Three MPs re-elected in Waltham Forest as Labour make gains

James Cracknell and Russell Hargrave report

Vote 2017Voters in Waltham Forest have re-elected all three of their MPs amid strong gains for the Labour Party on a dramatic election night.

The borough’s voting turnout for the snap general election was at its highest for decades, possibly reflecting the boost in younger voters choosing to back Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in large numbers.

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader who has represented Chingford and Woodford Green since the seat’s creation in 1997, survived a scare as a record-high voter turnout helped reduce his lead over Labour’s Bilal Mahmood from 8,386 votes in 2015 to just 2,438 votes this year.

The voter turnout in Chingford and Woodford Green was 71.4 percent, the highest since the seat was created in 1997. Iain Duncan Smith’s vote share marginally increased to 49.1 percent, however, as UKIP decided not to stand against the staunchly pro-Brexit MP.

Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith

With the Tories set to lose seats in the House of Commons and a hung parliament a growing possibility, Iain Duncan Smith appeared on national television to refute calls for British Prime Minister Theresa May to resign. He said: “It was the not the greatest campaign I have ever witnessed. There will be a time for my party to look at what went wrong but right now my colleagues need to take a deep breath to figure out where we are.

“I am not in favour of launching off-the-cuff vendettas [against Theresa May].”

Voters in Walthamstow re-elected Labour’s Stella Creasy, who was defending one of the largest majorities in parliament. She comfortably won her seat and increased her majority to 31,924, growing her share of the vote to a massive 80.5 percent.

Stella Creasy

Stella Creasy

More than 48,000 votes were cast in Walthamstow in total. This turnout of 71 percent was up substantially from 62 percent at the last general election two years ago, and is the highest for the constituency since 1992.

Speaking immediately after the results were announced, Stella Creasy said: “I am extremely grateful and humble to be re-elected to be able to represent our community and be part of that fight, and to fight for social justice.

“Thank you to the people of Walthamstow. Thank you for putting your trust in me. I will continue to fight as hard as I can in the best interests of everyone in the community, and for our country too.”

John Cryer

John Cryer (credit Peter Arkell)

In Leyton and Wanstead, Brexit-supporting John Cryer boosted his vote share despite the constituency’s strong support at last year’s referendum for remaining in the European Union.

Confounding predictions that pro-Europe voters in the seat would switch to the Lib Dems, the Labour MP won with a majority of 22,607, and a vote share of 69.8 percent – up from 14,917 and a 58.3 percent vote share in 2015.

The voting turnout in Leyton and Wanstead was 70.8 percent – the highest since the seat’s creation in 1997.

General Election 2017 results from Waltham Forest in full:
Chingford & Woodford Green: Iain Duncan Smith (Conservative) 23,076 votes, Bilal Mahmood (Labour) 20,638 votes, Deborah Unger (Liberal Democrat) 2,043 votes, Sinead King (Green) 1,204 votes.
Leyton & Wanstead: John Cryer (Labour) 32,234 votes, Laura Farris (Conservative) 9,627 votes, Ben Sims (Liberal Democrat) 2,961 votes, Ashley Gunstock (Green) 1,351 votes.

Walthamstow: Stella Creasy (Labour and Co-operative) 38,793 votes, Molly Samuel (Conservative) 6,776 votes, Ukonu Obasi (Liberal Democrat) 1,384 votes, Andrew Johns (Green), 1,190 votes.