ELECTION 2015: Conservatives hold Harrogate and Knaresborough

Andrew Jones will remain as MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough after the Conservative party held the seat.

The Lib Dems lost more than half of their support in Harrogate and Knaresborough, after a landslide result saw the Conservatives hold the seat.

Andrew Jones will remain as MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough (1505081AM14)

Andrew Jones will remain as MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough (1505081AM14)

Conservative MP Andrew Jones secured a second term with a huge majority of 16,371 after the Lib Dems saw a huge drop off in support.

He said Harrogate was the best place in England and he wants to make it better in his next five years in office.

Conservatives held the Harrogate and Knaresborough seat with a massive 52.76 per cent of the vote.

Lib Dem Helen Flynn managed to gather just 11,782 compared to the 23,266 Claire Kelley won for the party in 2010.

Mrs Flynn blamed the battle nationally for the loss after she took just 22 per cent of the vote, leaving her 30.07 per cent down on the Tories, compared to two per cent in 2010.

Helen Flynn said Nick Clegg had to go after the party’s poor performance nationally.

She said: “It seems to have been an appalling night for the Lib Dems. We have been punished for being part of this coalition.”

“Nick Clegg can’t survive as leader of the party, I am sure Nick himself will know that. How can he stay? It is sad in some ways and in 20 to 30 years time Clegg’s contribution will be appreciated.”

Even Mr Jones admitted her was surprised by the landslide of votes.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted, but I am surprised. I did not see the landslide coming. I thought there would be a shift, but the scale of the shift has taken me by surprise.”

Results were declared at around 3.30am after thousands of people voted at 77 polling stations across the Harrogate District.

The electorate stands at 76,408 this year, slightly up from 2010 when it was 75,269. This years turn out was 70.6 per cent.

Meanwhile UKIP took third place with David Simister taking 5,681 votes, pushing Labour’s Jan Williams into fourth place with 5,409.

Mr Jones won the seat in 2010, by 1,039 votes in 2010, the narrowest majority in the constituency’s history. The momentous 9.1 per cent swing saw the Tories take back the seat from the Lib Dems after 13 years following Phil Willis decision to step down in 2010.

Harrogate Borough Council leader Richard Cooper (Conservative) who has worked on Mr Jones’s campaign compared Mr Jones to the legendary former Lib Dem MP, now Lord Willis of Knaresborough.

He said: “He is a very popular in the area. Like Phil Willis before him he has become better known as a constituency champion more than a Westminster politician.”

Harrogate was under Conservative control for more than 80 years before Lib Dem Phil Willis secured a landslide victory in 1997 when he famously trounced the Conservative favourite, former Chancellor Norman Lamont, with a majority of more than 6,000. He went on to secure two further victories over the Conservatives in 2001 and 2005.

Conservative Andrew Jones - 28,153 - 52.76 per cent.

Lib Dem Helen Flynn - 11,782 - 22.06 per cent.

Ukip David Simister - 5,681 - 10.64 per cent.

Labour Jan Williams - 5,409 - 10.13 per cent,

Green Shan Oakes - 2,351 - 4.41 per cent.