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Labour's Graham Jones re-elected as Hyndburn MP with increased majority

The UK now faces a hung parliament after a night of high election drama

Graham Jones celebrates with his Labour party colleagues

Labour’s Graham Jones has been re-elected as Hyndburn MP with an increased majority after a night of high election drama.

Mr Jones received 24,120 votes - up 11pc from 18,076 in 2015 - and also increased his majority from 4,400 to 5,815, despite many predicting a much a closer election battle.

Conservative candidate Kevin Horkin finished with 18,305 votes and increased his share from two years ago by over 8pc, however it was not enough to overtake Labour after a disappointing night locally and nationally for the Tories.

The biggest loser of the night was undoubtedly UKIP who lost more than 7,000 votes from their ‘runaway success’ two years ago.

Janet Brown received 9,154 votes in 2015 - a 21.3pc share - however this had plummeted to just 1,953 votes with UKIP voters changing allegiances to either Labour or the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats candidate Les Jones received 824 votes, slightly down on the 859 the party received in 2015.

Voter turnout also fell in Hyndburn from 62.8pc at the last election to 61.98pc this year.

The UK now faces the prospect of a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party after the general election produced no overall winner.

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election to increase her majority appears to have backfired as the Tories now face having fewer seats than when she called the election.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Mrs May to stand down with the odds now slashed on Boris Johnson to become the next Tory leader and the potential for another election within months.

Speaking after his election win, Mr Jones said: “Obviously there’s a bit of enthusiasm and excitement about the result but I don’t think you can underestimate the amount of hard work that has gone into it, particularly off the back of the county council elections.

“It’s taken its toll and I do feel very tired.

“You are always happy when you increase your majority but you have got to take triumphs and defeat in equal measure.

“You never get complacent and I do appreciate the fact that I have won a third term.

“I thank the people of Hyndburn and Haslingden for electing me. My promise as always is a pretty simple promise, to work hard for this borough.

“Last time I got 18,000 votes and this time 24,000 people voted for me.

“I’m always grateful to every single person who has made a conscious decision to vote for me.

“The challenge I inherited 10 years ago was a divisive borough and I don’t want to see divisive politics. I want to see positive politics.

“I want to see people working together for the borough.”

Mr Jones said Mrs May’s decision to hold a snap election has ‘completely backfired’ and said ‘the nasty party is back’.

He said: “I think voters have made their minds up in the last 24 hours.

“I think this has completely backfired on her and I think it’s a toxic set of circumstances.

“She has run an abysmal campaign, a negative campaign and I think the voters have seen through that.

“I’m not attacking the Tories, it doesn’t matter which party does it.

“In Hyndburn we’ve had 20 leaflets all attacking Jeremy Corbyn day after day. People know Jeremy Corbyn has his faults, I know he has his faults, but our party can’t be anything other than hopeful.

“Theresa May’s six years as Home Secretary have been completely exposed.

“She had the arrogance to think the country could give her a landslide. Rather than look after the Union, she is more interested in the Tory party.

“The nasty party is back.”

Mr Jones, who has previously been a critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, conceded that he has been impressed by his election performance.

He said: “I think he has surprised a lot of people in the way that he has come across.

“He means what he says. He’s honest, whether you agree with him or disagree with him.

“Some of the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have gone too far.

“I think he has improved significantly and I don’t think anybody can take that away from him.

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as business as usual. We may end up in another general election in six to 12 months time.

“But we do have a strong opposition and I think that will be very helpful.”

Hyndburn council Conservative group leader Tony Dobson said Mrs May was wrong to hold another election and should have ‘kept the status quo’

Speaking after the exit poll was announced, he said: “From a national point of view Theresa May has not really shifted. When she called the election she was at the pinnacle with 43pc of the vote.

“What has really moved is a lot of people moving away from the Lib Dems and UKIP and probably liking what Jeremy Corbyn has had to say.

“Some of the policies he has made, as a narrative, have a lot of attraction to people. It’s when you get behind the narrative and into the detail of the policies and how they are being paid for that they don’t add up.

“When you’re so far ahead there’s only one way you can go.

“I think the lesson is when you are that far ahead that you keep the status quo. If you have 43pc of the vote then you keep that.

“Jeremy Corbyn was at his lowest point when the election was called and he was only going to go one way.”

Coun Dobson believes the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London have also hindered the Conservatives campaign.

He said: “I think it probably has affected us more than Labour because the Prime Minister was home secretary for six of the last seven years.

“I don’t think there’s any connection there particularly but it’s very easy to throw the narrative out there and to say there is a connection. I don’t think that has helped us.”

UKIP candidate Janet Brown feels ‘tactical voting’ played its part in the election and is npow ‘spoiling democracy’.

She said: “It’s what I thought would happen [a hung parliament].

“I wish people would have voted with their heart and not what they thought they had to vote to get something they really wanted.

“I feel they voted for someone because they didn’t want the other. It doesn’t give a true picture of what the nation is feeling.

“It gives false information to whoever is Prime Minister.

“It’s tactical voting. I just feel it’s spoiling democracy.”

Hyndburn UKIP councillor Paul Thompson has accused his own party of undermining their election campaign by encouraging voters to turn to the Conservatives.

He said: “From what I’ve seen there’s been a complete collapse of UKIP. But what can you do when your own party stabs you in the back?

“Nine years I have grafted for UKIP here in Hyndburn. They are telling my lads to go out and vote Conservative. What kind of party does that to its own people?

“Obviously in 2015 there were different factors, we had different leaders and UKIP was doing exceptionally well.

“Everybody thought the UKIP vote would got to the Conservatives but I think it will be a mix.

“The younger voters have come out in force for Labour so they can get the extra holidays and free university tuition fees.

“I won’t give up in Hyndburn. Nationally I don’t know what will happen. If it does collapse then I will form an independent party.”

Results in full:

Graham Jones, Labour: 24,120

Kevin Horkin, Conservatives: 18,305

Janet Brown, UKIP: 1,953

Les Jones, Lib Dems: 824

Turnout: 61.98pc

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