LONDON ELECTION 2012: Conservative Roger Evans secures narrow victory in Havering and Redbridge


Conservative candidate Roger Evans has held his London Assembly seat for Havering and Redbridge in a close battle with Labour.


By SWLondoner staff

Conservative candidate Roger Evans has held his London Assembly seat for Havering and Redbridge with a narrowvictory over Labour’s Mandy Marie Richards.

Evans picked up 53,285 of the vote, announced at London’s ExCel Centre, while Richards fell just short with 49,387.

The result was another disappointment for the Liberal Democrats, with their candidate Farrukh Jamal Islam gaining only 6,435 votes and finishing in fifth place.

The Fresh Choice for London candidate Lawrence James Webb came in third place with 9,471 votes narrowly beating Residents’ Association of London candidate Malvin Paul Brown who finished with 8,239.

Evans, who has held the seat since 2000, has now held off four different Labour candidates, after defeating Chris Robbins, Keith Darvill and Balvinder Saund in the previous three London Assembly elections.

Evans said of the result: “That was close! It’s been a nightmarish few months, but difficulties were expected.

“It’s the first election with the Conservatives in government so there was always going to be a protest vote.

“We were assailed by the far right, particularly UKIP who ate into my majority.

“I wouldn’t say it was a rejection of the government’s policies as such, but clearly people are concerned at segments of it, and we need to listen to them.”

With regards to policies he intends to instigate, Evans said: “I’m very keen to reduce council tax for residents, it’s very important when prices are going up.

“Politicians are never satisfied, but it was William Hague who said there is no such thing as a disappointing victory. There are lessons that need to be learned.”

Evans refused to shake hands with Robert Taylor today, leading the BNP candidate swearing at him as he took to the stage.

While Richards failed to win the Havering and Redbridge seat, she did manage to achieve a significant swing towards Labour.

“I think this was definitely a protest vote and it speaks volumes about the Tories,” she said.

“Today was a brilliant experience as a first time candidate, and voters have sent a strong message, we need a change of direction.

“The Tories were extremely worried because this is such a safe seat.

“To get a 30% swing is amazing and we can be really proud of ourselves.

“Voters feel they have been hood-winked by a coalition they didn’t vote for, and who are making decisions on their behalf.

“Pensioners and young people’s futures are being jeopardised, the young are being told they are a lost generation.

“You can see from the protests and civil unrest that people are unhappy.”

With regards to next steps, she said: “We will encourage investment in Havering and this is the platform we campaigned in.

“We want to take the mayor to task over his policies and he will be powerless in an assembly made up of so many Labour candidates.

“My next aim is for the 2014 General Election.

“I will speak to the powers that be in the party, and this has given me an understanding of what to expect in a General Election.”

While Richards failed to win the Havering and Redbridge seat, she did manage to achieve a significant swing towards Labour.

Evans is a member of both Havering Council and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Board and until 2008 he was the Conservative spokesman for Transport and the Chairman of the Transport Committee.

In the race for London Mayor, Havering and Redbridge voted strongly in favour of Boris Johnson, making his chances of being re-elected look positive.

Reporting team: Peter Apps, Andrew Baber, Tristan Carlyle, Robin Jellis, Jennifer Morris & Nate Saunders


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