General Election 2015: James Berry vows to follow outgoing Ed Davey’s example in Kingston & Surbiton
Conservative James Berry paid tribute to his late father on being named the new MP for Kingston and Surbiton after beating Ed Davey in a shock result for the Liberal Democrat, who had previously reigned for 18 years.
Mr Berry, 30, won with 23,249 votes compared to 20,415 for Mr Davey, with Labour candidate Lee Godfrey a distant third.
Speaking exclusively to SW Londoner, Mr Berry maintained that the seat was always a Conservative bastion despite its reputation as a Lib Dem stronghold.
He said: “The Lib Dems managed to sneak through in 1997 and Ed was able to get a large majority after that by working hard as a local MP.”
The Harvard law graduate described his victory as a significant blow for his main opponent’s party, which has suffered catastrophic losses across the country today.
But he insisted the election had been contested on local policies, including bringing Crossrail 2 into Kingston and increasing the choice of quality school places.
“It wouldn’t matter to me if Mr Davey were a backbench MP or the Prime Minister, I’d have fought my election the same way.”
He added: “Having spent many months knocking on doors, the residents of Kingston and Surbiton can expect an MP who will listen to what they say, be responsive to their needs and be accessible.
“I will focus on the issues I’ve campaigned on and now feel that I have a mandate to put forward.”
In the run-up to the election, Mr Berry visited ID card company Databac, reinforcing his pledge to put small and medium-sized businesses first.
Last year he successfully introduced a 30-minute free parking scheme in Kingston and Surbiton.
“I want to thank the people of Kingston and Surbiton who put their faith in me,” he said.
“What tonight’s turnout does show is that democracy is very much alive and kicking.”
Mr Berry paid tribute to his dad, who passed away just two days after he was chosen to fight for the seat.
“If I hadn’t won tonight he would have told me there are no prizes for coming second.”
It is the first time the Conservatives have held the seat since the constituencies of Kingston and Surbiton were combined in 1997.