It’s over! It’s done! We have the result! And the winner is… drumroll… Dr Vince Cable.
Twickenham (and surrounding lesser towns) has spoken and your new MP is your old MP even if he’s not been your recent MP. In other words, he’s back. It was the battle of the two Doctors in which Conservative candidate Dr Tania Mathias, who was regenerated as our MP in 2015, was beaten by former local MP Dr Sir Vince Cable. We say, ‘Thanks and bad luck Tania’ and ‘Congratulations Vince’ on your election (or rather re-election?) as Twickenham’s MP. Cable’s majority is nearly 10,000, easily overturning Tania Mathias’ 2,000 majority from 2015. His win was more emphatic than the ‘cautiously optimistic’ noises coming from the Lib Dem camp had suggested. One might even say that the dance loving veteran politico achieved something of a ballroom blitz. Nationally the precise picture is still not totally clear although a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party is the most likely outcome.
Phew! With the voting over we know that we don’t need to have another general election for five whole years… unless of course the five year rule is overturned if something ‘important’ crops up like an inability to form a government, a failing coalition or someone fancies an election just for fun, or whatever. See you back at the polling station soon then.
Twickenham was only ever going to be a two horse race between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and the incumbent Mathias, with her narrow 2,000 majority, was beaten by Cable who had served at Twickenham’s MP for 18 years until 2015. Cable’s challenge seemed strong – very visible, plenty of tweets, plenty of posters and ‘skateboards’ compared to Mathias – and so it proved. Did people vote on national issues like Brexit, austerity cuts and the ‘dementia tax’ or on local issues, or even on personalities? We don’t know. Mathias has been quite popular locally and had supported local causes such as opposing Heathrow expansion and the closure of Kneller Hall. She’s also been an advocate of the rights of refugees and EU citizens, but these are issues that also feature in Cable’s thinking. Was it Tania herself or the ‘Vote Tania, Get May’ mantra that seemed to be a common theme among some local residents. Or was it a legacy of the Brexit referendum despite both candidates being remainers? Or was it just Vince Appeal? We don’t know.
What we can see is that Mathias polled almost exactly the same number of votes as last time but Cable picked up 11,000 more. And what of the other candidates? Well, Labour’s Katherine Dunne finished third polling 6,000 votes compared to the 7,000 secured last time out by Nick Grant. There were no other candidates which begs the question as to how much the absence of the Greens (who backed Cable) and UKIP influenced the result. Significantly it would seem but no doubt there will be various experts able to pontificate on that.
Two years after being given the heave-ho by the electorate Vince is back. We hope he serves us well as our constituency MP. We also say thank you to Dr Mathias for serving the local area for two years. We wouldn’t be surprised to see her back at Westminster at some point.
Cable’s victory speech paid tribute to Tania Mathias for her campaign and for her work for Twickenham since 2015. He also stressed the importance of the democratic process and called for a more collaborative approach to dealing with issues such as Brexit.
What does all this mean for the next Government? Dunno. We’ll let others ponder over the national picture while over the water in Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith won his old seat back from Lib Dem Sarah Olney by just 45 seats.
And that’s all for the moment. We might update this later but for the time being we say ‘Congratulations and good luck’ to Dr Cable, new Member of Parliament for Twickenham.
The 2017 Results
Vince Cable (Liberal Democrat) 34,969
Tania Mathias (Conservative) 25,207
Katherine Dunne (Labour) 6,114
Turnout 79.7% (the highest in the UK so far)
Total votes: 66,290 (looks as if there were c3,000 more eligible voters this time around)
The 2015 Results
Tania Mathias (Conservative) 25,580
Vince Cable (Liberal Democrat) 23,563
Nick Grant (Labour) 7,129
Barry Edwards (UKIP) 3,069
Tanya Williams (Green) 2,463
Dominic Stockford (Christian Party) 174
David Wedgwood (Magna Carta) 26
Total votes: 62,004
* BBC – Twickenham Constituency Result