Conservative Dan Watkins proud of his efforts despite losing to Labour’s Sadiq Khan in race for Tooting seat

Conservative candidate Dan Watkins was pleased with his campaign despite falling just short in his hopes of ousting Labour’s Sadiq Khan in Tooting.

In his first attempt at becoming a Member of Parliament, Mr Watkins won 22,421 votes, 2,842 behind Mr Khan, who earned his third consecutive term in the seat.

Despite the loss, Mr Watkins felt proud of his campaign and that how he had engaged with Tooting residents.

“I’ve really enjoyed the campaign and a lot of it was just about improving the community,” he said.

“All the campaigns I did with the high streets, the pubs, our green spaces, a lot of work with young people.

“People respect politicians who roll their sleeves up and actually improve their area, aside from party politics.

“It was nice to get that recognition because you have to work hard and when you’re not the MP, you’re just a candidate, you do it all as a volunteer and you put those hours in and that puts a lot of pressure on your life, but it was rewarding.”

He also enjoyed working alongside residents to carry out his various campaigns.

He said: “In Tooting there are so many residents who just want to engage in all of the campaigns and that’s been the nice thing.

“More than half of my campaigns have been me and residents getting involved, doing the hard graft, doing unpaid work and seeing it through to good conclusions.”

Looking at the larger picture, Mr Watkins feels the exit poll which suggested his party will be the largest party in the Commons is accurate.

“The exit poll is right, we’re the only party that can govern,” he said.

“It’s not going to be straightforward, it’s not going to be a majority and it might not even be a coalition but we’re way ahead of any other party so it has to be us.”

Mr Watkins was humbled with the support he received and while admitting he is hooked on the parliamentary race, he would not confirm if he will run next time around.

“It’s a great honour to just be a part of the process, obviously it’s my first attempt at a seat,” he said.

“It’s my home seat, I love Tooting and to think more than 20,000 people have voted for me is fantastic.

“I’ll have to consult with my wife about running next time, but I’ve certainly got a taste for it but I suppose you should consider these things after you’ve had a good sleep!”

Feature image courtesy of Tooting Conservatives, via Youtube, with thanks

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