General election: Bedfordshire round-up

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In a dramatic evening last Thursday, Bedford and Kempston turned red as Labour candidate Mohammed Yasin took the constituency.

The events unfolded at around 3am when it was announced that Mr Yasin was the new MP.

With only 791 votes in it, the councillor came out on top, breaking Richard Fuller’s seven year reign as MP.

MP Mr Yasin said: “I’m just a normal working class person. I’ve lived here for 25 years, I’m a councillor and taxi driver, and I’ve got two children at local schools.”

He stressed the importance of the future of the NHS when voters were making their minds up.

Defeated Mr Fuller paid tribute to Mohammed Yasin for his victory and thanked his staff for their “outstanding job”.

He also thanked the people of Bedford and Kempston for giving him the chance to be their MP over the last seven years.

“Sometimes you can’t make the world what you wish,” he said.

“The lesson of life is not to dwell on it but to learn from those things and move on.”

“The public have spoken. And as always, you have to accept what they’ve said.

“Over the last month we’ve run an excellent campaign, and I think I’ve been able to point to lots of positive things we’ve achieved over the last seven years, from securing services at the hospital to ensuring there is more choice of schools and championing small businesses.”

This is the first time Labour have won in Bedford without gaining a majority nationwide.

Mr Yasin clinched 22,712 votes, ahead of 21,923 votes for his Conservative rival.

Meanwhile Liberal Democrate candidate Henry Vann received 2,837 votes and Lucy Bywater, the Green candidate, had 1,008 votes.

Alistair Burt retained his North East Bedfordshire seat with a huge 20,862 lead over runner up Julian Vaughan for Labour.

This is a marked increase in Mr Burt’s share of the vote, although Labour almost doubled their tally too.

The Lib Dems remained more or less static, and UKIP lost about 80 per cent of their vote.

Alistair Burt thanked all counting agents on behalf of every candidate, paid tribute to police and security staff too, as well as the other candidates.

“The campaign has been handled, as it almost always is in North East Beds, without almost any rancour at all,” he said.

There was a thank you to the constituents, and to his wife Eve too.

Conservative candidate Nadine Dorries reclaimed the Mid Bedfordshire seat.

However her massive lead over the other candidates reduced by more than 2,000 votes.

As turnout increased the beneficiaries were the two main political parties.

Winner Ms Dorries piled up 38,936 votes, with Labour almost doubling their tally compared to 2015.

Labour’s Rhiannon Meades came second in the polling with 17,954 votes.

On her return as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries said: “I am delighted to be elected as the member of parliament for the fourth time in Mid Bedfordshire.

“I know all the other candidates will also have worked really hard as we all have and I would like to say thank you to everybody that has worked so hard this election.”

Three other candidates polled a total of 6,259 votes as turnout soared to 75 per cent. There were 185 spoilt ballot papers.