Maynard holds key battleground of Blackpool North

Paul Maynard retains his Blackpool North and Cleveleys seat for the Conservatives
Paul Maynard retains his Blackpool North and Cleveleys seat for the Conservatives
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Tory Paul Maynard has retained his seat in the key battleground of Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Thanks to delays in the counting process, caused by a huge number of late postal votes being handed in at polling stations, candidates were left waiting until after 5.30am for the outcome.

But Mr Maynard won the seat with 17,508 votes, a majority of 3,340. Sam Rushworth (Labour) was second with 14,168. Sue Close (Lib Dem) polled 948, Simon Noble (UKIP) 5,823, John Warnock (Green) 889 and James Walsh (Northern Party) 57.

There were delays in counting the votes because it took longer than the Blackpool South area to transport ballot papers from across a wider area to the sports centre.

There were also 900 postal votes handed in on Thursday at polling stations across both constituencies which had to be verified on top of the usual polling station votes.

And in some areas officials had to carry out additional verification due to the number of ballot papers not correlating with the registers from the polling stations.

UKIP’s Simon Noble said: “There has been a lot of good feedback on the doorstep during our campaign, but we were faced with the challenge of growing the UKIP vote very dramatically and very quickly.

“We got a great reaction to our convoy when we drove through Blackpool for 12 hours on Wednesday.”

John Warnock of the Green Party said their presence in Blackpool was growing stronger despite the result.

He said: “In November we didn’t even think we could field any candidates, but we have grown to nearly 150 members in Blackpool.

“We are pleased we could give people the choice to vote Green and it’s our job now to grow and look at future elections, and we think we got our message across.”

Liberal Democrat Sue Close said she believed being part of a coalition with the Tories in government had affected the Lib Dem share of the vote.

But she added: “Hopefully people will realise the reason for going into the coalition was for the good of the country.”