GENERAL ELECTION: Southend Tories thrashed in historic double win for Labour

Labour delivered a crushing general election defeat for Southend Tories who lost both city seats for the first time in history.

Labour supporters cheered loudly as Anna Firth was ousted from the Southend West and Leigh seat, which she took over following the murder of Sir David Amess. David Burton-Sampson gained 16,739 votes against Ms Firth’s 14,790 votes.

Labour also triumphed in Southend East and Rochford where Bayo Alaba beat Conservative Gavin Haran by more than 4,000 votes.

Turnout was 62.71 per cent, broadly the same as 2019 when 62.25 per cent of voters in the constituency turned out to vote.

Speaking as the result was announced at the Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, a triumphant Mr Barton-Sampson said: “Tonight Southend West and Leigh has made history. You have chosen to elect your first ever Labour MP. You’ve placed your trust in me and I’m incredibly grateful it is now my job to stand up for you and I sincerely thank everybody who voted for me.

“Four years ago Keir Starmer promised to change the Labour Party and he did. Now Labour is ready to change the country. For me this is a change of job but for Labour and for the country it’s the job of change.”

The newly elected MP added: “I promise that I’ll work tirelessly for you and I’ll be a community-based and community-focused MP representing your voice in Westminster and fighting for a happier, healthier and fairer future for every single constituent no matter how you voted today. I’m ready to get on with the job that you sent me to Westminster to do.

“Many people have voted Labour for the first time and I reassure you I will not let you down. I will do everything to deliver the change that you are demanding. I believe politicians and politics should serve the public. It’s time to end the chaos and disfunction at the heart of Government and start to rebuild our country together. You sent me to Westminster to stand up for you and I need to get on with the job.”

Labour councillors, who themselves formed a new administration in May, turned out to support the two new Labour MPs for Southend.

Daniel Cowan, leader of the Labour Group, said: “Two historic wins for Southend, the first time it’s been Labour in history. I think the country’s looking forward to some change.

“It’s going to be a big change for me as leader of the council as well. I now have two Labour MPs to work with. I’m looking forward to them getting on with the job and seeing what they can do for us in Parliament.”

Reform’s Peter Little gained a respectable 8,271 votes in the constituency as voters aired their frustration with the Tory Government.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter