Feltham and Heston election results: Seema Malhotra slams disastrous Labour night

By Mark Stillman
December 13 2019, 08.30

Labour MP Seema Malhotra labelled her party’s evening as disastrous despite her personal success in Feltham and Heston.

The constituency has been in Labour hands since 1992, and Ms Malhotra’s success saw her hold the safe seat with 52.03%, receiving 24,876 votes.

But the collapse of other Labour parties elsewhere tarnished her victory. The former Chief Secretary to the Treasury discovered her result soon after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would step down before the UK’s next General Election.

Ms Malhotra was elected in the 2011 by-election following the death of long-standing MP Alan Keen and, having secured the seat for a third time, she is now two shy of Keen’s five constituency wins.

But of her party’s overall performance, Ms Malhotra admitted: “This is a catastrophic defeat for the Labour Party. We’ve lost so many colleagues and it has set a very sombre tone.

“It is a turning point election with a very uncertain sense of direction for our country.

“I felt there was uncertainty during the election in the local community.

“Our job in parliament is to do our best to reunite the nation and make sure that we move forward in a way that is least damaging and risky for our country.

“It’s a defeat where I don’t believe we lost on the key arguments. People didn’t trust us on the other issues where they needed an answer. 

“I don’t think our message came across clearly enough.”

Ms Malhotra was honoured to be re-elected as a Member of Parliament when the results were announced at Brentford Leisure Centre. 

But having urged the Labour Party to get their house in order, the opposite occurred as seats tumbled across the UK, with Malhotra’s winning majority 9% weaker than her result in the 2017 General Election. 

Labour has held the Feltham and Heston seat for all bar nine years since 1974, when Patrick Ground’s Conservatives held power between 1983-1992.

Ms Malhotra said: “It has been a difficult election nationally with all the problems people have experienced locally.

“But for us, we campaigned all year until almost the very end tonight.

“I certainly know there’s a lot of work to do in parliament and the constituency.”

The 47-year-old has over 23,000 followers on Twitter but insisted that leaflet dropping and seeing people face-to-face is still her preferable approach. 

On the morning of the election, Ms Malhotra was still going the extra mile, visiting residents in Hounslow and Heston West.

She had previously told South West Londoner: “Talking to people who don’t agree with me are some of the most enriching conversations.

“You need the confidence to be prepared for whatever comes on the doorstep. People here generally share their views and they do so respectfully.”

Ms Malhotra added: “We’re going to continue to talk to residents.

“That’s what informs our work in parliament and what keeps us closely connected.

“I have the best team, and in really challenging circumstances they campaigned day after day, knocking on thousands of doors and delivering many thousands of leaflets.

“I could not be prouder of their incredible hard work and resolve.

“I think social media taking over is an incredibly dangerous step. People lose personal contact by communicating online, you don’t know whether you’re reading information or misinformation.

“There’s no substitute for good doorstop relationships and learning from people in those long conversations.”

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