Election 2015: Battle for Dewsbury lives up to hype

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The election battle for the Dewsbury constituency had been billed from the start as a two horse race, with both Labour and the Conservatives naming it as a key seat in their respective campaigns early on.

It was certainly the most talked about at Cathedral House in Huddersfield, where the results for the four Kirklees constituencies were returned.

Most national and constituency polls had pointed towards a win for Labour’s Paula Sherriff - a health worker and councillor for Pontefract North who was selected from an all-women shortlist back in November 2013.

Since then she has been on the campaign trail, arguing that the town deserved a ‘full-time MP’ and promising to act on unpopular services changes at its local hospital.

Nobody was taking it for granted though, with the only thing that every party agreed on being that the result was too close to call.

But shortly after 7am, the Labour was given some respite with news that it had won back the seat with a majority of 1,351.

Miss Sherriff said: “I know it’s been a very long evening and long morning for everybody. I would like to thank my amazing campaign team, many of which are here with me this evening.

“Above all, thanks to the voters. Thank you for believing in me and for believing in our policies.

“Dewsbury has been suffering for five years. People have been suffering. They deserve a full-time MP.”

After spending time with her parent, Miss Sherriff said she planned to hand in her notice at her current healthcare job.

“I said I would be a full-time MP from the minute I was selected for the seat. I will never do a minute’s paid work anywhere else. It wasn’t rhetoric.”

Conservative candidate Simon Reevell, who had served Dewsbury for the past five years, said: “I’m very grateful to those people who voted for me.

“I’m pleased the vote went up but just disappointed the Lib Dem switch meant we ended up with a Labour MP, but that’s the system we have.”

While Miss Sherriff and her own team had plenty to celebrate, it was inevitable that their would also be talk of the national picture and questions over Ed Miliband’s future for her to answer.

“It’s been a disappointing evening for the Labour Party but we will work together and find a way through,” she said.

“I think generally there has been a lot of political apathy. It’s about getting out there, continuing what we;ve been doing for the last 18 months. Getting out there, speaking to the constituents, finding out what their issues are.

“We also have to look at areas like Dewsbury. We’ve won here in Dewsbury with quite a resounding majority.”

Dewsbury result - Labour gain

Paula Sherriff (Labour) 22, 406

Simon Reevell (Conservative) 20,955

Mark Thackray (UK IP) 6,649

Ednan Hussain (Lib Dem) 1,924

Adrian Cruden (Green) 1,366

Richard Carter (Yorkshire First) 236

Steve Hakes (Christian Peoples Alliance) 94