Election 2017: Norwich South results - Clive Lewis doubles majority for Labour
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
As Norwich South overwhelmingly united behind Labour, newly re-elected MP Clive Lewis admitted 'our secret weapon was Theresa May'.
In a seat tipped to be run close with the Conservatives as a marginal throughout the campaign, the Left defied all expectations to see Mr Lewis sailing back to Westminster having more than doubled his majority.
Early on as votes are tallied up in the city it became clear Green and Liberal Democrat voters had flocked to Labour.
Mr Lewis said: 'The people of Norwich have sent a very clear message to Theresa May. I feel this has been a turning point for us.'
After a deeply divisive year for Labour, Mr Lewis also took the opportunity to call for a period of 'quiet reflection'.
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'I think Jeremy Corbyn has defied expectations,' he said. 'Tonight hope trumps despair and we should be telling people in our party we can offer something different.
'Jeremy Corbyn in many ways has been vindicated. We are not tearing ourselves apart and when the party comes together like this we can achieve results.
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'We thought we were going to have a close election, if not lose. I think our secret weapon was Theresa May. If you are going to boast about being strong and stable you had better be strong and stable.
'A lot of people lent me their votes. I believe in proportional representation but people saw a chance and chose progressive politics.' He criticised the prime minister for calling the snap election. He said: 'Theresa May said it was in the interest of the British people.
'It was in the interest of Theresa May and the Conservative Party and I think she's had a big slap. I think she's political toast.
'I'm not sure whether she'll be leading those (Brexit) negotiations but I think her days are numbered as a leader.
'If there's one thing you know about the Conservative Party they're pretty ruthless when it comes to their leaders.
'Many of them have lost their seats. I don't think it's looking good for her.'
After postponing his honeymoon to fight the election, Mr Lewis said his immediate priority is his marriage.
Conservative candidate for Norwich South Lana Hempsall said she is 'disappointed' at the result and accused Greens and Liberal Democrats of 'abandoning their parties'.
'It has become clear the Lib Dem and Green support has voted tactically or their vote has collapsed,' she said.
'That is catastrophic and a massive step back to the two party system. I find it disappointing that so many would abandon what they believed in.'
She added she would be sad if Theresa May was to step down because the Prime Minister had been supportive of her campaign.
Full results: Clive Lewis (L) 31,311, Lana Hempsall (C) 15,715, James Wright (LD) 2,841, Richard Bearman (G) 1,492. Turnout 69.4pc.