, an gain on 2017’s result of 47 and a majority of 78. The party now has more MPs than any of the other parties put together. The result marks the greatest Conservative landslide since 1987 under the premiership of Margret Thatcher.

Boris Johnson will remain as Prime Minister with an increased mandate in the House of Commons to leave the European Union and deliver on its manifesto promises.

Labour have lost 59 seats, down to 203, the worst result the party has had since 1935 under the leadership of Clement Attlee.

Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will now be using this time as a period of reflection and that he will step down as Labour leader before the next election.

"I've lost some good friends tonight, from Parliament. And that is devastating,” Duffield told KMTV.

“Both of the leaders had really bad feedback, if I'm honest, on the doorsteps. It's that, and there's loads of other issues. But we definitely need to look again at what went wrong, and I can't analyse that now, but we will be doing so in the next few days.”

She added that it was "way too early" to be asked who she would tip to be the next party leader.

Full results of Canterbury constituency:

Labour: 29,018

Conservatives: 27,182

Liberal Democrats: 3,408

Independent: 505