Election 2019

Election results 2019: Tories increase majorities as Essex remains blue

James Cleverly takes a selfie
Image caption Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly was among the winners for the Tories

The Conservatives have swept to victory in Essex, retaining all 18 of the county's declared seats.

Vicky Ford and Will Quince increased their majorities in Chelmsford and Colchester respectively, two seats targeted by the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

One of the biggest winners was Jackie Doyle-Price, who romped home in the previously marginal seat of Thurrock.

She increased her majority from 345 to 11,482.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Conservative chairman James Cleverly and European Research Group (ERG) deputy chairman Mark Francois all retained their seats.

Deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing increased her majority to 22,173, while Southend West MP Sir David Amess announced his plans to stand as a deputy speaker after winning his seat.

Mr Cleverly said he thought Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn's leadership had played a part in what appeared to be a big win for his party.

He said: "When I have been speaking to people in Braintree and at other places in the country they really didn't buy into Labour's economic offer, didn't buy into scare stories about the NHS and clearly didn't trust Jeremy Corbyn."

Image caption James Dudderidge and Sir David Amess got into the festive spirit after their victories

Ms Doyle-Price said she was left "speechless" by her victory and said it was now important to have an orderly exit from the European Union.

She said: "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd achieve a result like that in Thurrock and it is extremely humbling to be elected for a fourth time."

Ms Doyle-Price has won every election in Thurrock since 2010 when she ended Labour's 18-year hold over the seat.

Labour's John Kent congratulated his Conservative rival and said his party would need to do some "soul searching".

Labour had their sights set on Thurrock as one of their key target seats in the election, with several shadow cabinet ministers visiting the town during the campaign including Labour leader Mr Corbyn.

After Ms Ford's victory she and her team enjoyed celebratory pizza while her Liberal Democrat opponent, Marie Goldman, said she was "disappointed" but "proud" of her campaign and her team.

She said: "Obviously we are disappointed, we wanted to win. Actually when you consider where we came from in 2017, when we had 12.2% of the vote, we have more than doubled our vote against a backdrop of not so great results."

Ms Goldman said she was concerned the country would be "mired" in Brexit negotiations for years to come but said whatever happened next would be the sole responsibility of the Conservative Party.

Image caption Vicky Ford and her team celebrated with pizza

Joshua Garfield, the Labour candidate in Braintree, said he was "quite devastated on a national scale".

He said Boris Johnson's message to "Get Brexit Done" had resonated with voters, despite other parties saying it would not be easy to do so.

Mr Garfield added it would be almost impossible for Mr Corbyn to stay on as leader.

Analysis

By Simon Dedman, BBC Essex political reporter

It wasn't that surprising to see every seat in Essex stay Conservative.

What was surprising was the scale of the Tory victories in the county - with their vote up across the board.

Thurrock - one of the most marginal seats in the country - has gone from a majority of 345 to 11,500.

The Tories got more than half the vote in Colchester with the Lib Dems a distant third and their chances of winning the seat back at the next general election seem distant with Boris Johnson winning the biggest Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher.

Find a constituency

More on this story