Updated: Saturday, 18th January 2020 @ 5:44pm

General Election 2019: Brady boom as Tory frontrunner sees off Labour challenge for Altrincham and Sale West

General Election 2019: Brady boom as Tory frontrunner sees off Labour challenge for Altrincham and Sale West

| By James Crump

The Conservatives’ Sir Graham Brady was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Altrincham and Sale West after a booming national result for the Tories.

It was a crushing night nationally for Labour and The Liberal Democrats and despite talk of a three-way marginal, the Lib Dems barely made a dent in proceedings, leading to a comprehensive Tory win.

After a 4:15am declaration it was confirmed Brady had gained a smaller percentage of the vote then he achieved in 2017 but still managed 26,311 and a percentage share of 48%.

The seat, which has been held by the constituency stalwart since its formation in 1997 was targeted by Labour as a possible soft marginal, with activists canvassing regularly since the start of the campaign.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the seat to turn red, but the feeling was that Labour were on the rise with candidate Andrew Western seen as the man best placed to break Brady’s hegemony.

In the 2017 election, Labour gained 12.2% on the Tories in Altrincham and Sale West saw this election as an opportunity to push Brady hard and oust him in a shock result.

It was clear as soon as the exit poll hit that hope of a Labour win was not just wildly idealistic but downright naive. Western ended up with 20,172 votes, losing 2% from Labour’s 2017 result.

Western thanked Brady for his continued service in the constituency but was clear in his concern for the people of this country and his fortitude to continue fighting.

“I am extremely concerned about the results we have seen nationally and what that means for the direction of our country.

“And I just want to say this to the residents of Altrincham and Sale West and across Trafford, as leader of this council and a local campaigner I will continue to fight for you.”

Former Labour MP, Angela Smith, who is most well-known for her “Funny Tinge” remark hopped to Change UK (now, the Independent Group for Change) and then to the Liberal Democrats in the space of a few months.

The constituency voted to remain by 61.41% in the 2016 referendum on membership of the EU and with a known candidate in Smith, it is clear the Lib Dems targeted the seat in the hope of a three-way race.

Perhaps Smith’s racist remark earlier in the year, or the party’s lack of vision and fall in popularity under leader Jo Swinson cost her.

What is clear is that it was a disaster for “the party of remain” with Smith only attaining 6,036 votes. Although a 3.3% rise from 2017, it was not enough to challenge Labour let alone the Tories.

The slate was bursting at the seams with the Liberal Party and the Greens standing candidates, alongside Iram Kiani who ran as an Independent.

The minor parties fared as well as they could have hoped, as the Greens’ Geraldine Coggins finished with 1566 votes, the Liberal Party’s Neil Taylor attained 454 and Kiani mustered 224, losing her deposit in the process.

Voters turned out in force in the constituency, with 75.1% compared to 72.28% in 2017, but the increased turnout didn’t stop the incumbent from holding his seat.

Talk of Tory triumph and Labour failure permeated the air all night and the Tory candidate turned up at the count, based at the Lancashire Cricket Ground at just past two, clearly confident of his victory.

Brady was more than happy to play to his base after being named MP for Altricnham and Sale West 22 years after he was first elected but was clear that the work starts now.

Brady said: “It is an enormous privilege for me, ladies and gentlemen to be elected for the seventh time by the people of Altrincham and Sale West.

“To represent my home constituency in Parliament is a great honour and as Kate (Green) said in her acceptance speech, it’s also a huge responsibility and there is a huge job for us to do.”

The campaign ended in a comprehensive victory for the Conservatives and Brady’s time as MP for the Greater Manchester constituency continues.