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Labour win Norwich South on night of misery for Lib Dems

PUBLISHED: 05:34 08 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:58 08 May 2015

Norwich South election count at St Andrews Hall, Norwich. Labour candidate Clive Lewis. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich South election count at St Andrews Hall, Norwich. Labour candidate Clive Lewis. Photo: Steve Adams

Labour have regained Norwich South, five years after Liberal Democrat Simon Wright caused one if the major shocks of the last general election.

Former BBC journalist Clive Lewis won back the seat which Mr Wright took from Charles Clarke in the count in St Andrew’s Hall, with a whopping 7,654 majority.

He said: “The working people of this city have their voice again.”

For Mr Wright, it was disappointment at the same venue where he was victorious by a margin of 310in 2010.

The seat was the 18th most marginal in the UK and was ranked sixth on Labour’s target list.

But the Greens also had high hopes for success, which were buoyed by a BBC exit poll which predicted they would win.

The constituency was one of the Green’s key targets, given their strength in opposition to Labour at City Hall.

However district nurse Lesley Grahame, also a city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, finished third, with 6,749 votes The Conservatives came second with candidate Lisa Townsend garnering 11,369 votes.

The Tories ranked third in 2010 and have not held the seat since the early 1980s.

Mr Wright saw his 310 majority vanish, coming fourth with 6,607 votes.

UKIP’s Steve Emmens got 4,539 votes - on his 2.4pc of the vote last time around.

David Peel, who was a public relations advisor in Tony Blair’s press office, standing for Class War, got 96 votes.

Taxi driver Cengiz Ceker, standing as an independent, got 60 votes.

To the surprise of many, turnout was down on 2010.

There were 45,435 votes cast, a turnout of 64.38pc.

That was slightly down on the 64.6pc last time around, when 45,771 votes were cast.

Verification started just after 10.15pm and counting started at just after 2.30am.

But, despite his victory, Mr Lewis conceded it was tempered by Labour’s showing nationally.

He said: “It’s been a difficult night for us. With all the results not in we don’t know if David Cameron can command the confidence of the House, but we will see.

“It would be so much easier to do more for Norwich South with a Labour government, but I don’t know if that will be the case.

“But I know I am going to be an MP who speaks up for the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled and struggling small businesses.

“I want to be someone who people feel is a radical voice for the city.”

Defeated Simon Wright said it had been a tough night for his party, but that it was crucial that the Lib Dems continued to exist.

Second placed Conservative Lisa Townsend said she was “thrilled” with her placing.

She said: “We have gone from third to second and increased our vote in what was a Green target seat.

“To have beaten them and the sitting MP is a fantastic result on what has been a good night for us nationally.”

Green Lesley Grahame admitted she was “very disappointed”.

“I don’t know how people have voted for five more years of austerity.

“I was extremely surprised the Conservatives did so well. They are so much the nasty party, but all the blame seems to have gone to the Lib Dems.”

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