General Election 2010: Labour's Mike Wood holds Batley & Spen
LABOUR’S Mike Wood fought off a strong Conservative challenge to retain his seat in Batley and Spen.
He polled 21,565 votes to Conservative Janice Small’s 17,159
Liberal Democrat Neil Bentley polled 8,925 votes.
Labour victor Mike Wood was ebullient after the win, but said the boundary changes presented them with a stern challenge.
He said: "I’m absolutely delighted, I love campaigning and electioneering and I have such a good team.
"People seem to think that results like tonight are some kind of accident.
"We have to have a campaign that puts issues first and that’s what we’ve done.
"We have a 25 percent larger constituency and no extra resources and that is going to be a very difficult test.
"We are going to have to work smarter rather than harder because I don’t think my team can work much harder.
"There is hard work to do but we are aiming to provide the same level of service."
He added that he "regretted" the loss of Shahid Malik’s Dewsbury seat and when quizzed about the national picture said he thought it was expected the election would bring Britain into the hung Parliament territory.
Conservative Janice Small thanked her supporters and there was notably less rancour than in the speech offered by Shahid Malik in Dewsbury.
Click below for a gallery of photos from election night.
She sounded a note of caution about the apparent certainty of a hung Parliament however by warning that they could all be back in the sports hall for another election within the year.
As the counted votes were laid out on the table it was clear throughout most of the evening that her Labour rival was out in front, but polling 33 percent of the vote she had increased the party’s showing by 1.3.
Meanwhile, Lib Dem Neil Bentley increased his party’s share of the vote by 1.8 percent.
Soon after 5am, in the most popular speech of the night, he said he would keep it short as it was time for everyone to go home.
On a night when the party returned its first MP Matt Blakely of the Green Party polled 605.
His party colleague Adrian Cruden in Dewsbury polled an identical 0.5 percent drop in support.
He said that the increase in support for The Liberal Democrats had squeezed their vote, but that they could be pleased with their campaigning.
David Exley of the British National Party polled 3,685.