Against the odds, the Tory MP and former business minister held her marginal seat of Broxtowe. But that didn’t put her in a generous mood when interviewed by the BBC after her win.
Absolutely eviscerating Theresa May, the zealous pro-European said the Prime Minister should “consider her position”, and accused her of running a “dreadful campaign”: “It did not make her look the strong and stable Prime Minister and leader that she had said that she was.”
Which parts of it were dreadful?
“Well, where do you want me to start?”
Oh, Anna, never stop.
In the most marginal seat in England, Derby North, the seat’s former MP Chris Williamson won by more than 2,000 votes (making his Twitter handle – which still says “MP” at the end – relevant again). Last time, he lost the constituency to the Tories by just 41 votes.
The uber-Corbynite made a speech slamming the “gutter press” and promised to keep working on delivering “the sunshine of socialism”. It looks like he is rising “like lions from slumber” after all, as he promised me he would when I went on the campaign trail with him a few weeks ago. Roar.
In the Tories’ second top target seat, Ealing Central & Acton in west London, the Labour MP Rupa Huq massively increased her majority – from 274 to 13,807. Last election, the result was so close that her organisers thought at first that she’d lost. This seat is turning from a historic bellwether into pretty safe Labour territory.
Good old Corbs. Great campaign, great result. Also absolutely smashed it in his own constituency of Islington North, increasing his majority by 10,430 votes to 40,086. Even he looked surprised. But then it’s been a pretty surprising two years for the guy, so he’s probably used to it.
What’s the story in Balamory? Pretty Tory, probably. The one good news story for the Conservatives of the night was in Scotland, where they have won 12 seats at the time of writing, up from just the one last time round. The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has been doing some rather sunnier media rounds than other Conservatives, telling the BBC how she remembers being a secret Tory as a student, watching Labour win by a landslide in Scotland in every election. Naturally, the talk has turned to whether she could one day lead the UK Tory party. She is deflecting such questions like a pro.
On a mixed night for the Lib Dems, the former business secretary Vince Cable made a comeback – having lost his Twickenham seat last time round. He won a majority of 9,762. Interestingly, he credited Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign: “I think we have all underestimated the force of the younger generation. They really turned out in massive numbers. Mr Corbyn, to his credit, understood that and tapped into it.”
Another Lib Dem return – Jo Swinson, former business minister and once a one-to-watch, has recovered her East Dunbartonshire seat from the SNP. She will probably once again gain rising star status when the Lib Dems seek a new leader.
In a big surprise of the night, the Labour MP for Barrow-in-Furness John Woodcock kept his seat. It looked like a goner due to Corbyn’s anti-Trident stance, as it’s where the nuclear submarines are based, but somehow he won it. The outspoken Corbynsceptic had told constituents not to vote for the party leader, but to vote for him as a candidate. However, he didn’t seem too concerned when he was pressed on his scepticism by the BBC. “I have no idea!” he giggled, when asked what went right about the campaign. “I don’t know what’s going on in British politics!”
In a poor night for the SNP, which has lost 18 seats at the time of writing, the former first minister Alex Salmond lost his seat of Gordon to the Conservatives – toppled by an incredible 29 per cent swing. Nevertheless, he hailed an SNP win in Scotland, and warned: “You’ve not seen the last of my bonnet and me.” His bonnet maybe, but Scottish independence may be less likely to make a comeback.
The electorate giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other when it comes to the Lib Dems in this election, for the former party leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg lost his seat of Sheffield Hallam. An affluent, residential seat that he had held for 12 years, Sheffield Hallam looked less likely to fall to Labour than last time round when a major “decapitation” attempt just about failed. The Labour candidate Jared O’Mara won it with a 4 per cent swing. Clegg looked ashen-faced and saddened at the count, saying that in politics: “You live by the sword and you die by the sword.”
A particular highlight of election night in the New Statesman office was Tory Cabinet Office minister and manifesto writer Ben Gummer losing his Ipswich constituency. Gummer recently slammed the NS in the Commons by suggesting no one reads it anymore. Perhaps if he’d spent more time reading it, and less time speaking such cruel untruths in Parliament, he wouldn’t have written such a terrible manifesto – and lost his seat.
The SNP in Westminster has been scalped – its leader Angus Robertson lost his Moray seat. Well-known for his combative turns in PMQs, often seen as more compelling than the preceding questions by Corbyn, Robertson’s defeat will mean a big loss to the SNP in Westminster. The seat saw a 14 per cent swing to the Tories. The SNP will be looking for a new leader in Westminster.
Another missing minister for the Tories, as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison lost her constituency of Battersea. A triumph for Labour, which has not only ousted a minister but has won in a London seat that was seen as a lost cause; Battersea has been Tory and held by Ellison since 2010, with her increasing her majority and vote share in 2015.
Oh, Nicola. The results for the SNP don’t exactly look like a thumping endorsement for a second Scottish independence referendum, and she’s lost both her predecessor as first minister and her leader in Westminster. And although the Tories have made the most gains in Scotland, she also mentioned Corbyn in her analysis of the results: “Clearly we didn’t necessarily anticipate the late surge to Jeremy Corbyn, which appeared very late in the campaign and wasn’t reflected in the Scottish opinion polls.”
She wanted an election to improve her position – she’s done the opposite. She claimed she was doing it for stability – the markets have plummeted. She sacrificed everything to unite her party – it looks like she’s united Labour instead. It’s a bad night for May, who will have to hang on in case of hung parliament talks, but won’t be around much longer.