Conservatives win back Peterborough as Paul Bristow takes seat

The Conservatives have won back the Peterborough seat after a victory for candidate Paul Bristow.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 2:27 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 3:06 am

Mr Bristow, the managing director of a communication business specialising in healthcare, defeated Labour’s Lisa Forbes who had won the seat at a by-election as recently as June.

It marks the first victory for the Tories in Peterborough since 2015 and snaps a run of two straight defeats to Labour.

Mr Bristow took 46.6 per cent of the vote, compared to 41.2 per cent for Ms Forbes whose six month tenure as MP has come to an end. The winning margin was 2,580.

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Paul Bristow celebrates his election victory

The turnout was 66 per cent with 82.6 per cent of postal votes returned.

In comparison, turnout was 48.4 per cent at the by-election and 66.7 per cent in 2017.

Victory for Mr Bristow, who had previously contested a seat in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, marks a turnaround from June where he came third behind both Ms Forbes and Mike Greene of the Brexit Party.

Ms Forbes had won the seat by 683 votes but the Conservatives were always confident of a stronger performance this time around.

Mr Bristow giving his victory speech

The party had held the seat between 2005 and 2017 under Stewart Jackson before he was defeated by Labour’s Fiona Onasanya.

However, it was Ms Onasanya’s prison sentence for perverting the course of justice - after she was found guilty of lying over speeding points - which triggered the by-election after her constituents sacked her through a recall petition.

The Tories had sent a number of Cabinet ministers to Peterborough during the election campaign, including Chancellor Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Priti Patel, as they targeted victory.

And Mr Bristow’s win appears to be mirroring the national picture, with the Conservatives on course for a large majority.

Mr Bristow said: “Peterborough is my city. It’s where I grew up and it’s now where I make my home and to be MP for your home city is something very special indeed. I am deeply conscious of the responsibility the people of Peterborough have placed on me.”

Mr Bristow thanked the Acting Returning Officer Gillian Beasley, police and count staff and paid tribute to his team.

He added: “We have been outgunned by Labour shipping in Momentum activists today but we have fought to the bitter end and got the result we deserved.”

Mr Bristow also thanked his parents and wife Sarah who is due to give birth tomorrow.

Ms Forbes said she was “bitterly disappointed” by the result but congratulated Mr Bristow on his win.

Liberal Democrat Beki Sellick (4.9 per cent) took third place ahead of Mr Greene (4.4 per cent) whose vote share slumped compared to the by-election. However, no candidate other than the top two kept their deposit.

Mr Greene tweeted: “I may not have seen the result I would’ve liked for Pboro but Democracy has been served.... The country & Pboro have made their choice & I wish them well. 2020 will be a great yr spending more time with my family/business. I just wish & hope Paul serves Pboro well in Westminster.”

At the by-election, Ms Forbes won 31 per cent of the vote, compared to 29 per cent for Mr Greene and 21 per cent for Mr Bristow.

RESULT:

Paul Bristow (Conservative) - 22,334

Lisa Forbes (Labour) - 19,754

Beki Sellick (Liberal Democrats - To Stop Brexit) - 2,334

Mike Greene (Brexit Party) - 2,127

Joseph Wells (Green Party) - 728

Luke Ferguson (independent) - 260

Tom Rogers (Christian Peoples Alliance) - 151

The Very Raving Mr P (Monster Raving Loony Party) - 113

Turnout: 66%