#ELLGE19 Hillier and Abbott re-elected with reduced majorities

Diane Abbott arrives at the count. Photo: Clara Hill

By Clara Hill and Barney Stone

Labour MPs Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott were convincingly re-elected to their Hackney constituencies early this morning. Hillier won her seat in Hackney South and Shoreditch with a majority of 33,985, and Abbott won hers by a reduced majority of 33,188.

On a sobering night for the Labour Party, both Hillier and Abbott saw their majorities reduced, by 6.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

After the announcement, Meg Hillier, who has been the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch since 2005, told Eastlondonlines: “Personally, it has been a good result in Hackney, but that is tinged with huge sadness. Now is the time for the Labour Party to reflect and learn from what’s happened. We should be a party that is electable, and tonight’s results nationally are looking very disappointing in that respect. We have to heal our nation.”

When asked what could account for such an historical defeat nationwide, Hillier told Eastlondonlines: “It was certainly true that Boris Johnson’s message ‘Get Brexit Done’ cut through”. Hillier added that Labour’s inability to appeal to voters “who feel left behind” in traditional heartlands was also a factor. She said: “We need to have a hard look at ourselves.”  

After her victory, Diane Abbott, the former Shadow Home Secretary said: “It’s been a clean fight in this election, [but] I’m sorry I can’t say the same thing about the national Tory party and certain sections of the media”. She has held the seat since 1987, and was the first black woman elected to the House of Commons.

The Hackney count where results were announced at 3:30am. Pic: Clara Hill

“We will carry on fighting for what is right, Jeremy Corbyn will carry on fighting for what is right, Meg will carry on and the Labour Party will stand up for what is right. For the many not the few.” Abbott departed swiftly after the election results were announced.

It was a good night for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, who both increased their share of the vote.

In Hackney North and Shoreditch, Abbott’s share was reduced by Green Party candidate Alex Armitage, who saw his vote share rise by 4.1 per cent, and Ben Mathis, Liberal Democrats, by 0.8 per cent.  

Diane Abbot, on the campaign trail earlier this month. Pic: Clara Hill

Hillier conceded votes to the same sources; Dave Raval, Liberal Democrats, and Tyrone Scott, Green Party, took a combined 5.9 per cent.

Factors including Brexit, anti-Semitism and the Greens’ dedication to resolving the climate emergency might have accounted for this shift.

The Brexit Party failed to muster any tangible impact in what remains a staunchly ‘remain’ borough.

Although the delivery of constituency results was somewhat of a formality, the atmosphere was subdued from the outset.

BBC’s election coverage was met with murmurs of disbelief as news of Jo Swinson’s defeat came to light. Corbyn’s despondent speech filtered through from an adjacent room.

Whilst both Conservative candidates suffered in Hackney, the mood from their camp was upbeat throughout the evening. Accepting of their impending defeats, both Mark Beckett and Ben Obese-Jecty reflected positively on their campaigns, which was a first for both.

Elsewhere, Labour’s Kofo David was elected in the Clissold Ward by-election with 3,784.

Hackney South and Shoreditch

Meg Hillier (Labour)39,88473.3-6.2
Mark Beckett (Conservative)5,89910.8-0.1
Dave Raval (Liberal Democrat)4,8538.9+3.2
Tyrone Scott (Green)2,9485.4+2.7
Robert Lloyd (Brexit Party)7441.4+1.4
Jonty Leff (Workers Revolutionary Party)1110.20.0

Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Diane Abbott (Labour)39,97270.3-4.8
Alex Armitage (Green)4,9898.8+4.1
Loré Lixenberg (Independent)760.1+0.1
Ben Mathis (Liberal Democrats)4,2837.5+0.8
Benjamin Obese-Jecty (Conservative)6,78411.9-0.7
Haseeb Ur-Rehman (Renew)1510.3+0.3

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