Conservatives win both Blackpool seats

The Blackpool count
The Blackpool count
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There was triumph for the Tories in Blackpool as the Conservatives took Blackpool South from Labour and increased their majority in Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Scott Benton defeated Labour's Gordon Marsden in Blackpool South, with a majority of 3,690, while Paul Maynard held onto Blackpool North and Cleveleys while increasing his majority to 8,596 from 2,023 in 2017.

For Mr Marsden the result meant the end of his 22 years representing the town in Parliament following his election in 1997 when he became the first ever Labour MP to win the seat.

None of the other parties came close to the main two with Brexit being a key issue for voters.

But both newly elected MPs said their main priority would also be building the economy of Blackpool during the next term of office.

Mr Benton thanked Mr Marsden for his service to the town, and said many people had voted Conservative for the first time "not just because of Brexit" but because of his party's strong economic record.

He pledged to be a "full-time MP" and that his election was "a victory for the decent, hardworking and patriotic people of Blackpool."

Mr Benton said he would work towards re-opening Blackpool Airport to commercial passenger traffic which he had put at the forefront of his campaign.

Mr Marsden said it had been a "huge privilege" to represent Blackpool for 22 years as its MP.

He said: "I am proud also to have made a contribution to this town and its regeneration and that includes the Tower, Winter Gardens, tramway and SureStart.

"This result tonight is a reflection of the national situation and that is something Labour will have to reflect on.

"But I also want to make the point that Blackpool is a fantastic town and not somewhere drawn up anonymously by the Boundary Commission."

Mr Maynard said feedback in Blackpool North and Cleveleys had shown people wanted the best MP who understood the community.

He said: "We have to get Brexit done but there are many more issues facing us."

These included tackling poverty and improving transport links based on the tramway and light rail.

Although there was little joy for the smaller parties, Gary Coleman who stood as an Independent in Blackpool South said the result had not deterred him.

He said: "We have certainly given the electorate further choice.

"We are aware of the national picture and are fully conscious of the fact there has been a squeeze on the smaller parties, certainly in Blackpool."

Results

Blackpool South - turnout 56.9%

Scott Benton (Con) 16,247

David Brown (Brexit) 2,009

Gary Coleman (Independent) 368

Becky Daniels (Green Party) 563

Bill Greene (Lib Dem) 1,008

Gordon Marsden (Lab) 12,557

Blackpool North and Cleveleys - turnout 61.1%

Sue Close (Lib Dem) 1,494

Neil Holden (Independent) 443

Paul Maynard (Con) 22,364

Duncan Royle (Green Party) 735

Chris Webb (Lab) 13,768