Luciana Berger has held onto Wavertree for the Labour party after beating the Liberal Democrats’ Colin Eldridge in Liverpool’s key General Election battleground.
It was an overwhelming win for the Labour candidate, who took 20,132 votes to beat Eldridge by a margin of 7,167, as he polled fewer votes than he did in 2005 despite a huge publicity campaign locally.
Labour also retained their parliamentary seats in Garston and
Halewood, Riverside, Walton and West Derby, ensuring a
clean sweep of all five seats in the city.
In the local elections, the Labour party have also gained
control of Liverpool City Council from the Liberal Democrats.
Speaking after her victory in Wavertree, Berger said: “It’s been
a very, very tough campaign but the good people of Liverpool
Wavertree had a choice and they made a decision, putting
their trust in me.
“I am humbled by the honour and the responsibility of
representing the people of this constituency. I want to do
everything I can to attract jobs into the constituency, fight crime and anti-social behaviour, and defend our public services.”
Her win comes after a night of confusion at several polling centres in Wavertree, where officials ran out of ballot papers as voter turn-out proved to be unexpectedly high.
Before the result was announced, Eldridge described the situation as ”farcical” and suggested he may push for an inquiry into the result. He told JMU Journalism: “I rule nothing out for the future but it would look like we’re not going to make it this evening.”
After Berger’s victory was confirmed, Eldridge added: “I hope that as an MP she can do the city proud but obviously she’s got a lot to live up to. I hope she does her best for the people of this city because they deserve the best .”
During the campaign, Eldridge was tipped to take the seat from Labour, after Berger was heavily criticised for not knowing who legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was.
Elsewhere in the city, in Riverside, Labour’s Louise Ellman held on to her seat with a majority of 14,173. Turn-out, which was the lowest in the country in the 2001 and 2005 General Elections, was up to 52.05%.
In Walton, Steve Rotheram held on to Labour’s seat and replaces the retiring Peter Kilfoyle having won with a majority of 19,818. In West Derby, Labour’s Stephen Twigg replaces the retiring Robert Wareing having won with a majority of 18, 467. In Garston and Halewood, Labour’s Maria Eagle held on to her seat with a majority of 16,877, with turn-out up from 2005 to 60.05%.
Despite a bad night nationally, Labour's performance on Merseyside was particularly strong as they held on to parliamentary seats in Bootle, Knowsley, Halton, St Helens North, Wallasey, Birkenhead, Wirral South, St Helens South and Whiston and they won in the new constituency of Sefton Central.
However, they did lose Wirral West to the Conservatives whilst the Liberal Democrats held on to their solitary Merseyside seat in Southport.
By Hugh O'Connell, Website Producer Pictures by Vegard Grott, Photo Editor
JMU Journalism Election 2010
Conservative Andrew Garnett, Lib Dems' Colin Eldridge and Labour's Luciana Berger react to the result