General Election 2019: Emma Lewell-Buck slams 'toxic' politics after retaining South Shields for Labour

The Labour Party have held onto the South Shields constituency in the General Election with a reduced majority.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 3:18 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 10:19 am

Emma Lewell-Buck, who became the town’s first female MP in 2013, was re-elected to serve the area with 17,273 votes, a majority of 9,585.

The result marks the fourth election win for Mrs Lewell-Buck although her majority has fallen drastically compared to 2017 (14,508).

Speaking minutes after the results were announced at Temple Park Centre, she hit out at the current state of “toxic” politics.

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Emma Lewell-Buck, third right, speaks after successfully defending her South Shields seat.

“I’m really delighted with tonight’s result here (but) I’ve never known politics reach such toxic and base levels as it has been, the debate has been really really horrible and there have been lots of personal attacks,” she said.

“People in Shields are better than that, they always have been and always will be and they have resoundingly rejected that by making sure they have re-elected me tonight.

“My message for the people who voted for me is thank you so much for putting your faith in me once again, I will never ever let you down and will always work my hardest for you.

“For those who haven’t voted for me, please reach out to me and come and talk to me, I’m the MP for the whole of South Shields.”

The returning MP added her top priority was to bring more jobs and investment into South Shields on a “bigger scale”.

On Brexit, she added: “I think I have always been clear on my Brexit position, I have not wanted us to have a second referendum [and] I have said if we did have a second referendum, I would campaign for a Labour leave deal.”

The result follows several weeks of intense campaigning in the North East with visits from major party figures and even the prime minister Boris Johnson.

Conservative candidate for South Shields, Oni Oviri came in second place with 7,688 votes, followed by Brexit Party rival Glenn Thompson with 6,446.

Independent candidate and South Shields FC chairman, Geoff Thompson, racked up 3,658 votes, followed by Liberal Democrat candidate William James Shepherd with 1,514 and Green candidate Sarah McKeown with 1,303.

The turnout was also 60.5%, a decrease from 64.4% two years ago.

Runner up Oni Oviri said the result was not the end for the Conservatives in South Shields.

“In the short space of time I had to campaign I think I have done a great job,” she said.

“I have tried to project all the opportunities I could put forward for South Shields and also address some of the issues that they have including South Tyneside Hospital.

“I think at least some voters listened to that and the vote held.

“Last time we got just over 10,000 votes and this time it reduced by 3,000 but [Labour’s result] reduced by 5,000.

“I think voters did listen to the Conservative Party in that sense.”

She added: “All the priorities that I mentioned can still be done whether I’m an MP or not so I’m still going to continue to make sure I deliver on what I spoke about.”