Conservatives are now the 'opposition'

Paul White thanks his supporters
Paul White thanks his supporters

The Conservatives recorded their best result in Burnley for 25 years as Paul White finished second to Labour.

Mr White polled 12,479 votes on the night, the most since Brenda Bridge’s 15,693 in 1992. It was the first time Conservatives had managed second place since 2001.

Speaking after the result, Mr White congratulated Julie Cooper on her win saying it has been a “clean and fairly fought campaign”.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the campaign here in Burnley. Obviously it is a huge increase in the Conservative vote in Burnley. The Conservatives are back as the opposition in Burnley.”

Mr White polled more than 7,105 votes than fellow Conservative candidate Sarah Cockburn-Price in 2015 and even before the result, he was confident the Tories were going to finish second.

“Labour voters have been saying to us they have been let down by Labour. Labour have taken the seat for granted for a very long time.

“We were knocking on doors and those doors hadn’t been knocked on for years and they were in Labour areas.

“We’ve seen the UKIP vote drop and the Lib Dem vote drop and the Tories are now the opposition here.”

UKIP’s Tom Commis said he was disappointed the party did not put up more of a showing especially considering they had won their first County Hall seat in the borough just a few weeks earlier.

“The campaign was really good but obviously it has been against a national background which has not been that good for us.”

He added: “I hope that Julie honours the commitment honouring the referendum where the people of Burnley voted to leave the European Union. I’m sure she will.”

The Green Party’s Laura Fisk said: “It has been an extraordinary election in extraordinary circumstances and it has been a pleasure to be involved in the democratic process.”