Election 2019

East Surrey stays Tory after Brexit row MP turns Lib Dem

Sam Gyimah, Jo Swinson
Image caption Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson introduced Mr Gyimah at the party's conference in Bournemouth

Voters who saw their Tory MP defect to the Liberal Democrats in the Brexit row have elected another Conservative.

East Surrey's former MP Sam Gyimah joined the Lib Dems in September and went on to stand for election to London's Kensington seat, but lost.

He was one of 21 Tories who had the whip removed after rebelling against Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Claire Coutinho has taken East Surrey for the Conservatives with a majority of 24,040.

MPs have been elected to 11 constituencies across Surrey.

In Guildford former Conservative MP Anne Milton, who had the whip removed over Brexit, stood for election as an Independent, but lost to her Tory rival Angela Richardson.

However, the Conservatives took Guildford with a much lower majority of 3,395 - compared to 17,040 in 2017.

During the campaign Ms Milton won the backing of Sir John Major, former Conservative prime minister, who urged voters to re-elect three independent candidates who were expelled from the party.

Image copyright Waverley Borough Council
Image caption Constituencies across Surrey have stayed blue including South West Surrey where Jeremy Hunt kept his seat

Analysis

By Jack Fiehn, BBC Surrey political reporter

So Surrey stays blue. The Tory heartlands remain the Tory heartlands.

But this wasn't plain sailing everywhere.

A majority of more than 23,000 in Esher & Walton was reduced to about 3,000 and a 17,000 majority in Guildford was reduced to a few thousand as well.

The Liberal Democrats will be bitterly disappointed to have pushed the Conservatives so close in those two seats but not come away with victories.

High-profile Tory MPs defending their seats in Surrey included Michael Gove, who was re-elected in Surrey Heath, Dominic Raab, who was re-elected in Esher & Walton, albeit with a vastly reduced majority, and Jeremy Hunt, who defended his seat in South West Surrey,

In Runnymede and Weybridge, former chancellor Philip Hammond, one of the 21 to lose the whip, stood down. Ben Spencer has held the seat for the Tories.

In Epsom and Ewell, Chris Grayling has kept his seat for the Conservatives but with a smaller majority of 17,873, compared with 20,475 in 2017.

Constituencies across Surrey that have stayed blue also include Mole Valley where Sir Paul Beresford was re-elected, Reigate where Crispin Blunt kept his seat, Woking where Jonathan Lord remains MP and Spelthorne where Kwasi Karteng was re-elected.

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