Sir Alan Duncan’s jubilation at being returned as Rutland and Melton MP for a sixth term, with an increased majority, were tempered by news of surprising losses for his Conservative party across the UK.
By the time Sir Alan’s victory was confirmed at the General Election count at around 4.20am at Melton Cattle Market on Thursday, it was already becoming clear that Prime Minister Theresa May was not going to secure an overall majority in the House of Commons.
After he was congratulated by fellow candidates and party supporters, the 60-year-old learned he had secured his biggest ever share of the vote in this constituency.
Sir Alan retained his seat by polling 36,169 votes, which equated to 62.8 per cent of the votes, increasing his majority by 7.2 per cent.
The results represented his largest vote share since he received 59 per cent when he was first elected back in 1992.
Moments after the result was announced, Sir Alan told the Melton Times: “I’m pleased to have been re-elected with an increased majority.
“Conservative support remains very strong in Rutland and Melton.”
It was clearly a case of mixed feelings for Sir Alan, however, with Mrs May’s weakened position at Westminster.
“Nationally, the picture is more confusing,” she said.
“We’ve lost seats in places but we’ve also done well in Scotland.”
He said he continued to back the Prime Minister despite the Tories being faced with forming a coalition on the back of her decision to call a snap election.
Sir Alan said he wants Mrs May to continue in her post with the need to conduct Brexit negotiations in the near future.
He said: “We need continuity in our government at this time.
“I support Theresa May. I am a loyal Conservative.”
A surge in support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was mirrored in the Rutland and Melton constituency with Dr Heather Peto winning a bigger increase in the 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.
At the count, 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, chair of the Rutland and Melton Constituency Labour Party, said more young people appeared to be voting and many of them had voted 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.Ed Reynolds finished in third place for the Liberal Democrats, slightly increasing his share of the vote from 2015.
Returning officer for the election was new Mayor of Melton, Councillor Tejpal Bains, the youngest to hold the civic post at the age of 27, who revealed turnout was up 5% to 73.4%.
He said: “There has clearly been a greater youth participation in the vote this year. As a young person myself I am really glad to see more young people engaged in politics, regardless of party.”