General election 2019: Lives changed and dreams shattered by election results, including in Milton Keynes
Lives have been changed beyond recognition and dreams shattered by Thursday’s general election results.
Not so much perhaps for Iain Stewart, the victorious Tory in Milton Keynes South, who was able to pick up in Westminster where he left off after holding his seat.
He said he knows what it feels like to lose a hard-fought general election campaign, having lost twice in his political career. Since 2010, when he took MK South, he has a four and zero winning streak.
Mr Stewart widened the gap between his party and Labour challenger, Hannah O’Neill, by increasing his majority from a slender 1,665 votes to 6,944. He also polled just over 50 per cent of all the 64,007 votes cast.
But Ben Everitt, who won the MK North constituency with 30,938 votes, the backing of 49.5 per cent of voters, and a safer looking 6,255 majority over Labour’s Charlynne Pullen, has had his life changed completely.
He has been turned from being a local councillor in Aylesbury Vale to one of 650 law makers at Westminster.
Mr Everitt looked stunned as the result sank in, even though it was clear for hours before the result was declared that he had been victorious.
“It is a heavy responsibility,” he said, before heading off from the count venue in Avebury Boulevard in the early hours of Friday.
“The fine people of MK North have put their trust in me and I will not let them down,” he said in his victory speech.
Feelings were at the other end of the scale for Labour’s Hannah O’Neill and Charlynne Pullen. Both had been confident of winning, with Ms Pullen recording 40,000 steps and 20 miles of pounding the pavement on election day alone.
It’s the second time she had fought for MK North, and the third time in total after cutting her general election teeth in the rock-solid Tory seat of Mid Bedfordshire.
She admitted defeat before the result was announced in the early hours of Friday, saying she was now taking time off to reflect.
The former Islington councillor, who knows outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said she had wanted to be an MP for 10 years but that “Perhaps you just have to be in the right place at the right time.”
And Ms O’Neill, who is the deputy leader of Milton Keynes Council, plans to take Christmas off to be with her family.
Cllr O’Neill faces re-election to her Woughton & Fishermead council seat in May. She won it with a thumping 1,373 majority in 2016.
On Thursday she vowed to “keep fighting for MK because it is where I live and I am passionate about this place.”
For other candidates, including the Lib Dems and Greens it was about keeping the flag flying.
And even though it costs £500 for a deposit to stand in the general election, which candidates only get back if they achieve more than five per cent of the vote, Independent Stephen Fulton said he doesn’t mind losing that.
He was determined to give people the chance to vote for someone who wasn’t under the wing of a big political party.