Putney Turns Red After Fourteen Years Blue
Fleur Anderson becomes only candidate in the whole election to gain a seat for Labour
Labour’s Fleur Anderson is the new MP for Putney, gaining more than 22,000 votes to beat Conservative candidate Will Sweet.
Her victory saw the constituency turn red after a huge campaigning effort that involved more than 700 volunteers out canvassing one night this week.
Following the result she told this website, "I am delighted and honoured to be elected as MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. Thank you to every single person who voted for me. I pledge to work hard and honour the faith you have put in me. I'd like to thank the many Labour supporters who have made this such a team effort. I will get to work straight away."
Labour won 22,780 votes compared to the Conservatives’ 18,006.
Liberal Democrat Sue Wixley came third with 8,548 votes, followed by Green candidate Fergal McEntee with 1,133 votes.
Overall turnout was 77.4 per cent, well up from 2017 which saw a turnout of 72.1 per cent.
Fleur Anderson currently works as head of community services at the Katherine Low Settlement Community Centre in Battersea, running youth services and projects for elderly people, and has previously worked for WaterAid, CAFOD and the Catholic Aid Agency.
She says she is “pro-Europe and proudly remain” and pledges to have a People’s Vote, but was criticised by the Liberal Democrats who said the Labour Party were not committed to remaining in the EU, regardless of Ms Anderson’s personal stance.
She also faced difficult questions at hustings about tactical voting and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
She admitted she was “frustrated” Labour took so long to adopt its position on a People’s Vote on Brexit, and conceded that Mr Corbyn had “not done enough” and should have apologised in his interview with Andrew Neil.
Until recently, pollsters believed the Conservatives would hold the seat, but the latest YouGov MRP prediction showed a slight lean to Labour, estimated to receive 40 per cent of the vote, compared to 37 per cent for the Conservatives.
Justine Greening has held the seat since 2005, but stepped down when the election was called after having the Conservative party whip removed for supporting an emergency motion to allow the House of Commons to take over proceedings on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
She was a known ‘remainer’ figure in the party, and accused the Conservatives of “becoming the Brexit party.” Putney voted 72.24 per cent to remain in the EU referendum in 2016.
The 2017 election was close, with just 1,554 votes between the Conservatives and runners-up, Labour.
The Conservative candidate hoping to replace Ms Greening was Will Sweet, a local councillor on Wandsworth Council and the borough’s cabinet member for education and children’s services. He grew up in Wandsworth, and worked for the Foreign Office for the last six years.
However, he has received criticism for his stance on Brexit – which was rarely mentioned in his campaign literature. Mr Sweet said at hustings that while he was a “remainer”, he wants to see the country move forward with a good Brexit deal. He was also criticised by some parents’ groups about changes he oversaw to provision for Autistic children in the borough.
Other candidates in the running included Sue Wixley for the Lib Dems and Fergal McEntee for the Green Party.
The Lib Dems won 11.6 per cent of the vote in 2017, while the Greens received 2.4 per cent and UKIP received one per cent of the vote share.
The last time Putney was a Labour seat was in when Tony Colman was the local MP from May 1997 - May 2005, when he unseated David Mellor at the famously rowdy election in 1997.
Across the country and in Parliament, Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for liberal values and for a United Kingdom that is internationalist, open and inclusive. In Putney, we will use every Liberal Democrat vote in this election to hold our new MP to account."
Written with contributions from Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter