Cambridge can’t make its mind up: Labour barely wins seat
There were six hundred votes in it
On the back of his fifth attempt, Daniel Zeichner can finally claim to be an MP, as a reluctant Cambridge electorate edged leftwards in defiance of the nation’s overall rush to the right.
Zeichner may indeed want to thank his lucky stars, for no more than 599 votes separated him from Julian Huppert, who, while a strong local candidate, could not quite overcome his party’s incredible ill fortune.
Zeichner willingly conceded that Huppert had been “dealt a tough hand” by going into coalition with the Tories.
Against this background, Huppert’s 35 per cent of the vote bears testimony to the particularly hard-fought character of the battle for Cambridge, with Zeichner’s victory (36 per cent) representing one of the mere 22 seats gained by Labour this morning.
Controversy-ridden Chamali Fernando, the Conservative candidate, received 16 per cent of the vote – a dismal showing in comparison to the 2010 election, when Tory candidate Nick Hillman came second with 25 per cent of the vote.
Overall, this election marks Labour’s worst performance since the 1983 election, when they won just 209 seats; today, the party is the proud holder of 232 seats – down from 258 in 2010.
A rare glimmer of Labour success, Zeichner perhaps not surprisingly expressed his good-fortune as a “huge privilege and heavy responsibility”.
“I will always listen closely and seriously and do my best to uphold the tradition of excellent MPs in our city,” he added.
Huppert likewise said it had been a “huge honour to represent my home for the last five years”.
“We’ve been attacked from the left, attacked from the right, and it has taken its toll.”
In a sign of solidarity perhaps reflective of the overwhelmingly Labour-Lib Dem result in Cambridge, Huppert added: “Daniel and I have had many discussions about how much we have succeeded in reining back the Conservatives. I fear we are about to find out the truth of them.”