Bristol stays red as the country turns blue


By Benjamin Salmon, Deputy News Editor and Imogen Horton, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Having stayed up throughout the night awaiting the declarations, Epigram's election team reflects on the results for Bristol.

Declaration after declaration came and the country's political map turned into a sea of blue, confirming what the exit polls had predicted: a clear majority for Boris Johnson's Conservatives.

Despite Labour's disastrous national performance, Bristol clung onto its position as a Labour stronghold with Bristol North West, Bristol West, Bristol East and Bristol South returning Labour MPs.

Bristol West

In Bristol West, the constituency where the main University of Bristol campus is located, Thangam Debbonaire exceeded expectations by retaining the seat with 62.3% of the vote.

Labour's Debbonaire fought off a challenge from the Green Party’s Carla Denyer, who managed 24.9%, doubling the Green vote in the constituency.

Debbonaire paid tribute to the other candidates in her victory speech, including Denyer, who was visibly deflated at the loss.

The turnout for Bristol West was 76.1% – nearly identical to the 2017 election.

Thangam Debbonaire has held Bristol West since 2015 when she beat the Liberal Democrat incumbent, Stephen Williams.

Bristol East

The Bristol East constituency, which includes the areas of St George, Eastville and Brislington, was held by Labour’s Kerry McCarthy with a comfortable majority of nearly 11,000 votes over the Conservative challenger Sarah Codling.

However, this was a fall in the Labour vote of nearly 8% – identical to the national swing away from Labour.

Kerry McCarthy, though saddened by the national picture for the Labour Party, was delighted with her own result and planned to enjoy some gin with her staff to celebrate.

McCarthy has been the Bristol East MP since 2005 while the seat itself has been Labour-held since 1992.

Bristol North West

With BBC exit polls suggesting that there was a 45% chance the Conservative candidate Mark Weston would take the seat from incumbent Labour MP Darren Jones, Bristol North West was the Conservatives best shot at a seat in the red city.

Having been a Conservative seat in 2010 and 2015, and with Tory wins across Labour heartlands such as Blyth Valley being announced early on, there was a real feeling that Bristol North West could be another loss for Corbyn's party.

The Conservative candidate for the 2020 Bristol Mayoral elections, Samuel Williams, said that he was feeling 'really positive' and that there 'was still all to play for' early on in the night.

Even when Darren Jones arrived there was an air of uncertainty over the result, the incumbent MP saying that it was too early to say whether he was feeling confident.

However like many other constituencies in Bristol the hope of toppling the Labour majority was fruitless.

Darren Jones kept the seat with 48.9% of the vote, his vote share only dropping by 1.7% from 2017.

While the Conservative party took a 3.1% drop in their vote share, the Liberal Democrats increased theirs by 3.3% and Greens by 1.2%.

In his speech, Jones thanked all those who had voted for him, including Conservative Remainers, and said the Labour needed to be 'honest about why we suffered such a historic loss and failed many of my constituents and many people across the country'.

Featured image credit: Epigram / Imogen Horton

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