I have just returned home after an exhausting night at the count for the general election in Cambridge. It was a night of mixed emotions.
We have a result and first of all I offer my congratulations to Julian Huppert and the Liberal Democrat team in Cambridge. They have executed an extremely impressive campaign, mobilising grass roots support across the city. Julian has retained the Lib Dem vote at 2005 levels despite coming to the campaign late in the day and I am sure he will be a worthy successor to David Howarth.
I reserve my biggest compliments, however, for Nick Hillman who came in second with a massive increase in the Conservative vote.
Nick has almost single handedly driven his parliamentary campaign, having inherited a depleted and historically demoralised Association that is slowly rebuilding itself, welding together an effective team that has punched well above its weight. The entire Conservative campaign has been fought with a fraction of the resource and volunteer network of the Lib Dems, yet has netted more than 25% of the vote. We are well and truly back on the map!
It has been truly inspirational to work with Nick and I am proud of the very small part I have played in supporting the Conservative campaign in Cambridge.
The results themselves are well worth looking at in some detail:
The turnaround in the Conservative vote since 2005 is staggering, with a growth in vote share of over 9%.
The biggest losers are Labour with a fall of nearly 10%, while in terms of vote share the Lib Dems look slightly weaker than in 2005 having lost nearly 5% of their share of vote. On the other hand the Green party, led by Tony Juniper, have run a superb campaign and made serious inroads into the mainstream vote.
As Conservatives, although there is some heaviness of heart this morning, we can take courage from this resurgence in popularity which will provide a solid platform for the future, especially in the event of a “hung” parliament which could lead to the prospect of another general election campaign in less than 5 years.