Election 2017: Conservative Stephen McPartland holds Stevenage but his majority is slashed
- Credit: Archant
Conservative candidate Stephen McPartland has held onto his majority in Stevenage, but it has been slashed significantly.
Mr McPartland who has been the town’s MP since 2010, won the seat gaining 24,798 votes and secured a majority of 3,384, much less than his majority of 4,955 in 2010. However Mr McPartland took 50.3 per cent of the vote overall, the first time he has gained more than 50 per cent and increased his share of the vote by 5.5 per cent.
Despite a buoyant campaign and a number of strong appearances at election hustings, Labour candidate Sharon Taylor came in second with 21,414 votes, a vastly better performance than 2015 when she secured 16,336. She increased her share of the vote by 9.2 per cent from 2015.
Barbara Gibson for the Liberal Democrats secured 2,032 votes and Victoria Snelling for the Green Party gained 1,085 votes.
The turnout was an impressive 69.9 per cent with 49,468 people casting their votes.
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The postal votes played a large part in Stevenages with two fifths of the electorate voting by post.
The seat reflected the erosion of large Tory majorities in many parts of the UK overnight.
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Speaking to the Comet after his victory, Mr McPartland said: “I’m really proud to have won for the third time and it’s incredibly humbling to have won more than 50 per cent of the vote.
“We were optimistic all the way through, we knew that we were going to be getting far more votes, there were a huge amount of people wishing me well.”
Mr McPartland said people had responded to his policies such as providing more housing, widening the A1 and investing in the Lister Hospital.
He said he would continue to fight for his own plan to regenerate Stevenage town centre which he said would bring more retail to the town and that the existing Stevenage First regeneration scheme had already been “kicked into touch”.
Sharon Taylor who is also a Herts county councillor and leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “It’s always disappointing, particularly when you’ve got a huge crowd of activists in your team, we haven’t got over the line this time. It’s disappointing, but the story of tonight is to see the Labour Party in a situation compared to six weeks ago where nobody would have thought we would have been in a hung parliament come the morning.
“That’s a win for us and we will be delighted to see how that plays out.”
Ms Taylor also welcomed the number of young people who have got involved in politics during the campaign which she said was a good omen for the future.
She pledged to continue working as leader of the council to regenerate the town centre and build more council homes.
She said she has made a plea to Mr McPartland to sit down with the council and its partners and work together on the regeneration plans.
“I think the people of Stevenage want this”, she said.