Warwick and Leamington’s new Labour MP Matt Western spoke to the Courier in the early hours of this morning about his surprise victory in the General Election.
Mr Western, a Leamington resident and a county councillor for the town had no experience of running in a general election before the last few weeks but won the seat with 25,227 votes from former Conservative MP Chris White for whom 24,021 people voted.
Mr Western said: “It’s 3.30am and my thoughts are that I’m so exhausted that I am desensitised to the whole experience.
“Five weeks ago we had the county council elections and I fought very hard to retain my council seat then and I had just been told on the even of the election that I was going to be the candidate for this and over the weekend I got a call from Jeremy Corbyn’s office saying he was going to come and visit on the Tuesday following and we then took off from there.
“I set up a team of people and it was very difficult with so many people on holiday but we managed to pull off something quite extraordinary.”
During Mr Western’s campaign both Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner visited Leamington and gave him their endorsement.
He also took part in hustings debates and a rally where he spoke against cuts to education and the NHS.
He said: “We had a really great manifesto and a lot of people were disillusioned with the last government and they genuinely wanted to see change.
“The scale of the increase in voters for Labour is unbelievable.
“Labour offered a vision - the public felt angry towards the government about this seven year programme of austerity with no respite in sight and just further cuts.
“There was no vision, there was nothing, just beating up communities and now destroying schools and the NHS as well as other public services.”
Labour lost the election but the makeup of the next British Government is now up in the air with the Conservatives winning 318 seats (48.9 per cent of the vote) but losing 12 of its previous number not holding an overall majority and Labour making a gain of 31 with 261 seats (40.2 per cent of the vote).
The Scottish National Party won 35 seats but suffered a 19-seat loss while the Liberal Democrats made a three-seat gain to win 12 overall.
Mr Western praised the campaign led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who, at the start of the campaign, had been predicted to become the victim of a Conservative landslide.
He said: “I thought he led and exemplary campaign, he didn’t sink to the level of certain other parties. He remained and stood principled with his core values and I thought he was very dignified through the seven weeks.
“I was quite shocked by some of the things people came out with but I won’t go into that right now.”
Mr Western said he hopes his constituents will see him as a true representative for the area and that they can view him with trust.
“Hopefully they will see that I am credible and that I will do my best for everyone in my community.”