New Wimbledon MP Paul Kohler smiling at the camera

Liberal Democrats romp to monumental win in Wimbledon

Paul Kohler led the Liberal Democrats to a resounding win in Wimbledon in what many thought would be a much tighter seat.

Kohler achieved more than 45% of the vote and ended with more votes than the Conservative and Labour candidates combined.

Kohler had 24,790 votes, while Conservative candidate Danielle Dunfield-Prayero obtained 12,180 votes and Labour candidate Eleanor Stringer came in third with 11,733 votes.

After narrowly losing in the 2019 General Election, a mere 628 votes behind the Conservative Party, it was estimated to be a tight three-way battle between the Liberal Democrats, Labour Party and Conservatives.

But it turned out to a comfortable victory for Kohler.

He said: “It feels really exciting, having lost in 2019 by 628 votes we have been working on this ever since that day we lost.

“What I must do now as an MP is provide a constructive but critical opposition to a Labour Government and we need to keep them on the straight and narrow and keep them honest.

“Wimbledon is a diverse community with lots of opportunity and people who are outward looking who embrace the world and embrace Europe.  People that didn’t want Brexit and now want to reengage with Europe.”

Despite holding the seat since 2005, Conservative success in Wimbledon was doubted in the election build up, with their incumbent Stephen Hammond’s decision to step down from Parliament after 19 years in the seat.

And it showed in their results as Dunfield-Prayero only achieved 22.2% of the vote, more than 17% down on five years ago.

While it was initially believed Labour would closely rival the Liberal Democrats under Stringer, she obtained a mere 21.3% of the vote.

That was only a 0.5% increase from the last election.

Voter turnout in Wimbledon was one of the city’s highest, at 72%, however it was more than 4% down on 2019.

Pressing issues concerning the Wimbledon electorate included keeping Wimbledon police station open alongside controversial plans by the All England Club to build new facilities on Wimbledon Park.

The Liberal Democrats success in Wimbledon reflects a wider positive picture, with incoming positive election results showing predictions of wins in more than 60 constituencies.

They also won nearby seats in Kingston & Surbiton, Sutton & Cheam, Carshalton & Wallington, Richmond Park and Twickenham.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, who increased his majority in his seat of Kingston & Surbiton from 11,000 to 17,000, described the results as having the potential to be the party’s ‘best results for a century’.

Kohler said: “These victories show that London is a liberal city, and the south west of London personifies that.

“I will be a liberal MP fighting for liberal values across the capital, the country and the world.

“We always knew we were the main challengers of the Tories in Wimbledon, we carried on saying that and we’ve proved that.”

Liberal Democrat Merton councillor Anthony Fairclough, leader of the opposition in the council, said: “This gives us an incredible opportunity in a Parliament with a completely different government to take opposition in a progressive and radical direction.

“We do politics in a different way – it’s not easy to be elected as a Liberal Democrat and we carry that work ethic into everything that we do.”

Feature image of Paul Kohler, taken by Ruth Stainer

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