Election 2019

General election 2019: Labour lose Leigh seat to Conservatives

James Grundy (centre) with supporters
Image caption Mr Grundy said being surprised by the result was the "understatement of the century"

The Conservatives have gained Leigh in Greater Manchester - a seat held by Labour for almost 100 years.

James Grundy became the constituency's new MP after securing a 1,965 majority, with a 12% swing to the Conservatives.

Beaten Labour MP, shadow minister Jo Platt, took over from Andy Burnham, now Greater Manchester's mayor, who had a 14,000 majority as recently as 2015.

The Tories also gained Bolton North East, Bury North, Bury South, and Heywood and Middleton from Labour.

Leigh has had a Labour MP since 1922, before which the seat was held by the Liberal Party.

Shortly after the result was announced, Mr Grundy said that him being surprised by the result was the "understatement of the century".

"I came here tonight expecting to lose with dignity, rather than head down to London tomorrow

"I suppose I'm going to have to think on my feet about what I'm going to do."

Ms Platt said she was "devastated for the people of Leigh".

She urged her colleagues to stop "navel-gazing" and to start understanding why people were turning away from the party.

Leigh results

Vote share

Party % share
Conservative 45.3%
Labour 41.1%
The Brexit Party 6.7%
Liberal Democrat 4.8%
Independent 1.2%
UKIP 1.0%

Vote share change since 2017

  • Conservative +9.4 Gained
  • The Brexit Party +6.7 Gained
  • Liberal Democrat +2.8 Gained
  • Independent +1.2 Gained
  • UKIP -5.0 Lost
  • Labour -15.1 Lost

If you can't see the graphic click here

Mark Logan has been named the new MP for Bolton North East with a 378 majority while Christian Wakeford secured the seat in Bury South with a 402 majority.

Chris Clarkson is the new MP for Heywood and Middleton with a 663 majority while James Daly took Bury North with a 105 majority.

The night's results give the Tories nine seats in Greater Manchester, with increased majorities in Hazel Grove, Bolton West and Cheadle and a decreased one in Altrincham and Sale West.

Analysis

BBC reporter Kevin Fitzpatrick, at the Bury counts

It was the Conservatives who cheered in celebration at the end of a gruelling night.

After one full recount and another double check, they scraped to victory by the tightest of margins.

This was the icing on the cake for the Tories on a night which ended with them both gaining seats in Bury for the first time since 1997.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Labour's Lucy Powell has been re-elected as MP for Manchester Central

But while Labour's "red wall" has crumbled, the party has held on to the majority of its seats in Greater Manchester.

After being re-elected to her Manchester Central seat with a 29,089 majority, Labour MP Lucy Powell said the party needed to look "deeply and profoundly" at what went wrong.

She said: "That means an honest, objective, serious analysis about what has gone wrong and how we can reshape our party for the future so that we can once again deliver what the people of Manchester Central want and that is a Labour government doing radical and brilliant things for our city."

She was one of 18 Labour MPs to hold their seats in Greater Manchester, though all did so with reduced majorities.

The region also saw thousands of votes cast for The Brexit Party, with the group coming third in 12 of the 18 seats held by Labour.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rebecca Long-Bailey was elected as MP for Salford and Eccles in 2015

Rebecca Long-Bailey held her seat in Salford and Eccles with a decreased majority of 16,327.

A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, she had been seen in some quarters as the natural successor to the leader who pulled Labour to the left.

But as Labour's devastating night at the polls unfolded, she would not be drawn on whether she wanted to be the party's leader.

"It's not something that I'm thinking about, I think we need to get through tonight, see where the chips fall and then we will re-group as a party, assess what's happened and what the next steps need to be," she said.