After a fourteen hour wait, the incumbent Labour candidate Meg Hillier was named MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch in the General Election.
Ms Hillier secured a second term in the constituency with 23,888 votes; a 55% share of the ballot. Dave Raval of the Liberal Democrats came second with 9,600 while the Conservative party candidate Simon Nayyar came third with 5,800. Polly Lane of the Greens came fourth with 1,493.
Unusually high turnout rumoured to be up to 80% in some wards, was blamed for the huge delay in announcing the result. Counting of the votes did not begin until 11.30am Friday morning; thirteen and a half hours after polling booths had closed. A Hackney Council spokesman explained to waiting media that the three different elections in Hackney had also contributed to the problem as they were unable to start counting the general election votes until all three sets had been verified.
In her winning speech, Ms Hillier praised the stamina of all those who had stayed up overnight to count the ballot papers. Referring to the many circulating stories of voters being turned away from polling stations in Hackney she said:
‘It is vitally important that people get the chance to vote and we are taking this issue up…But the good news is that people in Hackney turned out in force and there’s political passion and political desire to engage in Hackney and that’s something we should all be grateful for.’
Speaking to EastLondonLines after the result, Ms Hillier said she and Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington would both be putting in a formal complaint and request for an inquiry. She also said she thought it had been a problem of organisation rather than high turnout.
‘We need to make sure that people can vote. It’s quite simple maths really, we know how many people are entitled to vote and we know how long it takes to get them through the system. There can be times when it can be challenging…but actually, it’s just logistics, it’s something that should have been able to be sorted.’
You can hear the full interview with Meg Hillier here: