Conservative Employment Minister Esther McVey has lost a close run fight with Labour in her Merseyside constituency. The Cabinet member had been made a target by Ed Miliband’s party, who saw her role in Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform programme as grounds for attack.
Local NHS activist Margaret Greenwood was picked by the local party to take on McVey, running a popular grassroots campaign. Ultimately, it was enough to defeat the former GMTV presenter, turned politician.
With a majority of just 6.2%, a Labour gain was always on the cards, so McVey will not be as surprised as some other senior politicians exiting Westminster tonight.
The results in full are:
Margaret Greenwood (Labour) - 18,898
David James (Independent) - 274
Hilary Jones (UKIP) - 2,772
Esther McVey (Conservative) - 18,481
Peter Reisdorf (Liberal Democrats) - 1,453
This result will somewhat tarnish a great night for David Cameron’s party and his hopes of a Conservative majority.
As for McVey, who recently told the Loose Women programme of her ambition to become Prime Minister, her defeat tonight looks set to put an end to those aims.
Since the constituency was created in 1983, the party to have won in Wirral West has gone on to be the highest placed party nationally. With Greenwood’s win, it is likely that Wirral West will not be a national indicator this time round.