Conservatives hold South Ribble

Conservative Seema Kennedy has held South Ribble - after overcoming a scare.

Friday, 9th June 2017, 4:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 3:56 pm
Tories celebrate victory in South Ribble

The Tory even increased her majority.

But just an hour or so before the result was announced the candidate and her anxious supporters waited nervously as exit polls suggested there could be a shock on the cards.

Mrs Kennedy polled 28,980 votes, a majority 7,421, beating Labour’s Julie Gibson, who was runner up with 21,559.

In her victory speech, she paid special tribute to the families of Georgina Callander and Saffie Rose Roussos, who died in the Manchester bombings, and said she “held the families in her heart at this time.”

She said: “I can promise all of you in South Ribble, whether you voted for me or not, that I will always work hard and do my best.

“It is the greatest honour of my life to represent South Ribble - the UK’s best place to live.”

She also thanked returning officer, Jean Hunter, poll station staff and everyone at the count - held at the South Ribble Tennis Centre in Bamber Bridge.

She added that the election had run very smoothly, which was a tribute to the hard work of staff at South Ribble. She also thanked her fellow candidates, for a “clean fight”.

Afterwards she said: “I’m overwhelmed. I never expected to increase my majority. It’s really testament to the hard work of all my volunteers. We ran a good campaign. The team together have a good track record.”

She said during the local campaign the message coming across was that people did not want Jeremy Corbyn as the next Prime Minister.

Labour’s Julie Gibson said: “Obviously I’m disappointed. We fought a very good campaign, all of the candidates whenever we met.

“I came in really just thinking we’re here, we fought a good campaign we’ve got to the final hurdles, if we didn’t win I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Voter turnout was 72.51 per cent - up significantly from 68.69% at the last General Election in 2015.

Mrs Kennedy won the seat with a majority of 5,945 in the 2015 General Election. She received 24,313 votes.

Labour’s Veronica Bennett was runner up with 18,368.

The South Ribble constituency had been represented since 2010 by Conservative MP Lorraine Fullbrook.

Before that, Labour MP David Borrow held the seat for the 13 years from 1997 to 2010.

Blackburn-born Mrs Kennedy grew up in Iran and the Ribble Valley.

She worked as a solicitor and in her family’s property business in Preston, before being elected as South Ribble’s MP.

Since her election she was made vice-chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council and is Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission.