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Heidi Alexander
Will Stone

SWINDON RINGS THE CHANGES CHOOSING TWO LABOUR MPs AS THE CONSERVATIVES ARE SWEPT ASIDE.

There were joyful scenes at STEAM in Swindon when new Labour MPs Heidi Alexander and Will Stone stepped up to be named as the new MPs for South and North Swindon respectively.

They were part of the new crowd of Labour MPs who swept aside the Conservatives nationally winning 411 seats against the Tories 119 seats (at time of writing). This was the worst defeat for the Conservative Party in its history. Many government ministers lost their seats as the country made its decision around who should lead. The Liberal Democrats achieved their best result for over 100 years winning 71 seats (at time of writing).

The victory is comparable with the 1997 Labour win when Tony Blair’s New Labour secured 418 seats against the Conservatives (under John Major) 165 seats. 

In Swindon South the turnout of voters was 61.92 per cent and it was clear 90 minutes into the count that Labour were destined for a win. For Swindon North the turnout was slightly lower at 60.48 per cent. 

Heidi Alexander said: “This is a moment to press the reset button for the country where we need to invest in our schools and our NHS. We need to return to honesty, decency and integrity in politics. 

“It’s an honour to represent my home town and I’ll work hard to put Swindon back on the map.” 

There was heartbreak for losing candidates Sir Robert Buckland KC and Justin Tomlinson who both became MPs for the town in 2010. 

Robert said it had been the honour of his life to serve his constituents and he was proud of what he’d achieved including securing investment for a new Emergency Department at the Great Western Hospital, the redevelopment of the Honda site and the Health Hydro.

In South Swindon, the Conservative vote was sliced with Heidi Alexander securing 21, 676 votes and a majority of more than 9,000 votes; Robert Buckland 12,070; Martin Costell (Independent) 472; Rod Hebden (Green) 2,539; Catherine Kosidowski (Reform) 6,194 and Matthew McCabe 1,843. 

Will Stone triumphed in Swindon North though his majority was smaller. He received 17, 930 votes with Justin Tomlinson securing 13,827. Other results were Andy Bentley (Green) 2,366; Flo Clucas (Lib Dem) 2,086; Debbie Hicks (Ind) 260; Scott Victor Abbas Hunter (TUSC) 139 and Les Willis (Reform) 7,557. 

A very emotional Justin Tomlinson said that it was a dreadful result for the Conservatives nationally and there was no excuse. 

“If I was going to lose to anyone I’m glad that it is Will who has been very supportive of me and my family.” 

Justin talked about the fact that he has been gifted more time with his family and will be doing the school run today. 

Fi Da Silva Adams, who runs one of Swindon’s leading arts companies Revolution Performing Arts, said: 

“I am delighted that people have voted with their feet and voted for change. My hopes and expectations are that the new government will fulfil their manifesto promise to make the arts a priority again to help young people's wellbeing. I also hope that the government will also prioritise mental health services so all people but especially young people can access help and support they need.

“I feel positive and hopeful that a more humanitarian approach will take us forward. I am very excited for Heidi Alexander and Will Stone and can't wait to see how they will take Swindon forward with a more humanitarian approach.”

Rob Curtis, founder of Swindon-based digital marketing company The Pursuit Agency, said: “Considering the Conservatives have been in power for so long, I'm intrigued to see how the country will react to this Labour landslide. My hopes are that the Labour government will follow through on their promises to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for SMEs, such as investing in digital infrastructure, access to financing and implementing controls of payment terms when working with corporations. 

“I feel cautiously optimistic about the future. If these policies proposed by the government can be implemented, it could result in a more robust and resilient economy with developed opportunities for growth and innovation within the SME sector.”

Janet Shreeve, runs Shreeve Care Services based out of Somerset and is an expert social care consultant having worked in the sector for over 20 years – it’s a system she claims is broken. She said: 

“I think we all had a pretty good idea that this was going to happen.  It does worry me when a government has such a large majority as it is harder to hold them to account especially around unpopular policies.  The country definitely needs a change so it is up to them to prove themselves now.

“My hopes are that many things will change – in particular around social care and health – but expectations are based on history quite low as the country has a long way to go to regain its standing after so many years of government by the entitled few.

“As one of the outgoing Tory MPs said they have spent more time in-fighting than they have caring for the good of the country.”

Chris Maslin, who lives in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, is a successful businessman who runs Go EO and is a specialist in employee owned trusts. 

“Overall I'm delighted. For me recently, it's not about left vs right. It's about competence and decency. From the moment Boris became PM, I've not been able to believe a word the Tories say. I'm not naïve enough to think things will improve massively overnight. But I trust that stability will be regained. That decisions will be based on strong logic, rather than snappy soundbites.  I'm optimistic about the future. Yes, as a country we still have plenty of issues. But (famous last words!) I struggle to see the country being in a worse position in five years time,” he ssaid.

Samantha Jayne, is a Wiltshire-based spiritual business coach. She said:

“The result is what I felt it would be. Rightly or wrongly I believe we have seen this result because the country as a whole has had enough of those in power coming across as being completely disconnected from the reality of the cost and challenges of living, working and running a business in this country.

