General Election 2019: Labour's Gareth Eales says he is 'sorry' for what election result means for 'people of Northampton South'

Labour's defeated candidate for Northampton South Gareth Eales says he is "sorry for what [the election result] means for the people of Northampton".

Friday, 13th December 2019, 4:40 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:49 am
Gareth Eales

Defending Conservative MP was re-elected at 4pm tonight with a share of 20,914 votes, while Mr Eales came in with 16,217.

It means the Conservatives have not only won Northampton South but have more than trebled their majority in the constituency compared to 2017.

Mr Eales - whose campaign to become MP this election was his first - left the stage without making a speech, but told the Chronicle & Echo afterwards: "The mic was shoddy... And the things I want to say I will say to my campaigners when we regroup rather than in a public forum."

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Lings Forum experienced severe technical issues during the announcement, where the microphone cut out repeatedly during the final tally.

Mr Eales said: "I'm obviously bitterly disappointed. But I've been quite relaxed all day and I think we've waged a very good campaign. I wouldn't change anything that we did.

"There were national factors that were out of our control.

"I'm extremely humbled by the number of people that have hit the streets with me in my campaigning.

"I'm sorry for what this means for the people of Northampton."

It comes after an evening where Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would not lead the party into a General Election again.

National media and political analysts have spent much of tonight discussing if Labour's severe losses were because of Brexit or Corbyn himself.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Eales said: "Corbyn was certainly a marmite character. But there's been a campaign to malign the man from the very beginning from people in your profession [reporters] - even if not yourself.

"I genuinely didn't feel until just now that this was 'the Brexit election'... I felt it was important to campaign on the local issues. But it seems it wasn't enough to overcome the fear that was at the centre of the Conservative Party's campaign.

"Sadly it's come down to personalities and the Great British Public just didn't take to Jeremy Corbyn.

"The politics of fear overcame the politics of hope."

Northampton North was also held by Conservative MP Michael Ellis, with a majority of some 5,500 votes.