Kidderminster hospital campaigner Richard Taylor has held onto his seat with a
5,000 majority. For more details on the local situation there, see Natasha Grzincic's recent articlein Red Pepper.
The only thing I regretted about Portillo losing in '97 was that it had to be to Stephen Twigg. Over the years he hasn’t given me any reason to regret my regret with his votes for the Iraq war, ID cards, top up fees for students and let’s not forget foundation hospitals. And now he loses to a bloody Tory. FO
Respect's candidate Abdul Khaliq Mian came a respectable second in East Ham, with 8,171 votes and 20.7% of the votes. In Wests Ham, Respect's Lindsey German gained 6,039 votes and 19.5% of the vote - also in second place. Both candidates remained a long way behind Labour, though.
The Labour press office is now reporting that Oona King has lost. Our sources with the Galloway camp are more optimistic now too - although their latest word is still that its too close to call.
The Sedgefield result, in case you missed it: anti-war independent Reg Keys got 4,252 (20,000 short of Blair's vote).
The Scottish Green Party (SGP) are doing better than they thought gaining between 2% and 7% of the vote. Interestingly, where the Scottish Socialist Party are also standing the Greens are consistently doing better. Edinburgh North, Leith and Glasgow North are still to declare but expected to have good results for the Greens. The SGP are not holding out for seats in 2005 but Stan, from the SGP press office, is optimistic for the Scottish Elections in 2007. FO
You may remember Tariq Ali's advice in Red Pepper to Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem. It seems the voters in Hornsey and Wood Green have done just that: a massive swing to the Lib Dems, up 17.5%. Their candidate Lynne Featherstone achieved 20,512 votes, with Barbara Roche down 11.6% at 18,117.
Sylvia Dunn is a Romani gypsy standing
against Michael Howard in Folkestone. She told Red Pepper:
"We all know what Michael Howard did when he was Home Secretary, when the Tories passed the Criminal Justice Act which made criminals of gypsies and one parent families.
"Their approach to gypsies then and now is an incitement to racial hatred. Its made people think they can do anything, its
dehumanising us. That’s a slippery road.
"Labour, by contrast, is at least listening and trying to come to
some conclusions. We're getting somewhere - for example, through the House of Lords Advisory Committee which I'm a member of. When we actually get to talk to them, they realise that most of our community is hardworking and are taxpayers.
"There's still a long way to go. When we apply for planning permission 80% of our applications are turned down, but the figures are only 20% for the settled community.
When it comes to retrospective planning permission, that's done out of need - and the need
"When our children are born with no legal place to stay they are
born criminals. We keen to get our kids an education so that they can realise
their full potential. But there's still a lot of prejudice - even when our girls go for a checkout job
they can't even get an interview. We can't let that go on.
"I doubt we'll get much of a vote here in Folkstone, and we've learnt that we could do with better publicity and more canvassers in future. But as long as people don't vote for the Conservatives, that doesn't matter as much. We didn't expect much from this election. But I just wanted to stand on the same platform as Michael Howard and prove to him that he can't shift me.
"In future, we'll encourage youg gypsies to come forward and will try to help them to get elected. Gypsies are becoming more politicised so we'll have quite some support in a few years."
Someone at the BBC has a sense of humour - they've sent Iraq war correspondent Ragi Omar to Bethnal Green & Bow to report on the outcome of the Galloway vs. King bout (or 'slugfest' as he described it). He's reported on the BBC that "Its not looking very good for Labour here." But a Red Pepper correspondent at the Galloway campaign HQ reports early predictions that the Respect candidate may not have done enough, despite positive feedback on the doorstep throughout the day and clear signs of an electorate politicised by the Iraq war. The result for this one is expected around 2am. OR
Babar Ahmed is standing for the Peace
and Progress Party in the London seat of Brent North. Unlike most candidates, he hasn't been out and about on the campaign trail as his bid for election is being conducted from behind the walls of Belmarsh high security prison, dubbed 'Britain's Guantanamo'. We caught up with Uzma Qureshi, his wife and election agent, tonight just after polls closed.
"Babar's candidacy is unique because he is standing purely on issues of
justice and human rights. We wanted to use the campaign to raise awareness of his case, and also to raise the profile of these issues so that all candidates in Brent North start to address them. We're saying that a vote for Babar is a vote for justice.
"The responses on the doorstep during the campaign have been generally been positive and many people have been affected by his case.
"Support from the Muslim community has been very good, because many people have been victims of
anti-terror laws and feel demonised by them.
"There's also been a lot of support in Tooting, where Babar lives, including a very positive response from the Labour candidate there Sadiq Khan.
"The campaign won't finish
even if Babar comes home tomorrow, because the anti-terror measures affect many others.
They are principally targeting the British Muslim community.
"These laws have spread a real climate of fear. The statistics speak for themselves with over 700 people arrested so far,
but very few convictions. That's a stark difference.
"We still haven't seen justice after Babar was assaulted during his arrest [in December 2003] and the recent tribunal against the arresting officer was like a mock trial. The police officers who took him were told that Babar was as dangerous
as Kamel Bourgas. That's ridiculous and raises serious questions about the police 'intelligence' - Baber has no criminal record, not even so much as a parking ticket or points on his license, and no record of violence at all." OR