Election 2015: South East MPs take on new roles after election win

Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) poses for a group photo with newly elected Conservative MPs, at the Houses of Parliament Image copyright PA
Image caption David Cameron poses for a group photo with newly elected Conservative MPs, including Kelly Tolhurst (in the front row wearing a yellow blouse)

No one can deny that the Conservatives pulled off a stunning election win in the South East.

David Cameron confounded the pollsters to secure an outright majority, but the Prime Minister said his sweetest moment of the election was seeing Kelly Tolhurst win back Rochester from Mark Reckless.

The results saw the South East turn a deeper shade of blue both at Westminster and across the region's local authorities.

The Conservatives seized back control of Gravesham Borough Council from Labour and also took control of Eastbourne.

Farage stays on

UKIP did have some success - they took control of Thanet District Council, their first local authority.

Their leader Nigel Farage had promised to resign after not winning his seat - and did so on Friday.

However, he has now announced the party overwhelmingly rejected his resignation and he is to stay on as leader.

Despite success for the Green Party's only MP, Caroline Lucas, who increased her majority in Brighton Pavilion, the Green-led council there didn't fare so well - the party lost control of Brighton and Hove City Council, with Labour now the largest party there.

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Image caption Amber Rudd, who has been promoted to Energy and Climate Change Secretary

So now the dust has settled and the Prime Minister is back in Number 10, he has spent the last few days forming his new team.

"To the victor belong the spoils" as they say, and many of this region's Tory MPs have been rewarded with promotions.

The first announcement came on Friday when it was confirmed that the Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon would remain as Defence Secretary.

It's one of the top jobs in government and a reward for the role he played in the election campaign.

I'd long tipped the Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd for promotion - she began as an aide to George Osborne, then became energy minister but today she claimed her seat at the Cabinet table as Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

And there was promotion too for the Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark - he replaces Eric Pickles as the Communities Secretary.

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Image caption Greg Clark, who replaces Eric Pickles as Communities and Local Government Secretary

For the most part though it was less of a re-shuffle than a vote for continuity.

The Runnymede and Weybridge MP Philip Hammond stays in one of the top jobs in government as Foreign Secretary.

The South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt is to remain as Health Secretary.

The member for Epsom and Ewell, Chris Grayling, has made way for fellow Surrey MP Michael Gove, who is the new Justice Secretary.

Chris Grayling will now be the new Leader of the House of Commons.

It will be a big job as he will take on responsibility for the government's constitutional reforms, including the further devolution of powers to Scotland and legislation to give English MPs a veto over England-only laws at Westminster.

The Conservatives may feel euphoric now with an overall majority and control of more councils than before but with the tricky issue of an in/out referendum on Europe looming, as well as all the promises made in the run-up to the election, it will be straight down to work for the new ministers and the newly-elected MPs.

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