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Video - reaction from Stratford’s new MP Manuela Perteghella

“IT feels wonderful,” the new MP for Stratford-on-Avon said after claiming a historical win for the Liberal Democrats in the general election.

Manuela Perteghella, in a video interview with the Herald just a few minutes after hearing she had secured the seat with 23,450 votes, said a lot of hard work had gone into the campaign but added that it was “the right time for the people of Stratford to say we want to do something different”.

Her victory was a double first for this constituency – the first Liberal Democrat win since the seat was established in 1950, and the first female MP for the constituency.

It was a huge achievement for the Lib Dems, which it can be argued was down to a number of factors. There was the hard work behind the campaign; the fallout from the negativity from the previous Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi; the electorate wanting a ‘local’ representative to be their voice in Parliament; and, of course, the Reform UK factor.

Celebrating the Lib Dem win. Photo: Mark Williamson
Celebrating the Lib Dem win. Photo: Mark Williamson

While Chris Clarkson won 16,328 votes for the Conservatives, James Crocker amassed an impressive 7,753 votes for Reform UK. What those two tallies add up to is probably an election night recount. It could have been 24,081 votes against the Lib Dem’s 23,450.

Even if the Conservatives had won all the Reform votes (which we know would have been unlikely), it would have still been a huge drop on the 2019 result when Mr Zahawi won with 33,343 – that was 60 per cent of the vote.

Mr Clarkson won 30.8 per cent compared with the Lib Dem’s 44.3 per cent and Reform’s 14.6 per cent.

Election night ... Conservative candidate Chris Clarkson at the Stratford-on-Avon count. Photo: Mark Williamson
Election night ... Conservative candidate Chris Clarkson at the Stratford-on-Avon count. Photo: Mark Williamson

Labour will be disappointed with their showing in Stratford. Seyi Agboola received 3,753 votes, 7.1 per cent. In 2019 the share was over 10 per cent.

While huge chunks of the country voted Labour, the tactical voting campaigners put their money on the Lib Dems in Stratford, urging people to back the yellows as that was the party which would beat the Conservatives.

The Green Party, despite not campaigning in the constituency, got 2.3 per cent of the vote (1,197) with a paper candidate based in Staffordshire, Doug Rouxel. The original candidate stepped aside before close of nominations to avoid splitting the vote.

Former Stratford mayor, Kevin Taylor, ended his first foray into national politics with 292 votes. Standing as an Independent, Mr Taylor lacked the campaign funds of the established parties to push his message across the constituency.

Finally, Neil O’Neil, of New Open Non-Political Organised Leadership (NONPOL) received 166 votes.

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