“I hope that for once we see a new government actually deliver on their promises. I hope this government recognizes small business owners have been through so much over the last five years and that in fact they contribute hugely to the economy and are the backbone of the UK. 

“Lack of support for small business owners over recent years has resulted in so many making redundancies or closing down and I hope this now changes I hope, for once, we are supported as a business community.”

Stefan Thomas lives in Witney in Oxfordshire which saw the Conservative candidate lose to the Liberal Democrats. 

Stefan said: ‘I'm thrilled with the overall results. I voted tactically for the first time ever and am thrilled to see a resurgence of the Liberal Democrats and, here in Witney the long standing Tory 'safe seat' finally turned over.

“The Conservatives treated Witney as if they deserved to win without actually looking after the electorate. We had an MP who doesn't live here, and appeared to spend very little time here. I will always be disappointed that we don't have a Labour MP locally, and made the decision that I would be less disappointed if we replaced the Tories here. 

“My hopes are that we lose a lot of the hate in our communities and society. Instead of creating division, I hope our new government fosters acceptance and mutual respect, whilst focusing on the real issues.

“Recently the old government has scapegoated the trans community, and several parties have pointed fingers at the poor sods who arrive here in small boats. Neither of these groups make any real difference to people's day to day lives, our new government would do well to show that our society can live together, work together and welcome all who are born here or arrive here with the right intentions.”

Martin Gurney is a partner with Swindon accountancy firm Haines Watts. He said:

“Yesterday’s landslide victory was predicted by many, and the extent of Labour’s victory means that they will have little or no effective opposition in the House of Commons, barring some dramatic backbench revolt.

“Labour’s manifesto policies on tax are headlined as “Labour will not raise taxes on working people” and they have currently undertaken to freeze Income Tax thresholds until 2028, not increase the main rate of VAT, and not change Corporation Tax.  So, in theory, the tax waters should remain relatively calm.

“However, a note of caution – as with any new government, they haven’t yet “had a look at the books” and therefore we must be mindful of the fact that, if economic current conditions are not as they expected, or if there are dramatic changes in economic conditions, not only can they change their policies but, with their majority as it stands, they may have little or no difficultly effecting such changes.

“As with all tax policy, the devil is in the detail and therefore we can only speculate as to the practical impact of the changes outlined in their manifesto.  So, at this stage, it’s watch this space and hope that the waters remain calm in the meantime.”

Taz Thornton is a business coach and personal branding specialist who lives in Lincolnshire.

“I’m pleased so many Tories lost their seats, though hugely concerned that those who stayed seemed to lean further to the Right. My hopes are the new Labour government will really listen, and move slightly more to the left. 

“I think the number of Green, (some) indie and record Liberal Democrat wins show us the public are calling for a more liberal leadership. I hope they’ll put more effort into supporting sole traders and small businesses, and I sincerely hope they’ll see the damage the current stance on the Cass report’s so-called ‘findings’ has caused. 

“We need far more support and inclusion for our trans community, and far more understanding when it comes to trans youth. I’m concerned by the amount of Reform votes and that people have voted for them as a viable Tory alternative, without fully exploring or understanding their policies. This genuinely scares me.”

Dr Carol Sargent is an expert in dementia-inclusive tourism and is still worried about the state of the social care sector. She lives in Leicestershire. 

“I would like to see an integrated National Dementia Strategy and for the new government to focus on health and social care.

“With around a million people in the UK currently diagnosed with dementia, rising to 1.4 million in 2040 and dementia patients currently being one of the major bed blockers in the NHS, we need to be thinking outside the box to support the dementia community and allow waiting lists to reduce.

“There is a lot of noise about the new drugs for Alzheimer’s, but people need to realise that only 30% of people diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s will be eligible for these drugs and people with other types of dementia will require other support. 

“I would like to see our new government engaging with the transformational NHS leads across the country to identify non-drug related solutions that can support not just the dementia community, but people with other chronic diseases, disabilities and other life baggage, including ageing.

“The labour manifesto to create more jobs in the NHS is a good start, but my view is it will not be enough.  It’s about working in a smarter way across health and social care and leading our society to recognise improved health and wellbeing is not simply a prescription from their GP, a visit to your hospital, but social intervention.”

Mike Lloyd is managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon.

He said: “We all know that it was time for a change and now we must hope that our new government has learnt from the Tories’ mistakes as well as their own historic ones.

“It remains to be seen as to whether they will curb their natural “tax and spend” tendencies and allow business ambition and entrepreneurial spirit to flourish and grow the economy.

“Without doubt there will be many people looking ahead nervously top the expected emergency budget particularly regarding Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. They have inherited an improving economy and a vastly reduced inflation rate and so the opportunities are there if they get it right.”

The pressure is now on Sir Keir Starmer, who will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister later today when he visits the King, to make good on election promises and implement major policies within 100 days. 

This includes policies such as scrapping zero hours contracts, ensuring the national minimum wage includes the cost of living and scrapping the age bands. Not to mention dealing with major issues such as the crisis in the NHS and social care, cost of living and many other pledges. 

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Swindon

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

6 Gold View, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 8GZ

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy
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