Justine Greening holds on to Putney among Conservative losses in SW London

Justine Greening has credited the rise in the youth vote for the return of a two-party race between the Conservatives and Labour.

She saw her share of the vote plunge by nearly ten percent but held onto her Putney seat with a narrow majority of just over 1,500 votes.

Turnout was more enthusiastic at 71.73% – up from 67% in the 2015 General Election.

The progessive alliance could have hampered her lead if the Greens had stepped aside and left their 1,100 votes to be mopped up by Labour  – who rejected any deals with other left parties.

Ms Greening said: “Obviously I’m disappointed that we didn’t win Tooting and that we lost Battersea.

“But I think it shows just how hard fought seats in London always are between the parties.

“The interesting thing – or two interesting things – are that young people are switching on and starting to use their vote and the political choice is between Labour and Conservatives again.

“Voters really understand the choice, perhaps more than we’ve seen in past elections.”

Ms Greening claimed a total of 20,679 votes, beating Labour’s Neeraj Patil who won 19,125.

Before parliament was dissolved she was Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.

As the first openly gay woman in a Conservative cabinet, Ms Greening also represents LGBT interests as the Minister for Equalities.

But her victory speech veered clear of party policies and instead praised the ‘fantastic privilege’ of serving as an MP and focused on UK voters uniting in the face of recent terror attacks.

She said: “This has been an election that has very much fallen in the shadow of terrorism, including here in London.

“In every community there have been votes cast for different parties but they’ve all had one thing in common  – every single vote has been a vote against those who want to threaten our way of life.

“For all of us who believe in our democracy that’s something that is hugely important.”

Ms Greening, who is the first person in her family to go to university and the first to be involved in politics, said how much opportunity and social mobility meant to her personally.

She added: “I got involved politics not because I wanted to make a big splash in but because I wanted to make a difference in my local community.

“I want to make a difference to my country and that’s why running for parliament, being part of our democracy and becoming an MP is one of the greatest privileges anyone can have bestowed on them in their lives.”

Ms Greening has been criticised on social media as ‘arrogant and patronising’ for blaming young voter mobilisation for the shock results in this election.

While Ms Greening has been returned safely in Putney, the national picture for the Conservative Party is much grimmer as the party looks set to miss out on the sweeping majority Prime Minister Theresa May wanted for her Brexit mandate.

In what has been described as ‘desperately disappointing night’ by top Conservatives even the PM’s position looks weak and wobbly despite her early hours speech about Tory stability.

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