General election: Early wins for Labour followed by hammer-blow loss of Blyth Valley stronghold

Former mining seat falls into Conservative hands for the first time since its establishment in 1950

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Friday 13 December 2019 00:31
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General Election: Newcastle won by Labour in first result of the night

Labour won the first seat to be declared in the 12 December general election, with Chi Onwurah taking Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central with 21,568 votes to her Conservative rival’s 9,290.

Ms Onwurah’s victory was swiftly followed by success for Labour’s Bridget Phillipson in Houghton and Sunderland South.

But both seats saw a steep decline in Labour’s margin of victory since 2017, and the declarations were swiftly followed by the hammer-blow of the first Consrvative gain – the former mining seat of Blyth Valley in Northumberland.

Labour seat since its creation in 1950, the capture of Blyth Valley is a spectacular signal of the deep incursions Conservatives are making into traditional Labour strongholds. It had been held since 1987 by former miner Ronnie Campbell, who stood down from parliament at this election.

Blyth Valley victor Ian Levy described his victory as a “massive, massive honour”.

NHS worker Mr Levy said: “I would like to thank Boris, because I’m going to be on that train on Monday, I’m going to London, we’re going to get Brexit done and we’re going to build a strong economy for the UK and we are going to do that together.”

Ms Onwurah’s 12,278 margin of victory was down from 14,937 two years ago.

And the 3,115 majority for Ms Phillipson – a prominent Labour Remainer – was around a quarter of her 12,341 margin of victory in 2017

In the few moments before the Blyth Valley bombshell, Ms Onwurah joked: “For the moment the entire UK parliament is Labour.”

The Brexit Party took third place in Houghton and Sunderland South with 6,165 votes.

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