Labour wins back Stoke-on-Trent South in knife-edge vote

Allison Gardner has won back Stoke-on-Trent South for Labour - after one of the closest contests in the entire general election. The election in Stoke-on-Trent South required two partial recounts and in the end just 627 votes separated Dr Gardner from second place Jack Brereton, who had served as the seat's Conservative MP for seven years.

Dr Gardner received 14,221 votes - just ahead of Mr Brereton, who got 13,594. Stoke-on-Trent South's result, which was declared shortly after 6am on Friday, completed Labour's clean sweep in Stoke-on-Trent - a city which had previously been a stronghold for the Labour Party.

Mr Brereton's surprising win in Stoke-on-Trent South in 2017 - the first Tory victory in the seat - was an early sign of the so-called Red Wall collapsing. And he successfully defended the seat with an increased majority in the Tories' landslide win in 2019.

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Boundary changes, which brought rural areas such as Barlaston and Swynnerton into the constituency, should have made it easier for the Conservatives to hold on again, despite the party's polling figures collapsing nationally. But in the end it was the rise of Reform UK - one of the major talking points of this general election - which dealt a fatal blow to Mr Brereton's chances of re-election.

Reform candidate Michael Bailey polled 8,851 votes - if just a small fraction of his voters had backed Mr Brereton instead, he would still be Stoke-on-Trent South MP.

Dr Gardner, a former Newcastle borough councillor and a scientific advisor on AI, said she would try to gain the support of the Stoke-on-Trent South residents who did not vote for her by working to make the constituency a better place to live for all.

She said: "The results in Stoke-on-Trent send a clear message that people want change. I think that despite people feeling very disaffected with politics, they still believe enough to vote, and to vote for change. With the boundary changes, there are parts of Stoke-on-Trent South that have never had a Labour MP, but they have now given me five years to show them what we can do and make that difference. I think it means an awful lot.

"I think there's a lot of practical stuff we can do to make Stoke-on-Trent South a better place to live. Something that came up a lot on the doorsteps was public transport and buses - Labour wants to devolve power over buses back to local councils. We want to give multi-year settlements back to councils too so sensible long-term decisions can be made. That's something that Stoke-on-Trent South residents would see on a daily basis.

"My mind is already set on the next election. By that point people will need to have seen the difference a Labour MP can make, and that they can trust me going forward. That is my goal and I'm determined to do that."

Full results for Stoke-on-Trent South:

Candidate

Party

Votes

%

Michael Bailey

Reform UK

8,851

21.62%

Jack Brereton

Conservative

13,594

33.20%

Allison Gardner

Labour

14,221

34.73%

Asif Mehmood

Independent

1,372

3.35%

Carla Parrish

Independent

120

0.29%

Alec Sandiford

Liberal Democrats

1,577

3.85%

Peggy Wiseman

Green

1,207

2.95%

LAB GAIN




Turnout: 58.63%