General Election 2019: Qureshi quietens Tory clamour in North West with Bolton South East win

Labour’s Yasmin Qureshi maintained her seat at Bolton South East for the fourth consecutive occasion with 21,968 votes and a 8,050 majority.

Conservatives’ Johno Lee followed with 13,918 votes, Brexit Party’s Mark Cunningham was a distant third receiving 2,968, Liberal Democrats’ Kevin Walsh 1,411 and Green Party’s David Figgins 791.

Despite maintaining her seat, Qureshi was severely disappointed with Labour’s national defeat. With 203 seats, it’s their worst performance in an election since 1935.

“I think it’s sad. Not just because the Labour Party and great MPs have lost their seats, but also because a lot of the people who are worst affected by nine years of austerity under the Conservatives are the ones that are going to suffer the most in the next five years.”

Qureshi blamed Labour’s defeat on Brexit, a ‘dishonest campaign’ run by the opposition and personal attacks by ‘hard right wing newspapers’ which vilified Jeremy Corbyn.

She believes what is next for the party is for it to “re-evaluate its policies, programmes and messages.”

The Labour MP hopes to continue to address domestic issues in her consistency with her top priorities being the NHS, schooling, police officers and community safety.

Bolton South East’s Conservative leader Johno Lee was ecstatic as the party experienced historic gains.

“The people of Bolton feel like they’ve been let down by Labour. That’s been proven on the local election and by losing another seat here and we are looking forward to coming back and fighting again.”

Lee was confident that Qureshi could have been defeated at this election, blaming the party’s insufficient resources for the consistency, with a ‘skeleton crew’ running the campaign and slim budget of £1,000.

He believes Corbyn was the Conservatives’ ‘best tool’ for winning this election through persuading previously loyal Labour supporters to vote for the opposition.

“I knocked on a door two days ago and there was an 87-year-old woman who came out and said that she’d voted for Labour since she was 21 years old and she just couldn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn, and we’re hearing that time and time again.”

Brexit Party’s Mark Cunningham was disappointed with the 2,968 votes that he received but maintained that leaving the EU is the ‘change’ that the country needs to ‘move forward’. The constituency voted 63% to leave the EU.

“Even in May of this year with the Brexit Party only a few weeks old when we won the European election, it tells me that’s a clammer for change and somewhere along the line we need to deliver it soon to make this country better for everybody.”

Green Party’s David Figgins was pleased with the gains the party had made this election receiving 254 more votes than in 2017.

“When you look at the increase in our vote, which is looking like it’s doubling nationally, that surely shows that climate change is an increasingly desperate issue that we need to tackle now.”

Figgins also highlighted that an increase of the Green Party vote share nationally demonstrated that electoral reform and proportional representation is required for a ‘more representative democracy for everybody.’

In response to the results Lib Dem’s Kevin Walsh said: “This country is stuck between a rock and a hard place and the only way we are actually going to get out of this mess now is through electoral reform.”

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