'It's something special' – Chorley's Lindsay Hoyle overjoyed after seventh general election victory

While the country was coming to terms with a significant parliamentary majority for the Conservatives, it was business as usual in Chorley as Sir Lindsay Hoyle was re-elected as the town's MP for a further five years.

The MP of more than two decades romped to victory with 26,831 votes, equating to a huge 67.3 per cent of the vote.

It was a somewhat different, almost muted, evening to usual, with this being the first time in 22 years that the Adlington-native headed to the polls without a Labour rosette pinned to his suit.

Following his recent election as the new Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay was on the ballot paper as just himself; the Speaker-elect.

Speaking after his victory, Sir Lindsay said: "I think tonight was about asking the people 'will you support me?' and the people of Chorley have come out. Thousands of people have decided to put their trust in me.

"Because it's not just how many people voted for me, it's the number of people and also the percentage of the vote that I've got.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP has been elected to represent Chorley for a seventh time (Image: JPIMedia)

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP has been elected to represent Chorley for a seventh time (Image: JPIMedia)

"These are beyond my wildest dreams when I first got elected. I never expected to ever get a result like tonight.

"When people say to me 'Lindsay, we're proud of what you've done, you're for Chorley, you are putting Chorley on the map', it's so kind.

"In this election people have been really kind and really supportive.

"I always questioned about my ability to win in 1997 and tonight was a new challenge because I was fighting as Speaker-elect and no longer for the Labour Party. So that in itself was something completely different.

Candidates gather moments before the Chorley general election result was announced (Image: JPIMedia)

Candidates gather moments before the Chorley general election result was announced (Image: JPIMedia)

"Friends and family all came round and rallied to make sure we got the result. I can't thank them enough.

"It is the people of Chorley who have put their trust in me. I thank them. Seven victories in a row. It's something special."

The Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats did not field candidates against him in line with parliamentary convention to not oppose the incumbent Speaker due to their non-political nature in the House of Commons.

His only challengers were Independent candidate Mark Brexit-Smith and the Green Party's James Melling.

Independent candidate Mark Brexit-Smith (Image: JPIMedia)

Independent candidate Mark Brexit-Smith (Image: JPIMedia)

But in reality neither of them were ever going to seriously challenge the former Mayor of Chorley's grasp on the historic market town.

Melling received 3,600 votes, something he described as "positive" as it was both an increase in votes cast and vote share compared to the 2017 general election.

Brexit-Smith gained a significant 9,439 votes, equating to 23.7 per cent of all votes cast, something he said he was "more than happy" with, adding: "It's more than I ever speculated we'd get."

He praised Sir Lindsay as the best person for the Speakership and wished him well in the role, but added that he thinks the role should be changed, saying: "Once elected as Speaker they should no longer be an MP for their constituency, but for the House of Commons."

In November, Brexit-Smith changed his surname by deed poll to include the word Brexit.

This came after he announced he was running as an Independent following the Brexit Party's decision to stand him down as their candidate, in line with convention.

He said: "I did this to give the people of Chorley a choice.

"In the Green Party we had a Remain choice, I provided the Leave side."

In comparison to 2017, around 16,000 voters decided to stay at home, with just 52.84 per cent of voters casting a ballot compared to 72.7 per cent two years ago.

The drop in voters impacted Sir Lindsay's overall votes, which fell by around 4,000 from 30,745 in 2017.

And of the 41,173 votes cast, a staggering 1,303 ballots were spoilt, with expletives written on some and extra, fake candidate boxes drawn on others.

Concerning the low turnout, Sir Lindsay said: "I actually thought it would be lower when you look at the weather conditions today. I was surprised and very pleased.

"It shows that people were willing to come out.

"Some said 'there's no need to vote, don't bother, he's not standing'.

"Whatever it was, all those mixed messages went out.

"But the people of Chorley said 'no', they want to re-elect me as their MP and that's what they've done tonight."

Prior to the count, Mr Brexit-Smith said that part of the reason for standing against Sir Lindsay was because of what he believes is a "democratic deficit" associated with the Speaker being unable to vote on matters brought before the House of Commons.

In reply to the claim, Sir Lindsay said: "That idea was lost tonight with the result that supported me.

"It's not what I have said, it's what the people of Chorley have said. They have spoken. The result speaks for itself."

RESULT

Lindsay HOYLE (Speaker seeking re-election) - 26,831 votes (67.3%)

Mark BREXIT-SMITH (Independent) - 9,439 votes (23.7%)

James MELLING (Green) - 3,600 votes (9%)

Total number of votes - 41,156

Rejected ballots - 1,303