Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan almost doubles previous votes in Labour triumph

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan won by almost twice as many votes this morning as she did in the 2016 by-election.

The Labour candidate won a total of 34,694 votes, almost doubling last year’s result of 17,894 and roundly defeating the Conservative Dan Watkins, who won 19,236 votes, for the second time.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited the Wandsworth count and celebrated Dr Allin-Khan’s victory in his former seat.

Dr Allin-Khan said: “I think we fought a really good, hard campaign and the people of tooting have put their faith in me.

“They’re saying they want an NHS that works they want a fully-funded education system for Tooting children so that every child can have a good start in life, and they don’t want Theresa May’s version of a hard Brexit.

“It is a victory for every person in Tooting who wants better than this conservative government is giving them. A Labour government is exactly what this country needs.”

She argued that although Brexit has been a key issue in this election, just as important to voters on the doors were NHS and education cuts.

Hospital funding is a particular concern in the constituency where St George’s Hospital is an important employer.

Nationwide the number of young people turning out to vote in this election is expected to improve Labour’s performance and Dr Allin-Khan believed that this was partly responsible for her increased majority.

Turnout was also much higher than the by-election as 58,171 people voted compared with 32,048 in 2016.

She said: “People have realised this is about power.

“Record numbers of young [people] have voted and we’ve really pushed hard to make people understand that this is a vote for a better future for them and they have gone out and voted.”

Voters outside the polling station had noticed how present she was in the build up to the election and on the day itself on the streets around Tooting Broadway it was difficult to avoid the Labour campaigners.

Sophie Grender, a voter in her 40s, said: “She is a good local candidate because she has a really good understanding of the local issues.”

One 30-year-old man, who had switched from the Conservatives to Labour for the first time, said: “Labour is the lesser of two evils.

“What with the cuts to the public services I just do not want a Tory majority, it scares me that they would run amok.

Rumours that Labour had held the seat began to filter through early in the count and it became a question of not whether she would hold the seat but how much by.

Sadiq Khan arrived with Dr Allin-Khan at about 1am and although he initially declined to speak with the press he was soon taking selfies with Labour loyalists.

Mr Khan has been an important figure in this election, with his face appearing prominently on Dr Allin-Khan’s promotional material and tweets.

However she did not comment on whether this was a victory for Jeremy Corbyn or Sadiq Khan but instead said it was a victory for her activists and volunteers.

She used her victory speech to stress her connection with Tooting and attack Theresa May.

She plans to celebrate her win by spending time with her husband and two young daughters after a tiring campaign.

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