General Election 2010

Speaker John Bercow fends off Nigel Farage

 

House of Commons speaker John Bercow has held his seat in Buckingham, beating off a challenge by Ukip's Nigel Farage.

Mr Farage, who was injured in a light plane crash in Northamptonshire yesterday, was pushed into third place in the contest.

He is still being treated in hospital and was unable to attend the count at Aylesbury Civic Centre in Buckinghamshire.

Mr Bercow, accompanied by wife Sally for the announcement, has been the MP for the area since 1997.

He polled 22,860 votes, a majority of more than 12,000.

Independent candidate John Stevens, standing under the title of Buckingham Campaign for Democracy, was second with 10,331 votes.

Mr Farage was third with 8,401 votes.

Mr Farage, who is expected to be released from hospital early next week, was represented by his election agent Dave Fowler.

Taking to the stage after the result, Mr Fowler said Mr Farage was "chomping at the bit" and asking for a cigarette from his bed at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

He said on Mr Farage's behalf: "I assure Ukip voters and supporters that although we have lost this battle, the war carries on."

The MEP had given up his presidency of the party to stand against Mr Bercow.

His spokesman Duncan Barkes said he had been watching events unfold on television.

He also revealed his first words upon escaping the plane wreckage were: "Bloody hell, what happened?".

Although in shock in the immediate aftermath of the crash, in which he suffered two broken ribs, a chipped spine and damaged sternum, he had recovered sufficiently to ask for a gin and tonic by 6pm.

The plane, towing an election banner, had been in the air for nearly 15 minutes and was preparing to land when it nose-dived and hit the ground.

It is thought the banner may have become tangled up in the plane's tail fin, causing the crash. Northamptonshire Police are investigating.

Mr Bercow expressed his sympathy as to Mr Farage's plight as he entered the civic centre ahead of the announcement.

He said he was "concerned" to learn of the terrible accident, at Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield near Brackley, and added: "I wish him and his pilot full and speedy recoveries."

A total of 11 candidates contested the constituency, but none, as is tradition, from the main parties because of Mr Bercow's position as speaker.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Bercow said he recognised many of his constituents were angered by being unable to vote for their parties. He noted the high number of spoiled ballot papers, with 1,067 out of 49,402 rejected.

He said: "None of us fighting the campaign can be unaware or insensitive to the very, very large numbers of people across the constituency who have expressed surprise, confusion or plain discontent at being unable to vote for candidates of the major parties.

"It's not for me today to say what needs to be done about that. But what I said to people on the doorsteps I repeat now. I will, on behalf of all of those people and your candidates, report to the House of Commons the views that have been expressed and invite the House to consider what approach should be considered in the future."

Speaking to reporters after leaving the stage, he said it was too early to speculate on how his role as Speaker could be affected by there being a hung parliament.

He said: "I simply don't want to get into any of that. My responsibility is to effectively represent the people of Buckingham."

His wife had been one of the first he thanked upon being re-elected, and she stood applauding in front of the stage as she listened to him speak.

He said: "She is fairly widely known as not exactly being an identikit political wife but I thank her warmly for that moral support and indeed for her vote yesterday."

The Speaker entered the election with a majority of 18,000, having last won the seat in 2005 as a Conservative candidate.

Mr Bercow would not be drawn on the wider implications of presiding over debates in a hung parliament, which could see him exercising his casting vote more often.

He said: "The role of the Speaker is to chair the House of Commons. The question of wider constitutional issues is not a matter for me."

He thanked supporters for returning him with a "handsome majority" and said it had, on the whole, been "a good campaign". He singled out Mr Farage for conducting an "upright" fight against him.

Mr Bercow, and the 10 other candidates, seemed particularly amused by the speech from the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate Colin Dale-Mills, who claimed it was the best ever result for his party.

Mr Dale-Mills, 71, said he was overjoyed with polling 856 votes, adding to laughter from the Speaker: "I don't know about you lot, but I've had a whale of a time."

After leaving the civic centre, Mr Bercow went to a nearby bar where he was congratulated by his supporters.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'