Upsets include defeat for man who beat Portillo

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Indy Politics

Stephen Twigg became one of Labour's ministerial casualties when he lost Enfield Southgate to the Tories.

Mr Twigg may have risen to become Minister of State for Education, but he will always be remembered as the man who toppled Michael Portillo.

His shock win over the former Tory defence secretary in Enfield Southgate in 1997 was the iconic moment of that election.

It spawned a book - Were You Up For Portillo? - and the beaming face of Mr Twigg became synonymous with Labour's landslide victory.

But tonight, eight years after that famous victory, he lost to Conservative candidate David Burrowes by 1,747 votes.

Mr Twigg, 38, had enjoyed a meteoric rise after joining the Labour Party at the age of 15.

In December last year he was promoted to Minister of State for Education as Prime Minister Tony Blair filled gaps created by David Blunkett's resignation as Home Secretary.

In other upsets for Labour, perhaps the most symbolic downfall was that of Oona King to former Labour MP George Galloway, whose recently-formed Respect party stood on an anti-Iraq war ticket in Bethnal Green and Bow.

The junior constituional affairs minister Christopher Leslie also lost his seat in Shipley as did health minister Melanie Johnson who saw Conservatives win a majority of more than 5,000 in Welwyn Hatfield.

Ms Johnson, who took the seat from the Conservatives in 1997 and was defending a majority of 1,196, admitted: "To be honest, I didn't expect to win."

The former minister Barbara Roche lost to a Liberal Democrat in Hornsey and Wood Green with a significant 14.57% swing from Labour.

Ms Roche stepped down from a ministerial role in 2003, after time in the Department of Trade and Industry, Treasury and Home Office.

In Blaenau Gwent, a rebel candidate recorded a dramatic victory standing as an Independent in one of Labour's safest seats.

Peter Law quit Labour last month in protest at all-women shortlists, and today overturned the party's majority of almost 20,000.

In Putney, Tory Justine Greening achieved a 1,766 majority (6% swing) over outgoing Labour MP Tony Colman, who was Parliamentary Private Secretary to then Northern Ireland minister Adam Ingram from February 1998 to December 1999.