Updated: Friday, 19th January 2018 @ 4:34pm

General Election 2017: 'Team effort' helps Labour paint Bury red

General Election 2017: 'Team effort' helps Labour paint Bury red

| By Tom George

Bury is red after a successful night for the Labour Party saw them hold Bury South and gain Bury North.

In the big shock of the evening, James Frith beat the Conservative David Nuttall by a majority of 4,375 to take Bury North, while Ivan Lewis saw an increase in his majority as he was elected in Bury South for the sixth time.

Frith’s victory comes after the heartbreak of his slender defeat to Nuttall in 2015, which he says left him ‘distraught’. Speaking after his victory, he told MM: “It feels amazing. It’s been a team effort.

"Two years ago we came very close and two years is enough time to recover and not forget, so when the snap election was called, we were able to get back and quickly assemble our efforts. 

“After 2015, I had a pretty grown up conversation with my wife and she had a pretty grown up conversation with me but straight away we thought we’d do things slightly differently. 

“We made a very deliberate choice to have a local campaign based on my life and living in Bury, and our rootedness in our community. 

“Also, I think there was an appetite for an MP that was visible and part of the town. Clearly, that’s been borne out in the result.”

Meanwhile, Lewis will be relieved to hold onto his seat after it was identified by the Conservatives as one of their key targets in this election. 

FAIR DEAL

Bury South is home to the second largest Jewish population in the country, and after accusations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party in recent years, there was talk that Lewis may feel the full force of the Jewish community’s discontent at this election.

However, those fears have been allayed with a victory over that saw him increase his majority to 5,965 over his nearest rival, Conservative Robert Largan.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be elected on a sixth successive occasion for the constituency where I was born, raised and have lived all of my life, and that makes it incredibly special,” Lewis told MM.

“I’m of this community and people have expressed confidence in me in an election where when this all began, people predicted that Bury South would be lost, so it makes it particularly a very special evening for me.

On how he and Frith would work together, Lewis said: “James and I are going to focus on one thing and one thing only, and that is getting a fair deal for this town.

"For too long, we have been disproportionately the victims of cuts to our frontline services, council services, school budgets and social care. 

“James and I will now have the opportunity to work incredibly hard in partnership to get the fair deal that this town deserves.

“This is amazing. We could never have anticipated at the beginning of this campaign that Labour would be in Bury North and Bury South."

The turnout in both constituencies was at its highest since the 1997 general election with 71.11% of voters turning out in Bury North, and 69.34% in Bury South.