Losing candidates in Mitcham and Morden were resolute but gracious in defeat as they spoke to South West Londoner following election results early this morning.
Conservative candidate Paul Holmes said: “I am very encouraged by the results because in areas we have been particularly working hard, such as Colliers Wood and Lower Morden we were polling quite strongly, there are good grounds for us to make gains in the 2018 local elections.
“I think that it’s a good result for us, it was looking hard in London, we were looking like there was going to be a swing to Labour, and there has been a swing to Labour in Mitcham and Morden, but our vote share has held steady.”
Mr Holmes is Parliamentary Advisor to Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, and intends to continue working and campaigning in the area.
He said: “I congratulate Siobhain McDonagh, I know she is a formidable opponent, but it doesn’t mean I am going anywhere she has made a promise tonight to residents to continue to make sure that Mitcham gets better and cleaner and I will be making sure she continues to deliver on that.”
Richard Hilton, the UKIP candidate, said that while the party is taking votes from Conservatives, in places around Merton, they’re taking just as many, if not more from Labour.
Mr Hilton believes that while this is a safe Labour seat, a growing number of disillusioned old Labour supporters are switching their allegiances.
“This is a strong Labour seat but I think people are waking up to Labour and there are a lot of disaffected old Labour voters coming over to us, and I am going to continue to push that message to them,” he said.
“We have had a five-fold increase in the UKIP vote, from around 850 votes to over 4,000. I am very happy with that result and I think that’s a reflection of how UKIP’s message is resonating in London,” he added.
“What we are seeing across the country is UKIP votes with massive swings, and given what everybody predicted for London and UKIP not doing so well, I am happy with that.”