Tactical Labour voting sees Lib Dems win ending Conservative’s Kingston and Surbiton reign

Tactical voting from Labour supporters saw Kingston and Surbiton’s Conservative reign end in the snap General Election.

Conservative James Berry kept a brave face as Liberal Democrat Sir Ed Davey won back the seat which he previously held for 18 years until 2015.

Sir Ed won with a majority of 4,124, in what was originally thought to be a close battle.

Losing Labour candidate Laurie South claimed the reversal was down to the constituency’s Labour supporters preferring a Liberal Democrat in the seat to a Conservative.

Mr South said: “On the doorstep a lot of people just didn’t want the Tories, certainly a lot of Labour supporters said ‘we’d like to vote Labour but actually we’d still rather not have the Tories, so we’re going to hold our nose and vote Lib Dem’.

“Cuts to schools, cuts to hospitals, cuts to welfare, the unfairness, the inequality, those were the issues that really exercised people, which is why they did not want to see the Tories back again.”

Labour made a modest gain of 629 votes compared to 2015, but Mr South was overjoyed with the national outcome.

Mr Berry thought the capital was a significant Labour stronghold, and the war would be won elsewhere.

He said: “In London we’ve seen Labour doing very well and I think that was probably to be expected, they were always going to outperform us.”

Although it was too early for certainty, Mr Berry said: “I’m sure Theresa May will be the leader of the biggest party, and she’ll still be the leader of the Conservative party, and the prime minister this morning.”

Mr South countered this: “They fought the most atrocious campaign imaginable, I really think if Labour fought a campaign that bad they would have been ripped apart.

“It would be very hard for her to have any authority, she was really trying to reassert her authority on the extreme right of her party, and frankly she’s made a hash of it.”

On his future in politics, Mr Berry said: “I’ve got absolutely no idea, I only found out the result about half an hour ago so I haven’t even given that a thought yet.”

Underdog on the night, ‘Chinners’ from the Monster Raving Loony Party, summed up the night by claiming nothing would change.

“I think we’ve just wasted our time having a general election really,” he said.

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