Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 13:09 UK

Labour retains Wearside and County Durham seats

Kevan Jones
Kevan Jones retained his Durham North seat

Labour has retained control in its heartland of Wearside and County Durham, but results show a swing towards the Conservatives.

The party fought off a challenge by the Liberal Democrats, who hoped to overturn a majority of just more than 3,000 to take over City of Durham.

It also took the new seat of Sunderland South, targeted by the Tories.

However, the Tories won an increased share of the vote in most of the seats, with an overall swing of about 9%.

This was more marked in Tony Blair's former constituency of Sedgefield , where it was 11.6%.

Roberta Blackman-Woods, who retained the City of Durham seat, put her success down to positive campaigning.

She said: "We've got used to believing that negative campaigning works. I don't think the Liberal Democrats could have fought a more negative campaign than the one they did in Durham."

Two new seats, Washington and Sunderland West and Houghton and Sunderland South , went to Labour.

In Durham North - where Kevan Jones kept his seat - Darlington and Bishop Auckland , the swing was towards the Conservatives.

However, in Easington , and Durham North West it was towards the Lib Dems.

Sunderland now has three women MPs. Julie Elliott, the city's Central MP, said: "It feels very good. I think it's a good step forward for women in politics.

"We're all very different women with very different backgrounds but I think we've got a lot to offer."

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