General Election - Brentford and Isleworth

First published in News by

ANN Keen, the reigning Labour MP, managed to hold onto the seat of Brentford and Isleworth despite losing one in five of her voters.

The collapse in the Labour vote - 12.5 per cent of the overall vote from 2001 - split a number of ways, so despite the loss of popularity for Mrs Keen (her 18,329 votes this time around compared to over 32,000 when she came to power in 1997) she was able retain the seat.

The 18,329 votes was just 78.6 per cent of the 23,275 votes she gained in 2001 meaning almost one in five of her voters deserted her since last time around.

In her speech, Mrs Keen put the victory down to her case work in the constituency - which she said had numbered over 13,000, adding: "This general election was a vote for continued investment in our public services such as health and education - people like the investment that has gone in, they welcome it."

She also said that she would be calling for an inquiry into why a number of people weren't allowed to vote - following clerical errors at Hounslow Council.

Most of her opponents used their speeches to thank the other parties' representatives for attending the local hustings meetings and debating the issues with them - most of them noting that Mrs Keen had not attended any of them.

While her nearest challenger was predictably the conservative candidate Alexander Northcote with over 30 per cent of the vote, the most dramatic shift in voting habits was the surge in support for the Liberal Democrats.

Their representative, Andrew Dakers, achieved a remarkable 9.3 per cent swing polling 10,477 votes - the party's best results in the borough of Hounslow since World War II - giving credit to the party's suggestions that three party politics are very much alive in this constituency now.

Mr Dakers said: "This is a phenomenal result for us. The 9.3 per cent swing shows people are increasingly recognising us as the real alternative in Hounslow. With this rate of growth we will be serious challengers to Labour in next year's local elections, as well as the next parliamentary elections.

"I do hope that in her next term Ann Keen will build on her advocacy of the Make Poverty History campaign, by lobbying within the Labour party for the UK to back a just framework for the next international climate change treaty. This is now urgent and - as proposed by the Global Commons Institute - must be designed on an equitable basis."

Another startling result was the 1,118 votes gained by the Community Group candidate Phil Andrews - currently a councillor in Isleworth. Of the 59 independent candidates throughout Greater London his vote was the second highest.

He said: "We learned a lot from this campaign but it was always going to be something of a sideshow for us.

"The main event will be the local elections next year, and we will be far better prepared for those as a result of this experience. In that respect the whole campaign was a resounding success for the ICG."

Electorate 84,366 Turnout 46,017: 54.5% Keen, Ann: Labour 18,329 / 39.8% (2001: 23,275) -12.5% Northcote, Alexander 13,918 / 30.2% (2001: 12,957) +1.1 Dakers, Andrew 10,477 / 22.8% (2001: 5,994) +9.3 Hunt, Green 1,653 / 3.6% (2001: 1,324) +0.6 Andrews, Phil: Community Group 1,118 / 2.4% (2001, DNS) Stoneman, Michael: National Front 523 / 1.1% (2001, DNS) No other candidates 154 votes were spoiled LABOUR HOLDS: Majority 4,411 / 9.6%

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