General Election 2019: Labour confident they'll take both Northampton seats despite crushing exit poll forecasts

Northampton's Labour party say they are still confident they will take both Northampton seats despite tonight's hard-hitting exit poll.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 10:57 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:48 am

Early predictions for tonight's election say the Conservatives are set to sweep to victory with an estimated 368 seats - while Labour could suffer one of their worst General Election losses in history.

Both Northampton North and South have been eyed up by the national media in recent weeks as constituencies that could swing from Tory to Labour. In the election two years ago, defending Tory MPs Michael Ellis and Andrew Lewer only won by slim margins of 800 and 1,200 votes respectively.

But tonight's exit poll, which suggests the Tories might win as many as 50 new seats, casts doubt on if the vote will be as close in the town this year.

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At tonight's count at Lings Forum, campaigners for the Conservatives cheered as the early prediction was announced. They pulled on blazers and blue ribbons to take early celebratory photos.

Conservative county/borough councillor Suresh Patel said: "I think we've worked hard and this is about getting Brexit done. If this [exit poll] comes out correct it's win-win."

Meanwhile, leader of the Labour group for Northampton Danielle Stone declined to talk to the Chronicle & Echo herself.

A party agent, Paul Flatt, instead told the Chron that Labour would wait until Northampton North candidate Sally Keeble arrived at the hall so as to deliver "a unified statement."

He said: "I've been driving around all day today and I've seen nothing but Labour posters in windows and on lamp posts. I've haven't seen a single Conservative poster.

"What the exit poll has said may have relevance or it might not.

"I think people have voted on all sorts of levels - about Brexit, the welfare state and the appalling state of the town [Northampton]."

Meanwhile, the exit poll constituency predictions on the BBC website for both Northampton North and South says the Tories have a "99+ per cent" chance of holding the seats.

In the 2017 election, Northampton North was won by the Conservative MP Michael Ellis by just 2 per cent. Meanwhile, Andrew Lewer took Northampton South with a margin of 2.9 per cent. Much of Labour's campaigning material this year has emphasised this narrow gap.