Twickenham Liberal Democrat grandee Vince Cable stunned following ‘terrible night’ for party – video exclusive
As Vince Cable strode solemnly and silently into the night he knew his political career was in tatters having dramatically lost his once safe Twickenham seat by more than 2,000 votes.
On the eve of his 72nd birthday the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills lost a majority of more than 12,000 votes to suffer defeat at the hands of Conservative Tania Mathias.
A teary-eyed Dr Cable spoke only to say ‘goodnight’ as he left the count at Richmond College with his family, having been turfed out of a seat he held for 18 years.
His fall continued a shocking night for the Liberal Democrats who also lost Ed Davey from Kingston & Surbiton in south west London.
As he saw his long and distinguished career end before his eyes this stunned political veteran expressed few words.
“I just want to say for myself it’s been a marvellous experience and a great honour being an MP for this constituency,” Dr Cable said.
“Unfortunately this has been a terrible night for our party all over, though I’m absolutely sure we’re going to bounce back, both nationally and locally.”
They may bounce back as a party, but with a probable five years until the next election it is highly unlikely that Dr Cable will stand for election.
It seemed unimaginable on the campaign trail that he would be toppled – he held 54.4% of the vote in 2010 but lost thousands of votes as Labour, UKIP and the Green Party all made gains.
Despite his fall there was audible love for the Lib Dem man on the floor among candidates and counters alike – but the voters didn’t turn out for him.
Dr Mathias won 25,580 votes (41.26%) to Dr Cable’s 23,563 votes (38%) providing a huge swing back to the Tories – who last held Twickenham under Toby Jessel between 1970-1997.
Twickenham has made a bold choice, ousting a man who once a party leader and a respected figure at home and abroad.
“Thanks are due to a lot of other people, to the people who organised this event very efficiently, the returning officers and the staff and the police,” Dr Cable added.
“I want to give thanks above all to my army of volunteers who were brilliantly organised on the ground.
“No reflection on them for the result – the fact is we were hit by a very well organised national campaign based on people’s fear of a Labour government and the Scottish nationalists.
“We will see in the days what the implications are.”
Picture courtesy of Department for Business Innovation and Skills, with thanks