Leeds bucks national trend despite Conservative swing across city

The Conservatives gained votes in almost every Leeds constituency in what has been described nationally as a "bad night for Labour."

By Rebecca Marano
Friday, 13th December 2019, 7:36 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 7:37 am
Hilary Benn giving an interview after the General Election 2019 count. Photo taken by Steve Riding.
Hilary Benn giving an interview after the General Election 2019 count. Photo taken by Steve Riding.

Bucking the national trend, no Leeds constituencies changed hands as Labour managed to hold on to five seats overall.

The Conservatives retained their seats in Morley and Outwood, Pudsey and Elmet and Rothwell and made substantial gains in other constituencies.

Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew increased his majority by 3,517 and Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns increased her majority by 11,268.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Despite the Exit Poll forecasting that it was "too close" to call the winning party for Leeds North West, Labour's Alex Sobel more than doubled his majority.

The MP, who had a majority of 4,224 when he was first elected in 2017, swept to victory more than 10,000 ahead of his nearest rival.

Fabian Hamilton also increased his majority in Leeds North East by 17,089.

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn kept a hold of his seat but conceded that it has been a "bad night" for Labour.

Mr Benn, who has held the seat for 20 years, said: "This is a very bad night for the Labour Party and a very bad night for all those who work hard for our cause, and all those who fear what five more years of Conservatives will do.

“The Labour Party will have to reflect on this result. In this new Parliament we will stand up for the people we represent.

“Elections and Prime Ministers will come and go, but our Labour values will endure, and in time we will win."

In his speech, Alex Sobel said: "Our country has suffered from nine years of cuts. People come to me needing housing and support that isn’t available to them.

“I am truly disappointed that I cannot be part of the government that can deliver that manifesto. I will reflect over the next few days on what went wrong. I think the Labour party needs to take this time to reflect and needs to choose a new leader.

“I was the only new Jewish MP elected at the last election. Antisemitism has been an absolute and utter difficult issue.

“If the Labour Party does not resolve this issue, it will never become a party of government in this country again. It is incumbent on me and other Labour MPs to ensure there are no further issues of antisemitism in this party.”

Leeds East MP Richard Burgon retained his seat and went on to attack Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the sound of heckles by Tory campaigners.

Mr Burgon said: "I want to thank the people of Leeds who have put their trust in me for the third time to be their member of parliament.

"I am very, very worried about the future of people in East Leeds and across the country because it looks like we are facing five years of a Thatcherite Prime MInister in the shape of BOris Johnson.

"Conservative activists can cheer but in my advice sessions I have seen people who's lives have been made a misery by political gains.

He then paid tribute to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Burgon said: “He is person who has endured disgraceful character assassination by the right wing press. I am proud of what he has achieved in the Labour Party.

“Rest assured Labour will be back in government, we will end austerity and create a better life for people in East Leeds.”

Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns said that Leeds had seen a "political earthquake".

He said: "I am blown away. I am very conscious that some Labour voters have come over to me, I will continue to be your voice for Morley and Outwood.

“We have never stopped campaigning. Tonight we have started to see a political earthquake.

“For three-and-a-half years, the general public have been ignored. I want to see our party under the leadership of Boris Johnson. We will get Brexit done and unite our country.”

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrook increased his majority in Elmet and Rothwell by 17,353.

He became emotional as he reflected on the "hard year" he and his wife faced and referenced his late father in law in his speech.

Mr Shelbrook said: "I know that my father in law will be looking down with a big smile tonight.

"I have always been a one nation conservative. I believe it's the one nation agenda, I have won every polling district. We are going to have a bright future, an exciting future and the country is going to go from strength to strength under Boris Johnson's premiership."