Tony Blair’s former seat has become a Conservative constituency after it was lost by the Labour Party in its most crushing general election defeat since 1935.
Sedgefield, a Labour seat since 1935, was won by the Conservatives after Labour MP Phil Wilson lost out to Tory rival Paul Howell.
The result was among several losses of longstanding Labour seats as part of the crumbling of the so-called ‘red wall’ of formerly safe seats across the north, the Midlands and Wales as Labour’s support crumbled in its heartlands.
It is likely to be seen as hugely symbolic of a disastrous election performance for Labour - losing a seat that has been continuously represented by Labour MPs since 1935 and was Tony Blair’s own seat during his own landslide victory in 1997.
Former Prime Minister Mr Blair represented Sedgefield in County Durham, from 1983 to 2007, including during his time as Labour leader and as PM.
His resignation in 2007 triggered a by-election which was won by Phil Wilson, dubbed ‘Blair’s heir’.
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But Mr Wilson lost the seat in Thursday’s general election to retired accountant and Durham County Councillor Paul Howell, who won with a majority of more than 4,500.
Mr Howell, who campaigned for better public transport links and backing Brexit, is Sedgefield’s first Conservative MP since 1931.
His victory was referenced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his speech on Friday morning, in which he said: “We must recognise the incredible reality that we now speak as a one nation Conservative Party literally for everyone from Woking to Workington, from Kensington to Clwyd South, from Surrey Heath to Sedgefield, from Wimbledon to Wolverhampton.”
Other longstanding Labour seats taken by the Conservatives included: Rother Valley, Don Valley, Wakefield, Bassetlaw, Bishop Auckland, Great Grimsby and Dennis Skinner’s Bolsover seat.