Big gains for Labour as transgender candidate wins back second place for the party in Rutland and Melton

Dr Heather Peto, Labour's Melton candidate for the General Election, with party supporter Matthew O'Callaghan EMN-170906-071846001
Dr Heather Peto, Labour's Melton candidate for the General Election, with party supporter Matthew O'Callaghan EMN-170906-071846001

A surge in support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was mirrored in the Rutland and Melton constituency with Dr Heather Peto winning a bigger increased share of the vote than any other candidate.

Dr Peto, the first transgender person to stand in the constituency, polled 13,065 votes and 22.7 per cent of the overall vote.

She increased the Labour vote by 7.3 per cent and reclaimed second position after the party was beaten into third place two years ago by UKIP.

Dr Peto told the Melton Times: “It was a surprise to see the Exit Poll showing that the Tories would not win a majority.

“But my feeling has grown that things were looking a lot more positive for Labour.

“I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that young people are a lot more enthused about politics and many of them are Labour supporters.”

Matthew O’Callaghan, a senior party official for Rutland and Melton Labour, said more young people appeared to be voting and many of them would be voting for his party.

“Heather has done very well and won back second place for us in the constituency,” he said.

“We actually won half as many votes again this time which I am very pleased about.

“We have certainly found that younger voters have been coming to Labour which can only be good for the future.”

It was a disastrous night for the UKIP party in Rutland and Melton as their share of the vote plummeted 12.6 per cent.

Candidate John Scutter left Melton Cattle Market, where the count was conducted, hours before the result was announced, disillusioned with the party’s showing.

He trailed in fourth place with only 1,869 votes, narrowly ahead of Green candidate Alastair McQuillan.

Conservative Sir Alan Duncan was re-elected for a sixth term as MP, polling 62.8 per cent and increasing his share of the vote by 7.2 per cent.