‘Labour, Female, Geordie’ Re-Elected
Chi Onwurah has been re-elected as member of Parliament for the Newcastle Upon Tyne Central constituency for a fourth term.
For just a few minutes after 11.27pm on Thursday she was the country’s only MP, as Newcastle became the first of 650 constituencies to declare the result of its count, narrowly pipping Houghton & Sunderland South for the honour.
“For a moment, the entire British Parliament is Labour, female and Geordie”, she quipped, before adding sombrely, “If only it could remain so”.
She was referring to the Exit poll, (paid for by TV broadcasters) released after polling stations closed at 10pm, and widely regarded as a fairly reliable (although not always entirely accurate) indicator of the final result. It showed a Labour defeat on a scale not seen since the days of the emerging recovery from the Great Depression of the early 1930s. Although the prediction was not quite as dire as predicted by the poll, the Conservative victory nationally was overwhelming.
Onwurah has proved an increasingly popular politician locally however. She was first elected in 2010, taking 46% of the vote share, but increased this in subsequent elections and by 2017 her vote share was up to 65%.
In this year’s election, her share of the vote dropped for the first time, to 57.6%, on a night that saw the Labour Party elsewhere in the north of England routed.
It was easily more than enough to see off the 25% won by Conservative challenger, Emily Payne, a London councillor with work, education and family ties to Newcastle.
The newly-formed (and soon to be disbanded) Brexit Party (a private company) took 6.8% of the vote, whilst the Liberal Democrats managed to halt a slide in electoral fortunes of recent years, taking 7.2%.
Tay Pitman was able to restore some pride for the Green Party after their poor performance in 2017, making a 2% gain this time around.
Despite the colder than normal weather for a general election, voter turnout was seemingly unaffected, and higher than it has generally been in recent years, with 65% of those registered to vote taking part.
2019 Newcastle Upon Tyne Central Election Fact File
Turnout 64.8%, down 2.2% on last election in 2017, 37,474 validated votes
Labour Chi Onwurah, vote share 57.6%, down 7.3%, majority 12,278, total votes 21,568
Conservative Emily Payne, vote share 24.8%, up 0.2%, total votes 9,290
Liberal Democrats Ali Avaei, vote share 7.2%, up 2.3%, total votes 2,709
Brexit Party Mark Griffin, vote share 6.8%, total votes 2,542
Green Party Tay Pitman, vote share 3.6%, up 2%, total votes 1,365