Election 2017

Election results 2017: Kent MPs hold seats with increased vote

Medway count
Image caption All but one of Kent's constituencies remained Conservative

The Conservatives have held nearly all constituencies in Kent, where sitting MPs including cabinet member Greg Clark have kept their seats.

South Thanet's MP Craig Mackinlay held his seat while facing a charge over election expenses in the 2015 poll.

Mr Mackinlay has insisted he has done nothing wrong.

However, the party suffered a shock in Canterbury where Sir Julian Brazier lost his seat after 30 years to Labour's Rosie Duffield.

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In Ashford, Damian Green MP held the seat and the Tory member also grew his share of the vote.

Labour's 'big increase'

Tracey Crouch held Chatham & Aylesford, and Gareth Johnson held Dartford for the Conservatives.

The leader of Medway council's Labour group, and Labour candidate in Chatham and Aylesford Councillor Vince Maple said: "Here in Medway, across all our three constituencies, we've seen big increases in our vote.

"We've seen people very disappointed with Theresa May who have voted Conservative for perhaps 30 years, and they maybe haven't voted for us, but they certainly haven't voted for the Conservative Party."

Image caption Charlie Elphicke retained his Dover seat with over half of the votes cast in the constituency

Dover was listed as a Labour target, but Charlie Elphicke held it with an increased majority of 6,437. Both Labour and the Conservatives increased their shares of the vote by just over 9%.

Mr Elphicke said; "It's brilliant we have increased our majority [in Dover]. I'm looking forward to getting more investment and to make our corner of Kent even more successful."

Folkestone & Hythe, a safe Conservative seat, was held by Damian Collins, who has also increased his majority.

Rehman Chishti also held Gillingham & Rainham for the Conservatives.

Paul Clarke, the former Labour MP for the constituency said: "There's clearly something to build on and we could be having another general election in much less than the five-year period."

'Tribute to democracy'

In Gravesham, Conservative Adam Holloway held the seat, Helen Whately held Faversham & Mid Kent, and Tory Helen Grant retained control of Maidstone & the Weald.

North Thanet was held by Roger Gale with an increased majority.

He said the election had been fought under "very trying circumstances".

"I think it's a tribute to the British people and to democracy, that irrespective of party politics we have gone on to hold a free and fair election in the teeth of those who have tried to stop us doing so." Mr Gale said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon held Sevenoaks for the Tories with 32,633 votes, a 63.7% share, and Kelly Tolhurst kept Rochester & Strood.

Gordon Henderson also held Sittingbourne & Sheppey for the Tories.

Tom Tugendhat held Tonbridge & Malling for the Conservatives with 36,218 votes, a 63.6% share of the total.

Mr Clark has held Tunbridge Wells, a Tory seat since its creation in 1974. The Tunbridge Wells member was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year.

Analysis from Rajdeep Sandhu, political reporter, BBC Radio Kent

Canterbury has been the story of the night in Kent. It's a seat that has been Conservative Sir Julian Brazier's since 1987, with the party holding it for the past 100 years, but it seems a surge in young voters may have tipped it to Labour - just.

It's a very slim win and took a recount to confirm it - the new Labour MP Rosie Duffield has a majority of just 187 votes. She'll have a lot to learn as Kent's only Labour MP.

The rest of Kent has stayed blue, including the most marginal seat South Thanet. It's also where the Conservative Craig Mackinlay has been charged with alleged overspending on his expenses at the last general election.

In all of Kent's seats Labour has come second, leaving UKIP and the Liberal Democrats to fight for third, fourth or last place. Despite a difficult night for the Conservatives the party has increased its share of the vote in all but one seat in Kent.

But it's clear we're back in a two-party system.

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