BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 10:47 UK

Liberal Democrats fail to win top target of Guildford

Anne Milton (Left), Sue Doughty (centre) and Tim Shand (right)
Anne Milton (left) beat Sue Doughty (centre) and Tim Shand (right)

The Liberal Democrats have failed to win their top target seat in the UK.

The party needed a 0.09% swing for Sue Doughty to win back Guildford, in Surrey, from the present Conservative MP Anne Milton.

Ms Milton's share increased by 9.9% with 29,618 votes, Sue Doughty polled 21,836, down 4%, and Labour's Tim Shand won 2,812, a decrease of 4.8%.

People were turned away from polling stations in parts of Surrey earlier after waiting in line to vote.

Ms Milton said: "I'll probably feel exhausted soon but I want that glass of champagne.

"It was a huge surprise and I wouldn't have prejudged the electorate in anyway. They had until 10 o' clock to make up their minds.

"I now have to make sure that I work for Guildford in the way I have done for the last five years, and that I will continue to do."

Long queues

Liberal Democrat candidate Sue Doughty, who held the seat between 2001 and 2005, said: "Unless there is an election in a very short time it is most unlikely that I'll be standing again.

"You get a sense of what is going on on the streets and while I got huge amounts of encouragement, in some ways in some quarters it wasn't quite as strong as it had been before."

Shadow Treasury Chief Secretary Philip Hammond has held the Runnymede and Weybridge seat for the Conservatives, where some residents were unable to vote because of long queues.

The turnout in the constituency was 66.4% - up 8% on 2005.

The returning officer for Weybridge, Paul Turrell, said no-one was turned away who had been issued with a ballot paper before 2200 BST.

Elsewhere, the Conservatives held Surrey South West, increasing their share of the vote to 58.7%, following a 8.6% swing from the Liberal Democrats.

The party also held Spelthorne but saw its majority cut after a 6.1% swing to the Lib Dems.

Other seats retained by the Tories are Epsom and Ewell, Esher and Walton, Mole Valley, Reigate, Surrey East, Surrey Heath and Woking.

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