Resounding win for Tories in Meriden stronghold in general election

Meriden has its first new MP for more than 20 years after Saqib Bhatti held the Conservative stronghold.

Mr Bhatti had last month been announced as the candidate who the Tories had chosen to follow in the footsteps of Dame Caroline Spelman.

And he actually extended the majority he had inherited, clocking up more than 34,000 votes – well ahead of his nearest rival, Labour’s Teresa Beddis, who polled around 11,500.

Mr Bhatti, the president of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, becomes the first black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) MP to represent either Meriden or neighbouring Solihull.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) this morning, Mr Bhatti said: “There is no such thing as a safe seat, I came in and wanted to fight for every vote.

“We feel we have run a very strong campaign talking about hope and opportunity and priorities in the local area.”

In his victory speech, he thanked voters for their endorsement and paid tribute to Dame Caroline, who had held the seat since 1997, before announcing her decision to stand down a couple of months ago.

Cllr Steve Caudwell, the Green Party’s candidate in the seat, said: “I think it’s very difficult to extrapolate a single message from the results nationally.

“Obviously as far as Conservatives were concerned it was the #Brexit election, it was the NHS election for Labour, Brexit again for the Lib Dems and for us it was the climate change election.”

* Meriden GE 2019 Results:

Saqib Bhatti (Conservative) – 34,358

Teresa Beddis (Labour) – 11,522

Laura McCarthy (Lib Dem) -5,614

Steve Caudwell (Green) – 2,667

Turn-out – 63.8 per cent

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