Election 2015 England

Election 2015: Labour support slips as Tories build majorities

Tamworth election speech
Image caption Conservative Christopher Pincher makes his victory speech in Tamworth

Sitting Labour MPs in Staffordshire have watched their majorities shrink while the Conservatives have made safe seats even safer.

Labour saw their majority in Newcastle-under-Lyme shrink to 65, with sitting MP Paul Farrelly narrowly holding off the Conservatives.

New MP Ruth Smeeth held Stoke-on-Trent North for Labour, but with a majority cut by 3,399.

Stoke-on-Trent South was also held by Labour, but their vote fell by 1,591.

The Labour vote also dropped slightly in Stoke Central, but they were still 5,179 votes clear of UKIP, who pushed the Conservatives into third place.

Recounts were undertaken for the Stoke-on-Trent South and the Stoke-on-Trent North seats, the city council said.

A council spokesman said: "Small discrepancies are sometimes experienced by election teams across the country.

"We accept that last night's information input discrepancies, and consequential delays were regrettable and frustrating for candidates and everyone involved in the election night.

'Extraordinary pressures'

"The Stoke-on-Trent election operation was hit by the unprecedented situation of both the Recording Officer and the Elections Manager being unable to cover the elections at a critical juncture in the election programme."

The spokesman said there was a recording error "between the number of boxes and the total number of votes, leading to a failure to account for all the votes".

He said the majority of discrepancies were accounted for, with 97 remaining in the case of Stoke-on-Trent South and 204 for Stoke-on-Trent North, and this margin of error was accepted by the candidates.

Ms Smeeth takes over from Joan Walley who has stood down.

The new MP said: "I think I'll do everything I can to honour her legacy but also make it quite clear that I'm different.

"I'm going to do things in a slightly different way to celebrate everything that she did but also make sure that as the world's changing around us I'm doing everything I can to fight for Stoke-on-Trent."

Flamboyant Tory Michael Fabricant held his Lichfield seat, with a majority of more than 18,000.

Conservative Andrew Griffiths was also returned in Burton, adding 9,774 votes to take his majority to over 11,000.

Christopher Pincher added more than 5,000 votes to the Conservative majority as he held his seat in Tamworth for the Tories.

It was a similar tale for Jeremy Lefroy, who held his Stafford seat, beating second place Labour by more than 9,000 votes.

The Conservatives also held Cannock Chase with an increased majority.