Labour’s Marsha De Cordova vowed to protect public services and champion the marginalised as she overcame an 8,000 Conservative majority to become Battersea’s new MP.
Ms De Cordova – Battersea’s first Labour MP since Conservative incumbent Jane Ellison won the seat in 2010 – attributed her surprise victory to a grassroots campaign, and insisted she would be a representative for all in Battersea.
In her victory speech, the Larkhill councillor highlighted her personal experience as she spoke about the need to improve the rights of and accessibility for disabled people.
She said: “As a visually-impaired person myself, I feel passionately about the rights of disabled people.
“Accessibility in our public places and on public transport still falls short of what is reasonable.
“I will use my time in parliament to lobby for improvements in these areas.
“In the fifth richest country in the world, there can be no excuses for leaving behind a large number of our citizens.”
With 25,292 votes, Labour received 6,500 more than in the 2015 election.
Their turnaround came mostly at the expense of the Conservatives, who went from a 52.4% majority of 26,730 to a 41.5% minority of 22,876.
UKIP also received 720 fewer votes, with 866 compared to 1,586.
Ms De Cordova applauded her team’s efforts in mobilising votes and spreading her message despite a modest campaign budget and asked her supporters to turn out next year to regain the local council.
She said: “We ran a really good grassroots campaign and we ran on issues that affect people’s lives everyday.
“Education, housing, health, security, policing and Brexit – these are all things people care about.
“The people of Battersea chose to elect me as their representative and I am going to do my best to represent everybody.
“Battersea has gone through so many changes recently and over the years.
“I want to make sure that groups and communities don’t get left behind, so I want to ensure that I can represent all of Battersea.
“Whether you voted for me or not, I will be there for you during my time in parliament.”
Ms De Cordova used her victory speech to criticise Conservative cuts to public services.
She also spoke of her opposition to the development of unaffordable housing in the area and her desire to work with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was on hand to give his congratulations.
She said: “Labour is the party for social justice in the UK.
“Our public services have been under attack by a Tory government that cares little about the many and that has proven that they only look after the few.
“They have tried to privatise our NHS through the back door but only Labour will undo this and undo those horrific measures.
“In Battersea, we have seen a huge amount of new housing but hardly any of these developments have been affordable and hardly any have been council or social homes.
“Developers have been able to advertise to foreign investors and profits have been placed before the needs of our community.
“I will work with the mayor, Sadiq Khan, to tackle this practice.”
The Liberal Democrats nearly doubled their votes from 2,241 to 4,401.
Their candidate Richard Davis said the result reflected the constituency’s dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the EU referendum and asked the next government to recognise this.
He said: “The main message that we are putting out that we are anti-hard Brexit has borne fruit.
“Theresa May went to the country asking for a democratic mandate for her hard Brexit.
“I hope the government will listen to that decision and actually listen to the way that people are voting.”