Election reaction: Rachel is Leeds West's first lady

Economist Rachel Reeves made a little bit of history in holding Leeds West for Labour.

She became the first woman to be elected in a Leeds constituency since Alice Bacon, who was an MP in the city for 25 years until 1970.

Ms Reeves, who came through a close selection fight to win the nomination, secured a 7,016 majority – down on the near 13,000 majority enjoyed by John Battle in 2005.

After 23 years representing the seat, Mr Battle opted to retire from Parliament.

Ms Reeves managed to overcome a strong Liberal Democrat challenge to hang on to the constituency.

Selected two-and-a-half-years ago to be Labour's candidate in Leeds West, she said: "It was a privilege to work alongside John Battle and to follow in his footsteps.

"I am the first woman to be elected for a Leeds constituency for over 40 years. I hope many will follow after me."

Acknowledging the party's majority had nearly halved compared to the 2005 result, Ms Reeves said: "John Battle has been an outstanding MP for 23 years and built his majority over a number of years.

"I hope I will be able to build on my majority in the years to come."

The seat was held by Labour from Tthe Second World War until 1983, when the Liberal Michael Meadowcroft went from third place to wipe out Joe Dean's majority of nearly 13,000, with a swing of more than 18 %.

John Battle recaptured the seat for Labour in 1987. He enjoyed a near 20,000 majority in 1997.

In the poll, the Liberal Democrats' Ruth Coleman managed to build on the party's 2005 performance when it increased its share of the vote and moved into second place, 12,810 votes behind Labour.

Rachel Reeves (Labour) 16,389

Ruth Coleman (Liberal Democrat) 9,373

Joe Marjoram (Conservative) 7,641

Joanna Beverley (British National Party) 2,377

David Blackburn (Green) 1,832

Jeff Miles (UK Independence Party) 1,140

Majority 7,016 18.1%

Turnout 38,752 57.5% +4.7


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