General Election 2019: Makerfield stays Labour despite Brexit country sentiment

Labour held on to Makerfield by 4,470 votes but saw their majority more than halve in a strong night for the pro-Brexit parties.

Labour’s Yvonne Fovargue secured 19,954 votes to win her fourth successive election, with Conservative Nick King second (15,214 votes) and Ross Wright of the Brexit Party third (5,817).

Fovargue saw her support decline by 8,291 votes and recorded the smallest majority in the seat’s 36 year history. However, on a disastrous night for Labour, she remained certain that the party was the best option for Makerfield.

She said: “It’s been quite a difficult election, not least because of the weather, but as I was knocking on doors in the rain a few things kept me going.

“A woman who gets up at 5am and was working two jobs to retire at 60. Her husband died and she is working now, well into her 60s. The woman who has to look after her daughter who’s had a severe disability since birth and is now looking after her sister who had both her legs amputated.

“It’s those people who need a Labour government. It’s those people that I’ll support and work for as a Labour MP.”

Tuesday’s YouGov poll accurately predicted the outcome of the seat, forecasting a 46% vote share for Labour, 29% Conservative and 16% for the Brexit Party.

The Conservatives increased this share slightly to 34% at the expense of the Brexit Party (13%) but the fall of Labour’s majority still came as a surprise.

However, Conservative candidate Nick King was thrilled with the collapse of Labour’s majority but was left questioning the decision of the Brexit Party to stand in a key ‘Workington Man’ area.

Speaking after the announcement, Nick King said: “I was in it to win it so I’m disappointed not to have done so. It was closer than a lot of people thought it would have been and in Wigan as well, so that’s telling the story that we’re seeing up and down the country.

“If you combine the Brexit Party vote and the Conservative cote – two parties very clear on delivering Brexit – that is obviously more than Labour received. It’s perfectly legitimate for them [the Brexit Party] to stand on their own platform but I would have liked to have had those votes.”

Makerfield voted heavily in favour of Brexit in 2017, voting 64.91% for leave, and King credits this as main reason for the unexpectedly tight result tonight.

“People want us to deliver Brexit and then start focussing on things that matter to people up and down the country. That can only be delivered by a majority Conservative government and that’s what we’re going to get.”

The Liberal Democrats made a 786 vote gain on 2017 as John Skipworth secured 2,108 votes in fourth place whilst the Green Party, running in Makerfield for the first time since 2015, finished fifth with 1,166 votes.

Following the national trend, Makerfield recorded a low turnout of 59.67% – down 4.13% on 2017.

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