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The biggest casualties of the general election, from Jo Swinson and Chuka Umunna to Dennis Skinner

Several former ministers suffer defeat, as well as every single centrist politician who had defected from the two main parties

Jon Sharman
Friday 13 December 2019 10:46 GMT
General Election: Tories remove Dennis Skinner from Bolsover seat

The general election has seen a string of big names humbled – from Jo Swinson to Dennis Skinner – as Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won its biggest majority since 1987.

A focus on Brexit saw a swath of Labour’s heartland turn blue, at least for now.

In his victory speech the PM thanked voters who might not be “natural” Tories for “putting your trust in me”, in a major rhetorical push towards national unity.

Several former ministers went down to defeat overnight, as well as every single centrist politician who had defected from the two main parties.

Here The Independent rounds up the biggest casualties.

Jo Swinson

The Liberal Democrat leader’s previous claims to be “the next prime minister” were brutally exposed as she was deposed by the SNP in Dunbartonshire East – by a slim margin of just 149 votes.

Swinson will no longer lead her party, which has appointed her deputy Sir Ed Davey and president Baroness Sal Brinton as joint leaders.

“I am proud that in this campaign, the Liberal Democrats have stood up for openness, generosity and hope. We were honest about what we believe in and what we were trying to achieve,” Swinson said after her defeat.

Dennis Skinner

The Beast of Bolsover lost his seat to Tory Mark Fletcher, seeing the constituency slip from Labour’s hands for the first time since 1950.

Veteran left-winger Skinner, 87, is known for his boisterous interjections in the Commons. Having been an MP since 1970 he was due to replace Ken Clarke as father of the House until his defeat on Thursday night.

The Remainer former attorney general stood as an independent in Beaconsfield, but lost to his Conservative opponent by more than 15,000 votes. Grieve was shorn of the Tory whip for rebelling against Boris Johnson in the Commons over plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Nigel Dodds

The deputy DUP leader, its top man in Westminster, lost out to Sinn Fein’s John Finucane in North Belfast. It was a torrid night for the party, who lost two of the 10 MPs with whom it entered the election – meaning that there are now more nationalists than unionists representing Northern Ireland.

Caroline Flint

The Labour veteran failed to make it seven election victories in a row on Thursday, losing the Don Valley constituency to the Conservatives. It is the first time since 1922 that voters there have not returned a Labour MP.

Zac Goldsmith

The former London mayoral candidate, whose Richmond Park and North Kingston seat has flipped between the Tories and Lib Dems in recent years, was ousted by Sarah Olney who had previously won in 2016.

Environmentalist Goldsmith was widely criticised for the negative tone of his subsequent campaign against the eventual London mayoral winner Sadiq Khan, before he won back his seat in 2017’s snap election by a mere 45 votes.

Following her victory Olney now enjoys a 7,766-vote majority.

Laura Pidcock

The rising star, a Labour frontbencher covering employment rights, lost her Durham North West seat to the Tories amid what Boris Johnson described as a political “earthquake” across the UK.

David Gauke

The former justice secretary, like Grieve, was booted out of the Conservatives for his attempt to block a no-deal Brexit earlier this year. Also like Grieve, his bid to serve as an independent saw him soundly beaten by his former party.

Chuka Umunna

The former Labour man, who left the party to join Change UK and later defected from that group to join the Lib Dems, failed in his bid to beat the Conservatives in Cities of London and Westminster.

General election 2019: Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street

Luciana Berger

After ditching Labour over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of institutional antisemitism, Berger co-founded the Independent Group but later defected to the Lib Dems. Changing her target seat from Liverpool Wavertree to Finchley and Golders Green failed to pay off, however, as she trailed her Conservative opponent Mike Freer.

Anna Soubry

The strongly pro-Remain leader of The Independent Group for Change finished a distant third in Broxtowe after relinquishing her Tory status.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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