General election battle begins in Milton Keynes - with MP's accusation as 'Vote Tory' signs are defaced

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The general election battle has started in earnest as voters go to the polls to decide whether or not the city will retain its two Conservative MPs.

And one of the sitting MPs, Ben Everitt, has already accused MK Labour “activists” of dirty tactics over the past 24 hours.

He took to social media to publish a photo showing how a large sign promoting himself has been defaced with the words ‘Vote Labour’ in red letters.

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Under the heading ‘Caught red-handed’, he wrote: “Well MK, Labour activists have been busy…Three boards defaced over two nights.”

Three Conservative signs have bee defaced in Milton KeynesThree Conservative signs have bee defaced in Milton Keynes
Three Conservative signs have bee defaced in Milton Keynes

Mr Everitt added: “Vote for me to stand up to these vandals….”

​MK Labour party was quick to deny responsibility for defacing the signs. Labour leader of MK Council Pete Marland told the Citizen: We live in a democracy and therefore while we disagree, the choice needs to be made by our residents without this sort of thing.

"Obviously damaging campaign materials of another party is the opposite of how elections should be conducted and not how Labour runs campaigns."

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Pete added: "There is no evidence whatsoever that this was a 'Labour activist' any more than it could be claimed it was a weird publicity stunt."

He said some of Labour's promotional posters in MK had also been damaged - but they had not made "outrageous" claims that the Tories were responsible.

​Ben Everitt is fighting to keep his MK North seat, while his sitting Tory colleague Iain Stewart (currently MK South) is standing in the new Buckingham and Bletchley constituency.

A new candidate, Johnny Luk, is standing for the Conservatives in the newly-named Milton Keynes Central constituency.

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But local Labour candidates Emily Darlington, Chris Curtis and Callum Anderson are hoping to scoop all three seats and have all run intensive election campaigns.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat candidates Dominic Dyer, James Cox and Clare Tevlin are set to at least split the vote.

This will be the first time people in MK will have three MPs instead of two. The constituency changes come following a review by the The Boundary Commission for England (BCE), which was launched in 2021.

Its aims is to make the 650 seats across the UK roughly equal in terms of population size. MK North has ‘gained’ Stony Stratford while MK South has lost parts of Bletchley but gained other areas including Central Milton Keynes, Campbell Park and Broughton.

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The new Buckingham and Bletchley constituency, confusingly, spans two local authorities and covers parts of Buckingham town.

Poll​ing stations in Milton Keynes opened ​at 7am today and will remain open until 10pm.

A small army of experts and volunteers will then be counting the votes and inspecting for spoiled or damaged ballot papers.

The MK North and MK Central seats will be the first to be declared with a result expected between 2am and 3am. Shortly afterwards the result will be in for the Bletchley and Buckingham seat.

​If you have not yet voted, do not forget to take a photo ID with you to the polling station. You will be refused entry without one.