Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 17:42 UK

Labour hold Luton South against Esther challenge

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Esther Rantzen: "You have to go with the way the voters choose"

Labour has managed to hold on to Luton South - the former seat of Margaret Moran - despite a challenge by television presenter Esther Rantzen.

Labour's Gavin Shuker won 14,725 votes, a majority of 2,329 over Conservative candidate Nigel Huddleston.

Ms Rantzen decided to stand after Ms Moran faced serious criticism over her expenses claims.

She polled 1,872 votes. The Liberal Democrat candidate Qurban Hussain received 9,567 votes.

"People are really voting for the next prime minister, aren't they?" Ms Rantzen said.

"Speaking as a floating voter myself, I understand that."

Gavin Shuker said: "I am absolutely delighted, and not just because there was a legacy left by Margaret Moran, but because I genuinely think this is the best result for the people of Luton South."

Kelvin Hopkins held Luton North for Labour.

Range of issues

Iain Stewart took the Milton Keynes South seat for the Tories in a gain from the Labour MP Phyllis Starkey with a majority of 5,201. Milton Keynes North was won by Mark Lancaster for the Tories with 23,419.

Conservative Stephen McPartland won Stevenage after an 8% swing from Labour to the Conservatives.

In another Conservative win from Labour, Richard Harrington took Watford with 34% of the vote. He received 1,425 more votes than second-placed Liberal Democrat Sal Brinton. Labour came third, with Claire Ward taking 14,750 votes.

Peter Lilley held Hitchin and Harpenden for the Conservatives with a swing of 6.8% from Labour.

In Bedford, there was a 5.5% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, with Tory Richard Fuller taking the seat with 17,546 votes.

Nadine Dorries
Nadine Dorries retained the Mid Bedfordshire seat

Bedfordshire North East elected Conservative Alistair Burt with 30,989 votes.

Steven Baker held Wycombe for the Tories, taking 23,423 votes compared with Lib Dem Steve Guy's 13,863.

The party has retained Broxbourne, Hertford and Stortford, Hertsmere, South West Bedfordshire, Chesham & Amersham and Hemel Hempstead.

They also held on to Aylesbury, Mid Bedfordshire and Welwyn Hatfield and Hertfordshire North East, Hertfordshire South West and St Albans.

Charles Walker took Broxbourne, with the seat seeing a swing of 6.43% from Labour to the Conservatives.

Mark Prisk held Hertford and Stortford with 53.8% of the vote.

In Hertsmere, Conservative James Clappison received 26,476 votes, with Labour's Sam Russell polling 8,871 and Lib Dem Anthony Rowlands 8,210.

Conservative Andrew Selous was re-elected to the South West Bedfordshire seat with 26,815 votes, a majority of 8,277 over Labour. There was a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of 7.6%.

Conservative shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan won Chesham and Amersham with 60.37% of the vote.

Shadow housing minister

In Hemel Hempstead, Tory Mike Penning received 24,721 votes, with Liberal Democrat Richard Grayson on 11,315 and Labour's Ayfer Orhan taking 10,295 votes.

Conservative David Lidington was victorious in Aylesbury, and in Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries won for the Tories with 28,815 votes.

Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps held Welwyn Hatfield, taking 27,894 votes, with second place Mike Hobday taking 10,471 votes for Labour.

Conservative Oliver Heald held Hertfordshire North East and David Gauke held Hertfordshire South West for the Tories.

The Tories also held St Albans, with Anne Main receiving 21,533 votes and Liberal Democrat Sandy Walkington getting 19,228.



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