Tories hold on to Pendle

Andrew Stephenson
Andrew Stephenson

Conservative Andrew Stephenson has retained his seat as the MP for Pendle, but with a much lower majority.

Mr Stephenson, who first became Pendle's MP in 2010, gained 21,986 votes, beating off the challenge of Labour's Wayne Blackburn who received 20,707.

It was a third General Election victory for Mr Stephenson who two years ago gained 20,978 votes, or 47.2% of the vote.

It proved to be a two horse race in Pendle with the third placed challenger, Liberal Democrat Gordon Lishman winning only 941 votes, the BNP's Brian Parker with 718 and the Green Party's Ian Barnett on 502.

Mr Stephenson first won the seat in 2010 when he usurped long-standing Pendle MP, Labour's Gordon Prentice.

Speaking after he was announced as the winner he said: "I would like to pay tribute to Wayne Blackburn. He was a strong and worthy opponent. When I was first elected to Pendle in 2010 I said it was the greatest honour of my life. It's been a huge honour to be returned a third time.

"I would like to thank my amazing agent Tom Watson and pay tribute to my incredible former agent and friend George Askew a year on from his death.

"Finally, I thank my parliamentary staff Alistair Gannon, Laura Schofield and Joe Cooney for their invaluable support. I'm looking forward to the next five years.

Labour's Wayne Blackburn, a relative newcomer to politics, reflected on his debut campaign, which he described as an "enjoyable experience".

The disability rights campaigner said: "I've really enjoyed the experience. We've run a very positive, issues-based campaign. I'm obviously disappointed to lose, but heartened by how close we came."

Liberal Democrat candidate Gordon Lishman said he was not surprised by the result, but added that Brexit had been an extra factor.

The former Director General of Age Concern England said: "We (the Lib Dems) are always squeezed in Labour Conservative marginals, as is the case here in Pendle.

"Nationally, I think the General Election has been like a throwback to the 1970s with some very polarised views.

"Regards Pendle and Andrew Stephenson, I think he has been a very visible MP but has not done enough on the issues that matter. He does not have enough substance."

British National Party candidate Brian Parker finished in fourth place with votes with Green Party candidate Ian Barnett gaining votes.

The turnout was 69.17%.