General Election 2019: Wigan’s Labour MP Nandy blasts own party after hard fought, ‘clean’ campaign

Labour’s Lisa Nandy retained her Wigan seat for the fourth consecutive election but saw her majority shrink by over 9,000 votes.

Nandy secured 21,042 votes and a majority of 6,728 over second placed Conservative candidate Ashley Williams (14,314).

However, it was the Brexit Party who were the big winners with William Malloy taking 5,959 votes as the town made a big statement on Brexit.

Wigan voted heavily in favour of Brexit in 2017, with a 62.96% leave vote, and this result suggests that the traditional Labour stronghold is losing faith in the party.

In her victory speech, Nandy praised her fellow candidates and the standard of this election battle.

She said: “I’d like to thank my opponents, particularly William [Malloy] and Ashley [Williams], for coming out and fighting a clean campaign and showing that politics can be better than the state of the current political debate.”

She went on to describe this election campaign as the toughest that she can remember before thanking local party members for their support.

“Together we’ve protected people through 10 years of Tory government and, to every single volunteer who has come out in the rain and the wind and the cold to fight for a better country, thank you so much. You have inspired me every single day to get up and keep fighting.”

However, she also launched a scathing attack on the state of the Labour party and promised to bring the party back to the voters.

She said: “I have met too many people during this election who are lifelong Labour voters who told me that they needed a Labour government but simply couldn’t vote for one this election.

“They have been telling us, in towns like Wigan, for some time that all is not right and this was summed up by the woman who said to me ‘I didn’t leave the Labour party. Labour has left me.’

“So I want to say to everyone of my brilliant colleagues who is losing their seat tonight, every single person who will wake up tomorrow in fear of what five more years of Tory rule means to them and every single one of those voters who want to put their cross in the Labour box: I have listened and I will make it my mission to bring Labour home to you.”

Second placed Ashley Williams was pleased with his performance but also voiced his relief that the Brexit Party vote wasn’t greater than the Labour majority.

He said: “It’s a positive result. The local Conservative members are all happy with the result and it stands them in good stead for the local elections.

“I didn’t want the Brexit Party vote to be bigger than the majority because then I would have been annoyed at the splitting of the vote. But, a lot of the people in Wigan who didn’t vote Labour this time probably wouldn’t ever vote Conservative. We haven’t lost votes; it’s the Labour Brexiteers who have left.”

Both the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party also made gains on 2017. Stuart Thomas (Lib Dems) received 2,428 votes, up 1,512 on 2017, whilst the Peter Jacobs (Green) secured 1,299 votes.

Whilst this is the closest contest since the 1999 by-election – when Labour won with a majority of 6,729 – one has to consider what the outcome could have been with a higher voter turnout. Wigan had a turnout of 59.7%, unexpectedly down 2.9% on 2017.

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