Election 2017: Labour hold all three seats in Rotherham as MPs hail national 'turning point'

John Healey celebrates victory
John Healey celebrates victory
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Labour MPs in Rotherham hailed a national "turning point" against the Conservatives as all three won re-election.

RESULTS:

Rotherham:

Sarah Champion (Labour) - 21,404

James Bellis (Conservative) - 10,017

Allen Cowles (Ukip) - 3,316

Mick Bower (The Yorkshire Party) - 1,432

Adam Carter (Liberal Democrat) - 1,754

Rother Valley:

Kevin Barron (Labour) - 23,821

Bethan Eddy (Conservative) - 19,939

Lee Hunter (Ukip) - 3,704

Katie Pruszynski (Liberal Democrat) - 1,155

Paul Martin (Green Party) - 869

Wentworth and Dearne:

John Healey (Labour) - 28,547

Steven Jackson (Conservative) - 13,744

Janice Middleton (Liberal Democrat) - 1,656

STORY OF THE NIGHT:

Labour retained all of three seats in Rotherham, holding off a strong challenge from the Conservatives in Rother Valley.

Kevin Barron, who has represented Rother Valley since 1983, was re-elected with a reduced majority of 3,882, down from more than 7,000 in 2015.

But both Sarah Champion and John Healey increased their majorities in Rotherham and Wentworth & Dearne respectively.

Ukip finished second in all three constituencies at the last election but did not stand in Wentworth & Dearne and saw their vote collapse in both Rotherham and Rother Valley.

In all three constituencies, the Conservatives finished in second place.

In a passionate acceptance speech, Ms Champion said she believed the national results represent the beginning of a “turning point” against the Conservative Government.

“I have never been more proud to represent Rotherham over the past four years. Over the past four years, I have sat across from a party that has hammered this town and hammered this region,” she said.

“It has turned my stomach we have not been able to stop them in their excess.

“We have people sleeping in the streets, we have food banks, we have hate crime going through the roof because of the pressures being put on us by policy decisions the Tories have made. It enrages me.

“I have been waiting for the time this country wakes up and says enough is enough. I’m really proud that today, tonight, is that turning point.”

Mr Healey said he believes the national picture shows his party is on course to form a majority Labour Government “that so many millions of people badly want and need” at the next general election.

Mr Barron said the night’s results were unexpected.

“It is very strange what is happening nationally today, I can’t quite get my head around it.”

But he added that the Conservatives had miscalculated in calling an election.

“The issue of Brexit has hardly been mentioned on the doorstep in Rother Valley. People have been concerned about what is happening to their public services.”

Speaking earlier in the evening, Ms Champion said Jeremy Corbyn had managed to transform his ‘Marmite’ image over the course of the election campaign.

She said: “The hope was to present an alternative and we wanted to have a positive campaign and to sell a story of hope.

“When the election was called, personally my hope was to maintain the status quo - that would have been a win for me.

“That first two weeks of the campaign I have to say that particularly Jeremy on the doorstep was Marmite - people either loved him or hated him but they wanted to talk about him.

“As soon as he started to get more air time, people started listening and thinking he seems a decent man.

“From that point on, it is negligible the number of negative comments that there have been. People were very sure that Theresa May was a shoo-in but views on her started to shift as well. People spoke a lot on the doorstep about the fact she wasn’t going to do the leaders’ debate.”