ELECTION 2010: Results – EMILY WINS THE NIGHT – Jubilant Emily Thornberry defeats Lib Dem Bridget Fox in Islington South & Finsbury

Friday, 7th May 2010


Published: 7 May 2010

“THE Clegg bubble has broken”, a triumphant Islington South MP ­Emily Thornberry declared last night in her victory speech as she defied all odds not only clinging on to her seat but increasing her majority substantially.

And the vote for Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn reached a massive 24,276 – about 8,000 more than at the last election in 2005 – in a swing to Labour that bucked the national trend.

Mr Corbyn, who begins his seventh term in office, said the result was a warning to his party nationally: “In Islington we’re giving a message to the Labour movement and the party. There’s been a big swing to Labour in both constituencies.

“There’s a lesson here for the Labour Party… We need to go in a direction of reiterating our core value of social justice, public participation and public control of services.”

There were red faces, tears and consolatory hugs in the Lib Dem camp, as from early in the count at the Sobell Centre in Holloway, word spread that Ms Thornberry would emerge undefeated.

But it was mission accomplished for Operation Save Emily as Labour snatched Islington South away from Lib Dem opponent Bridget Fox’s grasp – despite the much-hyped Clegg effect.

Ms Thornberry said: “Politics is not just about spin and media hysteria. It’s about the sort of politics that really affects people, not just press tittle-tattle. The so-called Clegg bubble has broken. It’s the best job in the world to represent Islington South and Finsbury.”

She added: “At a time when people say we’re supposed to be cynical about politics, the most remarkable thing has been the hundreds of people from the local community who’ve come in and got involved – for the very first time.”

Ms Fox’s past five years of campaigning just weren’t enough to capitalise on her Labour opponent’s slim majority of just 484 in 2005.

But it was not a smooth ride to victory for Labour, whose initial confidence in an Islington South win turned to panic as “Cleggmania” began to mount, raising fears Ms Fox would take Labour’s crown.

But they managed to swing a shock victory, which the Lib Dems put down to Labour’s last-minute ability to raise an army of outside supporters and union backing in the finals days of the campaign.

Ms Fox, who lost despite her vote increasing by 3,000, said: “The Labour Party have held the seat perhaps with the inadvertent help of people voting Conservative. I’ve always loved the people of Islington however they choose to vote and I will continue to serve my community whichever way I can.”

She added: “I’m incredibly proud of the result in the sense that we got over 14,000 votes, up from 11,000 last time.

“This is an election where people have been proud and happy to be voting Lib Dem.” 

The Greens, aware of loss from early in the evening, stayed cheery and vowed to continue to campaign for their cause in Islington.

Islington South candidate James Humphreys said: “Whoever goes on to form the next government, we have people who have committed that the Whittington is safe and we will hold them to account over the next five years.” 

And the Tory vote nearly doubled in Islington South, from 3,740 in 2005 to 6,339.

Islington North Conservative candidate Adrian Berrill-Cox said: “It would be an act of vandalism to remove a fixture like Jeremy Corbyn. I know he’s referred to as a comrade but in my experience he’s a true gentleman and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather lose to.

“It’s certainly been Labour’s evening and we’ll be back whenever we need to be – which may be sooner than everyone thinks.”


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